i don’t know about you, but i’m feelin…23

As I start a fresh new year as a 23-year-old, I can’t help but reflect on what age 22 brought to me.

At 22, I graduated from college and started a full-time job.

At 22, I chopped off eight inches of hair.

At 22, I discovered who I want in my corner – people who build me up, make me smile when I see their name pop up on my phone, encourage me and support me.

At 22, I began writing a novel and I read a lot of books.

At 22, I found out that there are people out there who will treat you better than you ever thought you could (or deserved to) be treated.  I learned how surprisingly nice it is to have a Valentine.  I also found out what it’s like to fall for someone and wind up getting hurt.

At 22, I made a bucket list.

At 22, I realized that it is impossible to sustain a one-sided relationship, and that some people have to leave our lives to make room for those who have yet to come.

At 22, I took vacations, moved to a new apartment, wrote letters, went to concerts, drove with the windows down and binged on television shows online.

At 22, I spent a lot of time assessing who I want to be, how I want to be known and what I want to accomplish.

I hope now that at 23, I can start making a true dent in those things.

21 things that 21 taught me

In honor of turning 22 today, I thought I’d reflect on some of the things I learned while I was 21.

21. Pants are always optional.  You don’t have to wear them at home and in public you can wear skirts or dresses (or substitute leggings as pants if you’re that kind of girl).

20.  Have an arsenal of playlists ready for any occasion.  You never know when you’ll need “driving,” “songs about love” or “harmony.”

19. If hair is dirty, clean, tangled, smooth, pitiful or pretty…it can and should go in a high bun.

18. Sub sandwiches can comprise 50 percent of your diet.  You’ll be fine.

17. TWINKLY LIGHTS ARE GOD’S GIFT TO BARS AND RESTAURANTS.  Seriously.  Why would you ever sit indoors when there is a sparkly paradise outside?

16. Laundry is overrated.  Don’t do it.

15. Cooking is overrated.  Don’t do it.

14.  …unless you’re a guy reading this and you like laundry and/or cooking and in that case let’s get married.  21 has taught me that I need to find someone who can help me meet my basic needs once I live somewhere with no Larry’s.

13. Forget what your parents taught you.  Talking to strangers rocks.

12. Have at least one person in your life who speaks with a foreign accent.  It’ll serve as a reminder that hotness, I mean adventure, is out there.

11.  College in your pajamas is a thing; it’s called online classes.  Game.  Changer.

10.  You know someone has become your close friend when you  no longer feel the need to shove all the crap from your car into your trunk before you pick them up.  Have a seat right on top of it, my pal!

9. If you’re ever truly broke, look on the ground outside of the drive-thru window at a fast food restaurant.  Boom.  70 cents richer.  (Note: you must go at night.  Let the change accumulate throughout the day.)

8. Some say you shouldn’t shop for groceries while you’re hungry; I agree.  Just go to the grocery store, try all the free samples then buy a sub and leave.  No shopping necessary.

7.  You don’t need a boyfriend to be happy.  You just need friends who also don’t have boyfriends.

6.  Don’t fight it.  Allow Netflix to be a part of your routine much like grocery shopping (ha) or the gym (haha).

5.  You can use beach towels as bath towels in non-summer months.  (See #17)

4.  When you feel ugly, look at high school pictures of yourself.  Feel better now?

3.  In need of a serious laugh or cry?  Or the classic laugh-cry?  Go check your bank account.

2.    Know that even if you’re 22, and single, and without any real prospects on the horizon, life still rocks…

1.  …because you’ve learned to be a completely unedited, vibrant, carefree version of yourself.  Life’s too short to be anything else.

Thank you to everyone who has eaten a sub with me, laughed at my misfortunes in love, binge-watched old television shows with me or otherwise supported me as I transition into this 22nd year of adult (gross!) life.  You make the dull parts of life shiny.