Shit I've Learned At 35
This is excellent financial advice. It's basically saying, "Hey guys! Be rich!"
Wait. Are...are you not rich?
Welcome! Join our support group. We're called People and we meet literally everywhere between 3:00-6:00pm because swear to God, guys - I cannot afford this cocktail if it's not half off for Happy Hour.
I work for a non-profit, y'all and my 100lbs puppy is eating us out of house and home. Literally. Indy has been chewing on the baseboards in the hallway. It's not cute.
But he is.
I mean, look at this handsome bastard.
He's got "Swipe Right" written all over that mug.
Anyway - I am not rich. I am a writer with few tech skills who majored in journalism and minored in film. I don't have any wealthy uncles about to kick the bucket and I don't play the lottery, so odds are - I will never be rich.
It wasn't always the case but today - my life is pretty amazing and I find myself more happy than not.
I turned 35 in March and while I most certainly do not have twice my salary saved - I do have a litany of life lessons to share.
By 35, you should:
- Have a dog in your life. Preferably your own or failing that, one belonging to a friend or family member. Dogs teach you patience and responsibility. Above all, they teach you that you are worthy of unconditional love. And you need to know that. You deserve to be loved.
- And on that note - stop associating with people who treat you badly. Don't be friends with them, don't date them and definitely don't marry them. You think you have time. You don't. Stop wasting it with people who don't love or respect you.
- Find a form of exercise you enjoy. Running, weight training, dancing, swimming, yoga or just walking around your neighborhood. Get the blood moving...even if there are moments when you feel like you're gonna die. Lookin' at you, side plank.
- Love the fuck out of something - your kid, Springsteen's Nebraska album, cortaditos made with Bustelo and Bustelo only, Gaudi's architecture, Batman graphic novels written by Paul Dini, Heifer International - and become its campaign manager. Talk about it, share your joy in it with the world and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it. Oh and don't be a fucking gatekeeper. People are allowed to love things without knowing every single minute detail about it.
- Know how to cook. Know how to make the food of your people and the food you'd love to share. I'm working on my Indian food game, my roasted cauliflower is excellent (tossed with a maple-whiskey hot sauce) and I have this idea for a caprese risotto with roasted tomatoes and lots of bubbly browned cheese. Part risotto, part pizza, so pizzoto, I guess?
- Have a signature cocktail, fragrance and hot sauce. Gin Gin Buck, Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon and whatever is in the squeezy bottles outside of the taco truck.
- Have a library card. Borrow books and the Hamilton soundtrack a million times over. Let the words knock you the fuck out and inspire you to get a lot farther by workin’ a lot harder, by bein’ a lot smarter and by bein’ a self-starter.
- Have voted in an election if eligible. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. You know what happens when you don't vote? Your voice gets drowned out by assholes and when your voice gets drowned out by assholes, we all end up with an intellectually incurious, morally bereft, avaricious fat creamsicle as president.
- Have something in your life that makes you feel physically attractive. A dress that fits you just right, a tie that brings out your eyes or a pair of jeans that's been washed 70,000 times. In my case, it's false eyelashes. Long, feathery ones which make me look like a goddamn Disney princess, regardless of what I'm wearing. They make me feel sexy and you deserve to feel sexy.
- Support a cause. Whether it's women's health, literacy, prostate cancer or your eight-year-old nephew - invest time, love and a little money in something you believe in. Help it grow and believe in its potential for good.
- Like who you are.
By the time you're 35, you pretty much are who you are going be. Your values and beliefs might not be immutable but they're essentially established. Like the person you've grown into and ask yourself - is this person kind? Is this person dependable? Would I want to be friends with this person? Would they share their fries and make me laugh?
And if you weigh it all out and find yourself wanting, work towards being the person you want to be. You are more than your experiences and you are better than the things you've suffered through. Just heed the wisdom of Deputy Raylan Givens: "You run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. You run into assholes all day, you're the asshole." Don't be an asshole.
Oh and by 35, you should absolutely have watched Justified because it is literally the greatest scripted show on television (take a lap, Wire and Sopranos fans), the second season is damn near Shakespearean in scope, it was created by Elmore Leonard and guys?
Raylan Goddamn Givens.