I’ve been reading Jenna’s blog Eat, Live, Run for what seems like an eternity now. As her readership has skyrocketed, I’ve become increasingly enchanted with her humor, poise, and growing confidence. Jenna allows herself to change her opinions to fit the evolution of her life. From the way she approaches food to travel to love, her honesty is eye-opening. Her ability to maintain a clarity of opinion while simultaneously allowing herself to adapt and change is something I aspire to as a writer.
Why bring up my ELR obsession? For her 27th birthday, Jenna blogged about a yoga exercise where she had to contemplate things she wish she could tell the younger version of herself. The list ranges from serious to sassy, funny to fundamentally profound. (#10, 16, 17 & 23 were my personal favorites and the heavyweight truths of the bunch.)
As I just turned 24 last month, what better time than to make my own list? My life has completely turned on its head over the past 10 months, and I still don’t feel even remotely close to being comfortable in my own skin. But, as Oprah says, there are some things that I know for sure (love you, O!). Moving to New York City certainly helped speed up the process of figuring out my place, something I’m still struggling with – but the following list is a compilation of things I’ve learned from family, mentors, and new friends.
The 24 things I wish I had known earlier….
- When finding your place in the career world, you have to ditch the sense of entitlement. Stay hungry. Work hard. Be patient. But always keep your eye on the prize. Even if the prize changes along the route.
- Friends can and will come in and out of your life; if you’re lucky, it will happen when you least expect it but need it most.
- Stop trying to cover up every last skin flaw. A pound of concealer is noticeable – a teeny blemish is not.
- Your parents are not perched on a pedestal, despite what you thought when you were 5. They can come undone and have moments of emotional weakness. But at the end of the day, the knowledge of their love is what makes them superhuman.
- As much as I like to cook, I like watching my mom cook more. I’d rather sit on a stool in the kitchen with glasses of wine poured, Adele and Fleetwood Mac blasting in the background as she chops veggies, grilling and stirring away. Nothing else in the world exists outside of the kitchen. Some may call this lazy, but I’ve learned to call it by another name - therapy.
- The day will come when your baby brother will tower over you; nothing will prepare you for that moment.
- Read everything. As an aspiring writer, I never want to stop reading. It’s the only way to improve and keep the juices flowing. Books, magazines, signs on the street – absorb it all. Writers are sponges.
- It’s okay to buy a ridiculous necklace or a pair of shoes simply because you think they will make amazing interior decorations. Surround yourself with beauty.
- Lying will get you nowhere. The truth may be terrifying, but honesty really is the best policy.
- A night on the town can be fun, but a night in with a home-cooked meal and a book can be even better.
- It’s better to look healthy and have the energy to move then to look scary skinny and barely have the energy to think straight. Which leads me too…
- That unbelievable red velvet cupcake you devoured from the best bakery in London? The salted dark chocolate chip cookie you splurged on during your first solo venture to an NYC farmer’s market? Eat it. Savor it. You work your ass off so that you can enjoy these pleasures, and they’re soooo worth it.
- Be in the moment as much as you can.
- When you’re truly tired, honor that fact; nothing’s fun when you’re riddled with exhaustion. Sleep!
- If you wear something that you are truly uncomfortable in, people will notice. Take risks and wear what you love, but don’t sacrifice feeling like yourself.
- It’s okay to enjoy being with a guy, knowing it may not lead anywhere. Our needs change over time; you’ll know when it’s time to move on. In the meantime, have fun and enjoy.
- It’s never too early to start using eye cream. As offended as I am now when people mistake me for being 16, I’m pretty sure this will be a good thing when I’m 40 and look 25. If you have a baby face, embrace it!
- It sucks, but it’s true: to a certain extent and in certain industries, you are who you know. That being said – you have the power to get to know people, and you’re sure as hell not going to meet them by moping in your room! Going to a museum, a restaurant or a concert by yourself may seem daunting, but it’s only when you break out of your comfort zone that change can and will happen.
- Sometimes routines are meant to be broken.
- There is no greater meal on the planet than fresh Wellfleet oysters (shucked by my brother) followed by lobster and corn on the cob. This meal must be eaten on Cape Cod, and must be consumed in the company of family, friends and copious amounts of cold pinot grigio. The only close second is a lychee martini, Inari pillows and an Olympus Maki roll from Mai Pearl. (But that is the only exception.) I wish I had know sooner that the Olympus Maki existed and was divinity on a plate.
- Watching movies inside on a beautiful day is not a waste of time if it’s exactly what you feel like doing.
- Jealousy is a wasted emotion.
- Books are sexy. Guys that like books are sexy. Not caring about books is a turn-off, and I probably won’t relate to them anyway. If a guy can’t answer the question of what he likes to read, he’s probably not a bad person – just not the person for me.
- Your life can change in a matter of months, when you least expect it. Learn to expect the unexpected.