My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

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If you read the Internet at all, ever (and if you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you do), you’ve probably noticed a proliferation of articles of the “25 things you should know by 25″ and “30 lessons I learned at 30″ and “21.5 things to do before you’re 21.5″ variety. I can see the appeal of these articles – there are very few things that are universal about the human experience, but aging is one of them. We all have ages, they’re all increasing, and these articles appeal because we can see how many of these things we’ve accomplished so far and try and do some of the others if we haven’t reached that age yet, or see how our experience compares if we’re passed it.

At their heart, these articles are well intentioned, a chance for those who have already been there to pass along what they’ve learned and done and what they wish they’d known earlier.

That being said however, I think there’s a danger in people choosing to read these articles as a checklist (or in the articles titling themselves “26 things you must know before you turn 26″). The thing about life lessons is they’re life lessons, not “article I read when I was bored and killing time” lessons.

A lot of people, myself included, aren’t wired to take things at someone else’s word; we have to experience them before we can really understand. If the rules for a successful adulthood were something that could just be written down in a quippy list, wouldn’t they teach a course on it in college so we could all be wildly successful starting at 21? It’s great to know what other people wish they’d understood sooner, but on some level, I think there’s always going to be an element of needing to go through it. There are also some things on these lists I don’t need to accomplish by 25 or 30 or ever (like the list that suggests going on a four-day bender. Nope. Definitely NOT for me.)

But seriously, have you seen the things we’re supposed to accomplish by age 30? According to exactly 10 seconds of Googling this morning, I’m supposed to see a music festival, buy dinner for my parents, travel, play a weird sport, party, vote, dye my hair, let go of a friendship, like myself, exercise, cook, start a 401k, discover myself, travel some more, camp, buy a really expensive piece of clothing, be alone, ask for help, be less jaded, watch the news, live abroad, learn self defense, stop eating in bed, start flossing, kiss someone out of my league, work in a service job, work in my dream job, find a hobby, go backpacking, make a budget, find a good hairdresser, order less takeout, make more friends, fall in love, get my heart broken, find a personal style, try exotic food, have confidence, have a savings account, live in the moment, plan for the future, and oh, not forget to make my bed.

I’m exhausted just writing this list, let alone doing all these things, and that’s just a random sampling of the things on these lists.

Aging is universal, but the human experience isn’t. The things that shaped someone else into the awesome person they are at whatever age aren’t necessarily the things that will shape you.

As of right now, I have exactly one item on my ‘to do’ list: Accept that no one on the internet knows me or my life or what’s reasonable for me to accomplish by any given age.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat some takeout in my unmade bed WHILE wearing that very cheap piece of clothing I just bought at Goodwill. Suck on that, list!

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Comments on: "I’m Too Old For This List" (10)

  1. You’re never too old for anything! Age is just a number!

    • You’ve got a point there, although why pigeon-hole the need to do anything at any specific age? If I want to learn how to play the harmonica, why should it have to be before I’m 30, and not 12 or 85? Just some food for thought. Speaking of food…I just saw a donut that I am about to do some very bad things to 😉

  2. Girl, we are about 10 years apart and I couldn’t agree more! Reading those articles (and reading half of Facebook) is enough to make you feel like you aren’t living the life you should be living. WRONG!!! I’m figuring out that is so not true and I think you are too!!!

    • Right Melanie?! I’m beginning to realize that life should be lived the way you want, not dictated by some random list created on the interwebs. You should always be striving to learn new things, to take on new challenges and grow, but it should be up to you as to what those things are, and when you want to do them. Age is just a number, but it also doesn’t have to dictate or be the end-all be-all for having these amazing life experiences!

  3. leftoverpeas said:

    I read some of these, but they sound like a ‘to do’ lists to me. ‘To do’ lists – urghhh!

  4. I love this. I really can’t stand all those articles. The whole idea that I MUST do something or else I can’t consider myself a proper adult is nonsense. I still own furniture from Ikea. If that makes me a crappy 28-year-old, so be it!

  5. I’ve scanned through some of those lists. And – I think I’m good. I prefer the happy list. If you’re happy – it’s all good. 😉

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