Twenty-five felt like an important birthday to me, for reasons I'm not yet quite sure of. I felt very reflective. Then I felt inebriated. Then I felt sick. And then I felt reflective AGAIN.
So, as many many many people on this internet-box seem to be doing, I wrote down a list of things I feel most proud of learning (present tense. Work in progress) in the last 25 years, partially because I'm a self-indulgent little shit and partially because I don't take anything seriously unless it's written down, and I could probably do with taking my life a little bit more seriously, sometimes.
(also, have some party pictures I stole from people's facebooks.. shhh. ps. if any Canberrans are interested in the lolly buffet, it's courtesy of my beautiful friend Jenny and her business, Lolly Trolley. Go get yo-self one!)
(an average pace of one/year)
1. Your mother was right when she would always tell you 'everything feels worse at night'. She wasn't just talking crap to make you go to sleep! It's actually true! So take a deep breath, calm down, drink some hot chocolate - and maybe eat a bowl of ice cream - and go the fuck to sleep. If it still feels sucky in the morning, then we'll deal with it then.
2. Just because you live alone and CAN eat cereal for dinner every night, it doesn't mean you SHOULD. Sometimes it's really nice to cook yourself a fancy, elaborate, time-consuming dinner, and sit down and take your time and enjoy it.
[okay so this is no longer true. I do not live alone anymore, but when you're at the stage in your relationship with your boyfriend where your can happily go 3 months without shaving your legs and are WAY too comfortable crying in front of him, it's unlikely you've changed your cereal-eating ways]
3. Find something that makes you feel classy and stick to it. That might mean 'no sex on the first date' or it might mean 'take yourself out for a nice breakfast after having sex on the first date'. Whatever it is, do it and own it.
4. Exercise your brain and your emotions as much as you exercise your body. Then stretch it thoroughly. And - like your body - give your brain and your emotions recovery days. You'll be a bangin' hot person in no time!
5. You hid behind your humour and your smarts for many, many years. Now, you don't really have much to hide, so treat these things as assets, not armour.
6. Asking for help is important, but don't ask for advice you don't want to hear. You're wasting EVERYYYYYBODY's time, so cut it out. Seek help when you need it, and do it with an open mind and a genuinely willingness to l-i-s-t-e-n.
7. Be honest with people, but draw a line between 'being honest' and 'divulging your entire soul'. It's a good idea to keep a little to yourself. Don't give away anything you wouldn't be happy not getting back. Or seeing spray-painted in a public toilet. Self-censorship is important.
8. Some girls (and grown women) do not want to get along with other girls (or grown women. Or me, whichever of these categories I fall into). This is not your fault. They will say things like "oh girls just don't like me!" and make you out to be the bad guy. This is a trick! Do not fall for it! Do not let other people fall for it!! 99.879% of the time, they do not want to play nice with the other girls.... or with me.
9. You are not really a party animal and that's okay. It is completely fine to stay home on a Saturday night and listen to 'Purple Rain' on repeat for four hours. But sometimes it's also important to remind yourself of what the outside world is like - so go out and live it. Worst case scenario: it sucks, and you can go home assured that your one-woman singalongs were the right choice after all.
10. Take other people's book/music/movie recommendations seriously. Yes, yes, you think you know everything, but you WILL be surprised. Even if you hate it, you'll know the inside of that person's brain a little bit more. Indulging somebody you care about is a very important part of relationships.
11. When opportunity knocks, answer the door naked.
12. People show they care in an assortment of not-always-ideal (to you) ways. Sometimes, this lack of playing by the rules is unacceptable and heartbreaking. But sometimes you will feel, deep down, that it's okay regardless. Trust this feeling, even when your friends tell you it's not right that your boyfriend didn't buy you flowers or your parents say your friends should've phoned rather than instant messaged. Trust it, and go with it.
13. Bring a jacket. Goddammit Lizzi, please! Please! Just always bring a jacket. No excuses. It's never a waste!
14. You are not a movie star. Your entire life does not require a soundtrack, assigned number of sex scenes, series of alternative endings, various costuming choices, or a gag reel. Enjoy your lack of grandeur, glamour, and stunt double.
15. You were built for comfort, not speed.
16. The way your dad loves you is completely incomparable to the way anybody else will love you, ever.
17. The things you don't like are just as important as the things you do - don't be ashamed of them. Seafood, gin, bad manners, citrus fruit, duck (but not ducks!), Kimbra, neon colours, wine, tomatoes, beer, Madonna, watching TV, most David Bowie songs, team sports, superfluous hugging/cheek-kissing/physical contact, Deep Purple, nail polish, green tea, calling celebrities by their first names only, sparkling water, other people's pets..... These all seem to be unpopular things to dislike (popular things to like? Popular? Tautology? YEAHHH) in several circles I've been floating around in lately. That's okay - just quietly dislike them anyway. No biggie.
18. Internet stalking people you already dislike will only make it worse. Same goes for internet stalking ex-boyfriend's new girlfriends, or current boyfriend's ex-girlfriends, or the girl who scored the job you wanted, or your high school best friend's new best friend, or your baby cousin's douchebag boyfriend. Just let it be and we'll all get along juuuust fine.
19. There is a happy in-between balanced place between physical self-confidence and physical doom-and-gloom-pit-of-despair. Don't be ashamed of your boobs or your back-fat or the dimply bits on the sides of your thighs or the fact that your head is the size of a medium sized planet or that your cheeks make most squirrels feel inadequate. No need to fuss over this junk. But also don't feel like the only cure for feelings of shame is to get the aforementioned boobs, back-fat, etc. out at every opportunity. You can be quietly, privately content, if not proud. No need to fight fire with fire. Or insecurity with back-fat.
20. Never flirt just to make somebody else (ie. not the person on the receiving end of the flirting) jealous. This is just bad for everybody, including yourself
21. Always strike up a conversation with taxi drivers. They know eeeeeverything. Including the best place for a kebab in a foreign city right through to what you should do with the rest of your life.
22. You really - REALLY - like carbohydrates. Don't fight it.
23. Not everyone wants to be your friend. Not everybody wants to be your friend and this is COMPLETELY OKAY. We don't all always need to hold hands and sing Kumbayah and make the world a better place. It's not a reflection on you. It's not your problem. Don't sweat it.
24. It's easy to feel too cool or mature or 'moved on' for a certain book, blanket, necklace or pile of essays from when you were 15. Don't be so quick to disregard this stuff - don't be a hoarder, but hang on to some of it. You'll regret it - a lot! every day! - if you don't. Memories matter.
25. Never be that person who leaves drops of urine on the toilet seat. A last minute check before leaving the cubicle is never a waste of time.
Let's all say it together kids: never leave drops of urine on the toilet seat. Happy birthday to me. Thank you for being friends with me and my back-fat.