Every birthday it seems to become less about the presents and birthday party and goodies bags and more about a marking of what you have accomplished over the last year. Am I still a drunk lunatic like I was at 19? Do I still have a hardcore addiction to Taylor Swift like I did at 16? Do I still let my brother straight arm me down the hallway like I did at 4? Thank goodness age has given me something. I’m not telling you all these things shaped me as a human being into a almighty saint. On the contrary I have fucked up more times than I can even count. But 21 years with an older brother, two crazy weird loving parents, and an array of friends who always keep me laughing have taught me something that I thought maybe you hipster’s trying to get ahead of the times would like to hear. Time to give up your constant wall of judgement and let me drop some knowledge on you like only one can on their 21st birthday.
1) Don’t take yourself too seriously. Seriously, if you can’t laugh at yourself then you clearly aren’t fun. Who doesn’t wanna be fun?
2) Stop stressing over trying to ‘figure it all out’. Some of the best rappers started as crack slingers, hell Channing Tatum started as a stripper so there is no rush with the struggle my friends.
3) Be happy within your own self. I know this sounds like some bunk buddhist bullshit but it is straight up true. You shouldn’t have to rely on others to make you happy, that’s on you.
4) I got one word for you: forgiveness. I’m not trying to take you to Sunday school I am trying to set you free. Grudges are tiring and usually end up with you in a glass case of emotion so forgive and forget. This goes for forgiving yourself too.
5) Know the importance in those who let you be yourself. There is nothing worse than feeling like you can’t be yourself around certain people. Hey, even if you are a naturally born asshole, there’s plenty of them out there so just keep to your damn selves.
6) Have a passion that isn’t attached to a screen. Maybe your passion is climbing trees, antique shopping, zumba, or moonshining, doesn’t matter to me as long as you are out there killin it. I don’t give a shit if you got to level 14 in zombies, get your ass off the couch and do something!
7) Never underestimate the power of ‘I’m Sorry’. Whether you forgot to close the garage and the car got stolen, you forgot your 7 week anniversary or you made fun of someone’s face when you were a hormonal bitch, an ‘Im Sorry’ goes a long way. I’ve been witness to an apology 12 years in the making from a high school bully and it was downright beautiful.
8) Tell people you appreciate them. Don’t be a sarcastic asshole with this one. ‘Hey waitress I really appreciate you taking 6 hours to fill up my water glass’ does NOT count. Tell your friends you appreciate them being there for you, tell your parents you appreciate them putting up with you after they made you. Stuff like that.
9) Being happy is a choice. This is an important one. We are all going to have bad days but it comes down to YOU choosing that the universe doesn’t owe you anything. BE HAPPY, DO IT NOW.
10) The best stuff you will ever do and learn from is going to happen outside your comfort zone. Trying new stuff is the best shit. Whether it has you leaping off of suspension bridges attached to a bungee rope or diving into waves with your leg attached to your surf board, you might feel uncomfortable but variety is the spice of life.
11) Stop trying to ‘find yourself’. The truth is ‘yourself’ is in a constant state of change. Instead of finding that ever fickle ‘self’ try growing that ‘self’ instead. Be the best ‘self’ you could ever possibly be. Shabam.
12) You know when you are at that point where you feel like you have to prove to someone your worth? Slowly. Carefully. Walk away. To the right person you are worth more than Dr. Dre’s music empire combined with Beyonce and Jay-Z’s will. Believe me.
13) Stop waiting for the opportune time to have fun. Have fun doing the dishes. Have fun at work. Have fun making breakfast (maybe in the nude, no judgement). Laughing at nothing works too.
14) Music makes the world go round. There is a song for EVERYTHING. Maybe you want to be really really happy and dance like a fool? Maybe you want to be sad for a little and hug your pillow to your face? Maybe you want to walk like a pimp down the street and point and smile at strangers? If you have the right music all these things could come alive in a beautiful array of lyrics and sound.
15) Never be scared to look completely and utterly stupid. This could come from admitting to someone how you really feel or trying to eat a banana while driving a standard. If you are going to look back in retrospect and smile, it was worth it. Heck I look stupid everyday of my life just to make my brother laugh and it’s worth every bit.
16) Ladies you will always have a choice between Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Don’t come crying to me if Han Solo ditches you for his most recent Princess Leia even if he told you that you were his one and only. He’s a space pirate and Luke is a genuine good Jedi even if he is a little too nice and see’s ghosts. If this was weird for you then get some culture, gawsh.
17) Everyone has a story. People are the best lessons you will ever get. Talk to as many as you can and be kind to them, they will usually return you the favour.
18) Learn how to do something really obscure. This makes for great party tricks and priceless reactions. I learned to rap the entire A Milli song by the one and only Lil Wayne and have won several rap battles with this ridiculous skill. I’ve also beaten unassuming gentlemen with rapping the entirety of Freaks and Geeks by Childish Gambino. People don’t believe you when you have the balls to bet them you can do something they think you can’t. Their face after you succeed is worth more than feeling like a goof doing it.
19) Never wear something that you don’t feel your absolute best in. I know we might not all be made of gold or be famous for nothing like the Kardashians but you should never get stuck with wearing something that makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to look like you just walked off New York fashion week to feel like a 10.
20) In the words of the brilliant Mumford and Sons: Where you invest your love, you invest your life. If you find yourself investing a lot of time and caring into something that isn’t truly important and fulfilling, then change it. Your life is going to shape itself around the things you subject yourself to. Invest your love, your life, your thoughts and your mind into something you truly want to be known for.
21) Finally, my final piece of advice is simple: worry less, live more. Worrying ages you, it consumes your body and your mind. Live your life in a beautiful, messy, crazy, awesome, loving way. No Ragrats, right?
I hope you enjoyed my list shaped by 21 years of thought provoking fuck ups, heartbreaks, soccer injuries and victories, sun burns, and music induced drives. Here’s to life, Happy Birthday to Me