What I’ve Learned: 26th Birthday Edition

Some advice for everyone, provided by a dude who is not really qualified to dole out advice to anyone.

Every year on your birthday, you should call your mom and thank her for pushing and everything she has done since. Traditional birthday celebrations don’t make any sense. On the day of my birth, I didn’t do shit except cry and suck on breasts. Nobody is going to throw me a party now for doing that (and I do at least one of those daily — and it has nothing to do with nipples). Why aren’t parents, and mothers specifically, the people who are lauded on that day? I mean, they did the nine months of carrying, and then went through labor, which I’m told is one of the most painful experiences in existence. Every year on your birthday, you should call your mother and thank her for pushing and everything she has done since.

Don’t give much credence to the phrase “respect your elders.” Just because a person’s parents procreated before yours doesn’t mean they automatically deserve your respect. Respect should be earned and offered based on actions and personality, not on how many days a person has been on the earth. I mean, some of the biggest assholes I know are older than me.


Perception and the way in which you think about something is very important. It can be beneficial to take a step back and really analyze something, to gain some control over the way you’re going to psychologically and emotionally approach something. For example: you may be walking home some morning after a night spent out. It’s up to you to decide whether this is a “Walk of Shame” or a “Stride of Pride.”


Every moment you spend comparing yourself to somebody else in your profession or area of passion is a moment you have wasted that you could have spent bettering yourself at doing whatever it is you need to do to get where you want to be. If you absolutely must give consideration to these people and their successes, make sure you’re not wallowing, but are instead becoming wicked pissed off. You can do amazing things when you’re pissed off.


Condoms are essential. They might seem less than ideal during the act, but you and/or your partner will never regret strapping up the next day when you’re comforted by the realization you (most likely) did not contract an STD or create any offspring the night before. That’s one way to turn your “Walk of Shame” into a “Stride of Pride.”


People who advocate their strange religious or political beliefs to you are, more often than not, attempting to change your mind for what they think is the better—no matter how crazy they may seem. And arguing with them will rarely, if ever, yield any transformative result. So as soon as somebody starts spouting off some insane shit, just say “Boy, you better hope you’re right!” and then walk away.


Give most of the clothing you have no need for to people who will cherish it. But not all of it. Because the clothing you used to wear will come back into style at some point, and you should plan accordingly. I’m currently wearing slim-fit, straight-legged jeans, but I’m convinced I will rue the day I donated all my bootcut jeans with slits in the ankle area, because I will have to go out and buy the same style of jeans for more money, and then I will have to slit the ankle areas. On the trip when I buy the bootcuts, I’ll probably also purchase a fucking shell necklace.


Be careful when you’re deciding whether or not to tell a person you love them. Do not throw that word around lightly, because as soon as you tell a person you love them, they equate your confession with feelings that they perceive love to be. But love is not something that has universal meaning. It has different levels of significance to different people, and it’s pretty much impossible to fully articulate what it truly means to you. You start dropping L-Bombs all willy-nilly, and you may have to endure a conversation wherein a person asks if you “ever really loved them at all” and does not believe you when you truthfully answer that yes, you did.


Confidence is crucial. As soon as you lose it, you fall into a rut that will only be remedied when you begin to believe again in yourself and your work or your lifestyle.


Every once in a while, it is incredibly therapeutic to have a really good cry. I’m not saying you should seek out opportunities to cry, but I am saying you shouldn’t be ashamed when you are spurred to tears. The toughest people in the world are the ones who have the most legitimate reasons to cry the most often.


When you leave the place you’ve always considered home, finding a “Home Away from Home” is advisable. A place where people know your name and are happy to see you and speak with you. (The creators ofCheers probably didn’t come to the premise of their show randomly.) Sometimes it’s a bar. Sometimes it’s a restaurant. Sometimes it’s your office. Sometimes it’s a combination of all three.


Generally, people don’t really care about what you’re doing or saying as much as you may think they do. If you’re ever feeling silly for being self-conscious about something, try to remember that we’re all narcissistic these days, and don’t have the psychological bandwidth to worry about people who look goofy when they’re dancing. (This doesn’t apply to Miley Cyrus.) So, in short: give fewer fucks.


Don’t’ allow people to tell you that drinking alone is an inadvisable thing. Drinking alone is, on occasion, precisely what is needed. It’s a nice way to relax, think about things, and have a little bit of solo, non-masturbatory fun. It’s also easier on the wallet than going out to drink.


You can’t do anything about taxes, so just shrug it off and pay that shit. Calculate your annual salary from the amount of money that actually goes into your pocket. Budget from that. Adjust accordingly.


The things that make you happy today are probably not the things that made you happy when you were younger. And they won’t be the things that make you happy when you’re older, probably. When I was 13, seeing a breast was, for me, the epitome of happiness. Now, there are nights when I’d rather be at home in bed watching a movie than staring down a pair of knockers. If I’m lucky, someday I’ll get super happy that I have a child who sucks on my wife’s breasts. Life is strange, you guys.


When you become overwhelmed with work and other personal things, it becomes easy to neglect friends and family — because they’re the people you can usually come back to when things calm down. But the better you stay involved in the lives of your friends and family, the less you’re going to worry about the other things in your life, and, probably, the happier you will ultimately end up being.


Getting older is sad in some ways. If it weren’t, nostalgia wouldn’t be a thing. But whenever you start to feel sad about getting older, remember this: you are a grown ass man or woman and you can have breakfast for dinner (Brinner) anytime you damn well please. The aging process is a lot of give and take.


If you’re ever fortunate enough to catch your White Whale, either hold on for dear life or don’t let it fuck you up too much when he or she swims away. The best way to succeed in the latter is to immediately begin searching for a new White Whale. (A “White Whale” is your ideal mate, just so you know.)


If it’s warm enough in your house or apartment and you are alone, there’s really no reason to feel like you need to wear pants. Let your junk breathe.


The courtship process is strange and often makes zero sense. Like, if you like somebody, sometimes you’re supposed to act like you don’t, or at least you’re not supposed to let on that you like them as much as you do. It’s equal parts confusing and frustrating. It’s probably best to just roll with the punches and hope that someday you meet a person and you click so well that these types of games are avoided.

Physical attraction is also strange. You’ll never truly comprehend why it is you like to look at girls’ butts or what is so alluring about a vagina or penis or dimples or whatever it is that gets you going. The less you question it, the better. It’s less confusing that way.


A Comfort Zone can be a terrible thing to fall into. Until you’re very happy, anyway. Then you need to burrow into that shit and do whatever you can to combat ever leaving it.


The best way to get over someone is not, contrary to popular belief, by getting under somebody else (though it can help immensely). The best way to get over someone is to get under somebody else who is better than the ex was. Or at least better for you.


If you’re able, believe in fate and keep a decent amount of stock in it. Because believing that what happens in your life is a combination of actions you take and random things that happen around you is really, really fucking scary.


Atheism makes a lot of sense, but if you are an atheist you shouldn’t really talk all that much about it. It’s a realistic stance, but not a particularly jolly one. And if you’re right, nobody’s going to know it anyway. So you’re just wasting your finite breath and time discussing it. Best take advantage of that stuff before you cease to exist altogether.


There is always somebody getting weirder than you are.


Title Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: 1,2, 3