25 lessons in 25 years


I turned twenty-five a couple days ago and in honour of … myself, I’m going to tell you twenty-five things that I’ve learned in my quarter-century of life.

The thing with learning is that the most important lessons are integrated without us really being aware that we’re learning. We don’t remember the moment we understand how multiplication works, but at some point the concept clarifies itself. Most of the things we remember learning are at least a little weird. Did you know that you have taste buds in your small intestines? If you didn’t, I bet you’ll remember it. Because it’s fucking weird. This list comprises some of the weird things I’ve learned in my life, mixed in with some serious things, as they occurred to me, on this day.

  1. Be polite.
  2. When paying for parking, if there is an option to “Add time” to your spot, always try that one first. The worst that can happen is that it tells you it can’t do it. And sometimes you only have to pay for an hour and you get six.
  3. If you speak with conviction, more often than not you will be believed. Even if what you’re saying is that “ghost” is pronounced “g-aw-st”. They won’t always believe you for long, but they will believe you.
  4. Other people know the conviction trick.
  5. You know how you’re not really paying attention to other people a lot of the time? Other people are the same, so don’t worry so much about how you’re coming off to them because chances are they’re thinking about themselves.
  6. We are all narcissists. But knowing and admittingĀ that you’re a narcissist is a huge part of not being a dick about it.
  7. Despite being narcissists, there is such a thing as altruism. Don’t believe the economists.
  8. If you’re at a buffet, LEAVE THE SALAD FOR THE NEXT ROUND. Seriously, they’re not going to run out of salad. You know what they are going to run out of? Bacon.
  9. On the theme of buffets: you know how there is always a bewildering platter of cold cuts midway along the table? Yeah, what you want to do is, grab a bun (there will always be buns, if there aren’t buns, drop the plate and walk away, you can’t trust the quality of that buffet), put it in your left hand, and balance your plate on top. Do as you will until you reach the cold cuts (and sometimes there’s cheese, take cheese at your discretion). When you get to the cold cuts (and possible cheese) grab a few, put them on the edge of the plate. When you get back to your table, make a sandwich with your bun and cold cuts. Wrap it up in a napkin. Put it in the pocket of your coat. Because usually events with buffets last a long time. You’ll eat, you’ll get seconds, some people will talk about whatever. By the time you go home, hours will have passed since you at dinner and you’ll be starting to feel peckish. And then you’ll remember: your Road Sandwich! Glory in exultation and eat said Road Sandwich.
  10. Women’s jackets tend to have sub-par pockets.
  11. Unless you’re in a hospital or a McDonald’s ball pit, there is no reason for anti-bacterial soap. Bacteria is good. Bacteria is necessary. Just use regular soap, it’s fine.
  12. If you’re tired and on public transit, sit in a two-person seat next to the window. You can lean your head against the window, and while someone weird might sit next to you, no one will make you get up.
  13. You are statistically unlikely to be trampled, no matter how short you are.
  14. That being said, maybe avoid the pit?
  15. “Perfect” isn’t a real thing.
  16. There is nothing new under the sun, there are just movable pieces and interesting configurations. Don’t stress out about originality, because it doesn’t exist. Anything that seems brand new only appears that way because you didn’t see how the sausage was made.
  17. The world doesn’t owe you anything.
  18. You’re never done learning.
  19. Celebrate the little moments. Sparklers are pretty cheap.
  20. Glitter is the herpes of arts and crafts. It never really goes away. You’ll think it’s gone and then *BOOM* glitter. That shit is viral.
  21. If you park your car in the sun, crank your wheel around so the top is facing down. That way, when you get back in your car after it’s spent hours baking in the heat, you’ll be able to steer without burning your hands.
  22. Never say, “I’m the kind of person who–” unless you follow it up with something self-deprecating. Otherwise you sound like a douche. Sample sentence: “I’m the kind of person who can’t be with just one person.” Douche. “I’m the kind of person who sharts when they’re nervous.”
  23. “Shart” means to shit a little when you fart.
  24. In the same vein as #22: you do not get to give yourself a nickname. That’s not how nicknames work.
  25. Make the last words you say to the people you love “I love you.” No one can ever hear that enough, and at any given moment the last words you say to someone may be the last words you ever say to them.

I’ve learned other things, like algebra and the difference between “affect” and “effect” (helpful alliteration: “The arrow affected the aardvark. The effect was electric.”) but this is the list that came to me in the moment and I think it’s legit.




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