21 Things I Learned Being 21

  1. Exactly 3 months after your 21st birthday you will be pretty much over bars/clubs and will only want to drink at a) parties where you know at least 5 people or b) the comfort of your own home.
  2. That being said, it is definitely possible to board an international flight while still drunk/hungover (sorry mom)
  3. Nigel Farage is a very tiny man in person so if any of my British friends want to fight him, I can guarantee you can take him
  4. Germans aren’t as scary as their stereotypes have led us to believe.
  5. Adult-onset lactose intolerance is very real. So is your body feeling awful after ingesting junk food. So is actually finding some candy/desserts “too sweet” now. (my five year old self is actually horrified)
  6. 21 is too young to date boring people. That’s for my late 30s when I’m that awkward single aunty.
  7. You will always have the capacity to surprise yourself.
  8. That thing? That you think is impractical and impossible and insane and goes against all good sense but you know has the chance to make you wildly happy? Do it. If it doesn’t work out, you can write about it. (this is something I am still learning).
  9. It’s okay if you don’t want to date Republicans! You are not close-minded.
  10. Reading the news can break your heart more than any one person could.
  11. Don’t use your friends as therapists.
  12. Economics is low key made up! As one of my professors said: “In the hard sciences if the facts don’t fit the theories, we throw out the theories. In economics, if the facts don’t fit the theories, we throw out the facts.” Some elements of economics can be good methods of analysis, but the prevailing hegemony of neoclassical economics is a joke. If you try and tell me economics is a science I will physically fight you, ceteris paribus.
  13. Finding, building and supporting your community are the only things that will sustain you in this world.
  14. Working on yourself sounds like a scam to sell self-help books to depressed adults but it’s actually a thing that needs to happen once you hit your 20s. Whether it’s your inability to meal plan, your minor college-induced alcoholism, or your deep and pervasive fear of emotional intimacy, face that shit head on! You can lean on your friends for help, be more cognizant of your own behavior, make plans, set schedules. We’re starting to formulate patterns of behavior that will be with us for the rest of our lives so make sure they’re not super shitty.
  15. It’s okay to want love, it’s okay to not want love. Femmes are often shamed for their romantic choices, whether it’s a desire for committed monogamy or a complete lack thereof, do what makes you happy as long as you’re not hurting anyone.
  16. The existence of heterosexuality for folks currently under the age of 30 is questionable at best.
  17. “Dragging”, “canceling” or permanently labeling someone as problematic is in most cases, problematic. No one was born with perfect politics and we all make mistakes. If a person makes genuine overtures to make up for their transgression, forgive them. Calling people in rather than calling them out is almost always more effective.
  18. Don’t idolize anyone. Not celebrities, not people in your own life. Idealizing people, putting them on a pedestal, will always end in disappointment.
  19. Be more reckless with your affection, with your heart.
  20. Cooking things you consider to be more complex are not as hard as you think.
  21. Spend more times on things that bring you joy. Unless, it’s like, cocaine or something. Then maybe find a healthier hobby.

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