1. Maybe you do like kale.
2. Put your spare car key somewhere that’s easy to describe over the phone in a panic (“TOP DRAWER OF BIG CABINET!” instead of “Go into the garage and find the old file drawer with three locks, not the one with two locks, and open the bottom drawer and I think it should be in there but might be under some old receipts from the dentist, and if it’s not there then it probably lives in a purse, the oldest purse, try to find the oldest purse you can.”).
3. Worrying is not your favorite hobby. It used to be, but then you realized that when you’re either a parent or 42, worrying will not even be a choice. Worrying will be your natural rest state. Worrying now would be like reviewing a movie after you’ve only seen the trailer.
4. Quitting smoking is a spiritual and personal dilemma. Be nice to people who fall off the wagon, or who are cranky and brain-dead because all they want is ONE shitty MERIT. People’s relationships to their vices is only exacerbated by your critical side-eye. Five years ago, nobody was quitting anything; this year, people are quitting drinking and smoking and starting to take long jogs and getting gum surgery. It feels lame to be the salmon confusedly floating downstream. It takes a few tries to turn the fish around.
5. If you’re leasing a BMW and can’t afford milk for your coffee, I think you’re doing it wrong. Maybe not though, because
6. Other people’s decisions aren’t actually your business. Making other people’s deficiencies or weird choices of career or even weirder choices of significant other into your personal problem or project does something awful to your brain.
7. If something is too personal, call it fiction.
8. Beer won’t make you fat, fries won’t make you fat, sugar won’t make you fat, burgers won’t make you fat, sitting down won’t make you fat. Worrying about getting fat will always get you fat.
9. If your shampoo costs $65 and comes from Milan, think about that. It’s shampoo.
10. Stop obsessing about physical imperfections. You look better than you did at 21. Seriously. I can see you. A touch of grey kind of suits you anyway.
11. The bag of Peet’s will tell you that you need 2 tbsp of ground coffee per 6 oz of water. This is a lie. That shit will make your head fly right off your neck. You might even throw up. 1 rounded tbsp/6 oz makes a wicked strong brew. Peet’s wants you to use up your coffee faster, but they aren’t considering the fact that after a pot of their stuff, you might not even be alive (and then you can’t buy more Peet’s!).
12. Have Bisquick around. If you want someone to fall in love with you, make them pancakes. Don’t put all the pancake-making accoutrements out and ask them to make pancakes (see: Bridesmaids). That’s lazy of you.
13. Men and women are the same. No “but.” No “but, you see.” No “but, they’re.” No. The same.
14. It’s too late to try heroin. Way too late for crack. You missed the boat. Can’t try it now until you’re 85 and at your desert time-share.
15. Throw away all of those old magazines with interesting articles in them. Throw away the vintage beer bottles and the little plastic doodads. Don’t put them in a “to throw away later” heap, because you never will. Watch Hoarders if you think I’m full of beans. At least I’m not full of old issues of Time.
16. Being a bridesmaid sucks. You will get a present at the end. You will have gratitude forever. You can throw away the dress. You have my permission. A year later, you will feel guilty for crying selfishly in a stairwell, but you shouldn’t. All bridesmaids feel put-upon. They are put-upon.
17. Getting married isn’t about you. That’s why you don’t have to worry about things being perfect, nobody messing anything up, and remembering to throw your bouquet (whoops…I was busy eating). Getting married is a symbolic process that changes your relationship by posing the question: would you go through all of this for anybody else? The shopping for linens and re-mailing Aunt Sue’s invitation 50 times because she doesn’t know her own address; the fights about table charts and the fights about forever? That’s why everyone should be able to get married if they want to. Weddings take on their own life force and show you, as in a mirror, who you are as a couple. It’s more important, maybe, for other people to see this than for you. The feeling that the people who are most important in your life support your union is powerful, even for cynics…
18. …so don’t be a dick if someone becomes consumed by their own wedding. They will later become aware of how unattractive this was, but it is necessary for them. They’re changing. When we see ourselves changing, we’re fascinated.
19. Nobody cares anymore if you join a dating site. We’ve all been on dating sites. Don’t apologize, unless you’re lying about being bisexual.
20. All babies look like that when they’re born, except yours won’t.
21. Number of sweaters you need if you live in Southern California year-round: 3.
22. You’re not too old for anything until you say, “I think I might be too old for [x].” If you’re 28, you’re not too old for shit. Halter tops? Booty shorts? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Pig tails? Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize 28 was a business-casual sphere of printing paper and chignons. Your shoulders look lovely. Your arms will never be more toned. Your legs are great. Talk to me in 20 years when you’re wearing 17 layers in July and I will tell you the same thing.
23. 28 is the youngest age at which people will start to actually fear death, wrinkles, a roll of fat around their middles, being handicapped by carpal tunnel syndrome, dying alone and their diet and fitness routines. It’s like waking up five minutes before your alarm clock goes off, except you’re waking up 10 years before your alarm clock goes off. Go back to sleep.
24. Some of your friends love “sleeping out.” They want to stay over, they want you to stay over, or they want you guys to get in a car and sleep someplace together, whispering across the space between twin beds. They don’t know why. You don’t know why. You don’t have to accommodate them; instead, introduce them to each other and marinate in the glory of yenta-ing your sleeping-out friends. They’re probably talking about you right now in a Motel 6 in Santa Barbara, and because you’ll never know, you should figure they’re just talking about how charming you are (not about what kind of weirdo objects to sleeping out).
25. Don’t bother with someone you’re not attracted to. Or someone who hates your gender. Or someone who can’t let a fat stranger pass by without leaning over to whisper in your ear, look how fat. Or someone who’s bad at talking and prefers grunting. Unless those are all things you do, of course. Being with someone just to be with someone is like giving yourself mononucleosis: out of commission for a year, unable to drink alcohol without pain, and drained of your life force in general.
26. Something good might come in the mail, even if nothing good has ever come in the mail.
27. Tetris helps relieve PTSD. And is also awesome.
28. You learned how to cook in this decade. You learned when to go to the dry cleaners. You learned to stop apologizing for your existence. You learned to stop listening to haters who just exist to criticize people, and to stop plotting their murders in your mind. You stopped caring if you had a zit. You did your taxes without phoning a lifeline. You took the dog out every morning and every evening. Teenagers saw you as an adult. Teenagers assumed you had children in grade school. You know something teenagers don’t; you’ll articulate it in your 30’s. You saw your friends have babies who looked like your friends. That blew your mind. You saw your friends get divorced and realized that comforting someone after a divorce is different than after a breakup, and that you should try to get better at that. You bought a mop. You got jealous of someone’s down payment. You made yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and ate it in pigtails while playing Tetris. That was a good thing to do.