Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why I wish I knew what I know now when I was younger

Today I am 32. I was inspired by this birthday post from the talented and aptly named Hilarity in Shoes (though honestly, I'm sure she is just as hilarious barefooot), which I then adapted slightly. (I am often inspired by her posts, it seems. Sincerest form of flattery or utter lack of creativity--who's to say?) And so, on the occasion of my 32nd birthday, here are the

32 things I would tell my 22-year-old self: 
  1. Being flat-chested means your boobs will never, ever sag. Go girl.
  2. It's always more fun to dance than to watch awkwardly from the sidelines.
  3. You are one month away from your college graduation. Shit's about to get real. There is nothing you can do to prepare for this. Enjoy these last few weeks of not having to think about money; it will never happen again.
  4. "You can be anything you want to be" is one of the most pervasive and insidious lies perpetuated by society outside of Santa Claus. You can be maybe two things. Just pick one and get on with it.
  5. He's cheating on you.
  6. Hot Pockets are not real food. And anything that causes mouth blisters 100% of the time should really be recalled by the FDA.
  7. You have made it this far in life completely debt-free. Congratulations! Maybe think about that seven years from now when you decide to sign your life away on the dotted line.
  8. The decisions you make now will affect the entire course of your future. No pressure.
  9. People who say "family is the most important thing there is" have clearly never met your family.
  10. The most important thing there is is whatever is important to you.
  11. One day they will invent permanent hair removal. Just hang on, girl.
  12. You will never be able to convincingly smoke a cigarette, but A for effort.  
  13. There is no plan for your life other than the one you make.
  14. But don't be surprised when your life doesn't go according to plan. Make a new one. And another, and another.  
  15. You will never be this young or this beautiful again, you ungrateful nincompoop.
  16. When someone gives you a compliment, say "thank you." That's all you need to do.
  17. It's worth spending more on purses and shoes you will wear forever. Leather is always better. Go on, live a little.
  18. In a few short years people will be watching television, listening to music, and reading books on computers. The future is astounding.
  19. When your mother gives you your very first cell phone and you insist that you don't need one--you're adorable. No, really.
  20. Always wear a flesh-toned bra under a white shirt.
  21. Stop saying yes when you mean no, and no when you mean yes. Stop trying to be so damn accommodating and say what you mean.
  22. The sappiest song lyrics can hold universal truths: Sometimes love just ain't enough. Cry me a river. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on.
  23. If you think you hate something, it probably means you are just about to love it. See: yoga, foie gras, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
  24. Don't let "at least he's not cheating on me" be the bar you set for guys. Aim higher than that. 
  25. You have never rebelled against anything, you have no tattoos, and you're not even addicted to caffeine. Maybe get something pierced. Pick up a vice or two. You're only 22 once.
  26. Letting go of a friendship is one of the hardest things in the world. It doesn't get any easier, but it does make you appreciate the friends who stick around even more. 
  27. Drinking water and taking Advil before bed is a good way to prevent a hangover. The best way to prevent a hangover is not to drink, but that way is not nearly as much fun.
  28. When in doubt, it's better to over-dress than under-dress.
  29. Take more pictures of the good times, of your friends, your family, yourself. Years from now you will never think, man, I really should have taken fewer pictures.
  30. And don't duck out of other people's pictures every time the camera comes out. Smile. Just smile.
  31. Make lots of mistakes, but only make them once. 
  32. Every time you scribble frantically in your journal and wish you had someone to show it to...just wait. It will be everything you hoped it would be, and more.
Well, that's it. I'm not sure I realized this at the outset, but it turns out that 32 is a lot of things. I wasn't sure I was going to, but I made it! What would you tell your younger self?          


  1. Oh my gosh, I'd tell myself so many things, too many to list in this little comment box. And most of it is too embarrassing, also, to write in this little comment box.

    So, instead, I'll leave you with this:


    I hope that this is the first day of a wonderful year for you.

  2. Happy Birthday, darling!

    And thank you for writing this. I needed to hear some of this today, particularly "The most important thing there is is whatever is important to you." I will probably steal that.

  3. You know i'm not gonna say sheet other than Happy Birthday Miss R. and go get some vices now will you.

    1. Any suggestions? I'm thinking heroin.

  4. you can be maybe two things..just pick one and get it over with. OMG. Best advice ever!
    Miss you. My job has been insane and this is my first opportunity to catch up.

  5. You spelled "accommodating," "tattoos," and "caffeine" correctly. You're well on the way to a happy, untroubled future.


  6. Happy Birthday, Rachel!!!

    Why did I only learn about the nude bra under white shirt a few years ago?!?!

    1. I know, me too! White under white seems to make so much intuitive sense, and yet it completely fails in the execution.

  7. When you go back and mention these things to your 22-year-old self, would you mind relaying it to my 22-year-old self as well?

  8. I like #31: Make lots of mistakes, but only make them once. Happy Birthday.

  9. Although this is my first time here, I wish you a very happy birthday! :)

    I agree with most of these points here, but what I love is 31 (like Stephen Hayes mentioned). It's good to make mistakes, unlike what we learn during school. "Try again, fail again. Fail better." Great quote. :)


  10. Happy Birthday! I wonder what your 42-year-old self will say to you in ten years. Trust me, the years seem to go faster all the time.

    Now, take a picture of your 32-year-old self.

  11. These are great! #2, 25, and 29 would surely make my list; #7 is worth some Terminator-style time travel to impart, and #31...well, I agree with everyone else: We all need to hear that, on every birthday.

    Happy Birthday, Rachel!

  12. Happy Birthday! Your so right! Loved the list :)

  13. Happy birthday! I'd tell myself to change my major to something practical.

  14. Happy birthday!! (blog edition)

    I like the list. The ones that struck me the most were: #1 (hello strappy sundresses with no bra!!), #4, #8, #21, #26, and #29. You have gotten quite wise in your older years ;)

  15. Happy belated birthday!! Hope this year brings you happiness, unlike any other.

  16. Happy birthday, pretty lady! It's a good week for birthdays! ;)

  17. Happy birthday, Rachel, from a faithful reader! Love your list of truths cloaked in humor. I wish you a wonderful year ahead!

  18. Happy birthday Rachel. And... yes, I'm going to say it - I am exactly double your age. Eek! So I am way past doing the 'if I'd known back then...' thing. I just try and seize the moment, and most of them continue to be pretty good. :-) All the best.

  19. Hi Rachel! Had a stellar time at your birthday event last night. Like it or not, the Summer of Pink Bubbles is here.

  20. my favorite one is "make lots of mistakes, but only make them once." so very true!
    xo TJ

  21. What a great list - thanks for sharing! I think I could safely tell all of this to my 22 yr old self and it would be just as true...

  22. Hey Rachel, I hate to tell you this, but number one isn't true. :-( If you have kids and breast feed, your boobs will sag regardless of the initial size. Talk to your small chested mama friends. :-)

    1. If I ever have children I will purchase a nanny goat for them to suckle as they wish. Free range children!

  23. I love your blog, really. But all I could hear was the music from the background of that Boz Lurman, class of whatever the fuck it was. It's been done already - but good try for the updated version.

    1. Ok, I had to look that up. But I can see what you're saying now.