I Don’t Know About You…

by Meredith Winnett

It’s official. I’m going to be old as dirt soon. On Friday, I’m turning 22. Also, my best friend roommate Mike turned 22 today and he ISN’T EXCITED ABOUT IT AT ALL.

“Oh but 22 isn’t that old meh.” No. It actually is old. I’VE ALREADY FOUND THREE GRAY HAIRS. 21 was my last milestone until, you’ve guessed it, 30. What’s the big deal about 22? It’s not like I’m gaining a new privilege like being able to drive or drink. 22 means nothing. Nothing at all. No it does mean something. It means that I’m going to be an adult six months away from graduating college. Is it finally time to get my life in order? I sure hope not…

Baltimore - Camden Yards: Retired Numbers - Ji...

(Photo credit: wallyg)

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do while I am still young. Things I won’t be able to do once I’m married (maybe) and have a career of my own. Here are the 30 things I want to do before I’m 30.

  1. Learn who you are, and be yourself.
    Take some time and discover who you really are. Be unique and don’t be scared to show off your true colors. Stop caring what others think about you and care what you think of you. I did this between my freshman and sophomore year and I have enjoyed college to the fullest because of it. I am myself, and that brought my the greatest group of friends I could have ever asked for. There’s at least one person out there who will love you for who you really are, so don’t be scared.
  2. Do something daring.
    I jumped off a ship in Halong Bay, Vietnam. I’m about to push myself to the fullest in a Spartan Race. I have a million more crazy things I’d like to try before it becomes a liability to my health insurance.
  3. TRAVEL.
    Every list of things to do in your 20’s. That’s because it’s the most important. Go for a road trip. Sail the Seven Seas. Backpack through Asia. Learn new cultures and become a more well-rounded person.
  4. Spend time with your family.
    Learn who they are, where they came from, and what they love to do. You can learn a lot from your family, so make the most of it. You’ll be surprised the stories you’ll hear.
  5. Learn everything.
    Who says that an English major can’t take a film class? Take a few classes that have nothing to do with your major. You may discover you have a passion for something you’d never think twice of. Also, now’s the time to learn new languages and trivia facts.
  6. Find a new hobby.
    I learned I like to knit. You may learn you like to paint. Try everything. It may stick with you forever.
  7. Volunteer!
    I’ve volunteered at a horse farm (something I’d never thought I’d do) and it was a ton of fun. We cleaned up poop. It was amazing. It feels great to give back. You’re young and have a ton of free time (yes, if you put your phone and laptop away, you have free time). If I could be a professional volunteer I would be. Sadly, it doesn’t pay the bills. While I’m on the topic, I’d like to raise some money so I can go volunteer in the Philippines this summer to help with the aftermath of Super Storm Haiyan. They have close to nothing left, and I’d like to do whatever I could to get over there and help.
  8. Keep secrets.
    Do you really want to tell this girl you just met that you threw up in your roommate’s shoe? She could be interviewing you for a job some day. Also, you can’t trust her. Everyone will know who threw up where in a few minutes. Keep certain things to yourself.
  9. Define your dream.
    You know you want to start a button business, but how? Where? Why? When? You know you want to teach history, but where? Why? What exactly do you want to do with PR? Figure it out, and apply it.
  10. Find your lobster.
    Once you know who you are, find someone who compliments your personality. Find someone you want to make happy. Fall head over heels in love and enjoy every minute of it.
    (I hope you got the Friends reference)
  11. Re-read your high school books.
    Chances are you didn’t love Huckleberry Finn while you were being forced to read it in 9th grade. Now that you’re educated, take some time to appreciate the books your high school teachers begged you to read. And if you have the chance, go back and tell them how much you loved it.
  12. Get into shape.
    Do it now. Soon you’ll be crazy busy with a job, and a spouse, and kids, and everything that comes with it all. Get into the best shape of your life so you can show pictures to your grandkids of how hot you used to be.
  13. Splurge.
    Not all the time. And not on things you won’t use. But maybe a nice business suit. Or a pearl necklace. Buy something that’ll last. Buy something that makes you feel good about yourself, and other can tell you feel good.
  14. Pig out.
    Again, not all the time. But have a few burgers while your cholesterol can handle it. Eat a ton of candy. Eat whatever you want every once in a while. As long as you’re getting into shape, your body can take it.
  15. Learn to cook.
    This gives you an excuse to pig out. Be your own guinea pig. This way, you can impress a significant other or family member with your mad skillz, yo. Ok, maybe we’ll grow up. Your culinary skills… yo.
  16. Go skinny dipping.
    At the beach. At midnight. On New Year’s Eve. Or whenever. Be crazy. You’re young and hot and fearless.
  17. Save up.
    If you’re making any money at all, start saving it. Try to save at least $30 a week. If you can put away more, put away more. You’ll thank yourself in five years.
  18. Tell yourself no.
    If you hate getting drunk out of your mind every weekend, don’t do it. Just because your friends are doing it doesn’t mean you have to. Take some “me” time, catch up on a TV series, have a Netflix binge. Who knows? Maybe a few of your friends feel the same way.
  19. Forget.
    Forget about those who have wronged you. Forget about the drama because Stacy is totally wearing the same dress as you on purpose. And for a few minutes every day, forget about all the work you have piled up. Just forget about it.
  20. Quit your job.
    Do you hate making minimum wage at a job where you’re not respected? Quit. Get far away. Find something else to make ends meet for a while and focus on your dream. Don’t be miserable for no reason.
  21. Don’t rush.
    Don’t get married right out of college. Don’t have kids right after you get married. Don’t start working right after you graduate (if possible). Take life at your own pace. You have so much time left to figure it all out.
  22. Live somewhere you’ve always dreamed of.
    Since I first went to DC in 7th grade I wanted to work for the CIA and live there. Well, now that’s half true. I got the chance earlier this year to intern in DC for four months while living directly in the city (four blocks from The Hill) and it was amazing. If you want to live in Singapore, find a way to make it happen. Otherwise you’ll always kick yourself on what could have been.
  23. Hide from technology.
    Turn off your phone, put your laptop down, and go outside. Take a hike, lay on the beach, go camping, GET AWAY FROM IT ALL. There is so much more to experience than just Candy Crush and Plants vs. Zombies.
  24. Start a library.
    Read a book a week. Start with one you’ve been itching to read, then branch to similar books, and just keep reading. You’ll expand your mind, enter a new world, and have fun doing so.
  25. Listen to those who know more.
    Your professors know more than you. Your parents know more than you. Your boss knows more than you. Listen to what they have to say. Put their advice into practice. You’ll be amazed with the results.
    In DC we were told to network. I did. I met some amazing people. And when you talk to these people you never know the opportunities that will arise 😉
  26. Push away the negativity.
    If one of your friends is always down on themselves, or worse, on you, get rid of them. Tell them straight up they’re a negative force on your life and say goodbye. You don’t need people bringing you down when you’re in your prime of living life. Be happy.
  27. Grow up.
    Ok, maybe not completely because you never have to do that ever. But, finding a big girl/big boy job would be nice. Learn what your bills are and how to pay them. Start to become an adult, asking your relatives for advice along the way. You’ll be happy you did.
  28. Refine your pallet.
    Know what flavors you like and remember it. There are more foods out there than Taco Bell and chicken fingers. Try new foods, new beers, new wines. Don’t be scared to try escargot. It’s actually quite tasty (probably because when I had it, it was drenched in butter and garlic). Find out whether you like IPAs or not. Do you prefer Merlot or Pinot Grigio? Knowing what you like while you’re young will impress many people and could open new doors.
  29. Jump at opportunities.
    Grab em while they’re hot. If someone offers you a job in something you never thought of doing, try it out. You may love it! Follow whatever path jumps at you. And if you don’t love it, you’re still young enough to find a new path.
  30. Be happy.
    Do whatever you want. Just be happy doing it. I know this is general, but do it. Find what makes you happy and be happy. Happy happy happy. Let’s all be happy while we have time.

So let’s not be sad about a silly birthday. It’s another year I’ve lived, it’s a year more of life experiences. Another year older just means I’ve survived another year on this planet. That’s something to celebrate. Besides, 22 isn’t old. I HAVE MY WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF ME. It’s only gonna get better from here.