I lasted 25 years so far. Hurray for me and that birthday I had recently. (My twin brother also, by sheer coincidence, had a birthday. My genetic code has been on this planet for 50 years. What the frick?) In celebration of the fact that I didn’t get myself killed (I know a lot of angry people who probably could do with less winding up by yours truly), I present to you 25: A User’s Guide to Getting This Far.
1. Be Yourself, Except When It’ll Get You Killed and/or Maimed
I’ve found that it’s easier to be adult when you adult in your own special way. Embrace your weirdness, and the weirdness of others. Not everyone’s going to be the same. But hey, that’s okay – as long as you don’t get yourself into trouble, it doesn’t matter if you just happen to be like other people.
2. Find Other Weirdoes Like You
I’m talking about being a community and having friends. You don’t have to do it in the flesh, though that does tend to help a bit. Like, not just because it’s easier to talk than to type for most people, but also because your brain will reward you with juicy chemicals for interacting with other people.
3. Take Care of the Happy Juice Factory That is Your Brain
Mental health is important. It’s also really easy to take care of it when you’re not crawling your way through a pile of (emotional) pig shit in a bog full of other people’s problems and expectations and a little bit of your own brand of Crazy. Capital-C Crazy is difficult to deal with, I know, and while you’re in a fragile state, trigger warnings are fine. When addressing Crazy (you know, depression, anxiety, stress – things that have symptoms that make you feel like you’re losing your mind, and people who’ve been through them can relate to them but don’t know the exact specifics of your case because each case of Crazy is also a master ninja) you need to make sure to try do two things, which can be contrary pretty much 97% of the time: do the things that make you happy right now, and do the things that will make you happy in the future. It’s really difficult to balance those, but when you focus on the latter, it pays off big time. (Sort of like investment banking, if you want a much more boring analogy.)
4. Try Get a Job, and Always Keep Busy
Reality check: the global economy still kind of sucks. In Ireland, my rain-filled, Leprechaun Sanctuary homeland, newly qualified teachers and junior doctors currently receive less pay than a tram driver. Almost everyone in “unskilled labour” earns less than that, too, if I’m not mistaken. But listen: getting a job can be a difficult, scary process, but it’s worth it. And I don’t mean because of the money, because while money is great, I can’t promise you’ll ever have a lot of it. But it helps to be working, because it stops your brain developing symptoms of Capital-C Crazy. (And remember, I’m saying crazy because that’s how I like to talk about it in jest, but mental illness does not necessarily equal craziness. But jesting about something is easier than talking about it really ridiculously seriously (ouch, adverbs) so we’re going to use jest-talk rather than science-talk.) Being busy is a wonderful thing for your Happy Juice Factory. Keep busy. Keep active.
5. Plan for the Big Bad World of The Future
Being an adult sucks. Why? Because of an impending future. When you’re young, you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to do when you’re forty. But when you turn old, like me, you suddenly have to be aware of your impending 30s and 40s and subsequent death. (Okay, so maybe I’m not that old, and life-expectancy is a bit better than I might be making it look appear… but look, I just entered a new age demographic, so I’m going to be a little bit facetious.) I’ve found that making plans help make the impending futureness of everything a little bit less scary. So I plan everything, and later ignore my plans. It’s a wonderful waste of time, but it keeps me busy (see tip 4) and it makes me feel a little bit better (see tip 3).
There’s No Such Thing as a Conclusion
I can finish this post and call this paragraph a conclusion, but that’d be a lie. There is not conclusion. Life does not end at 25, or whenever you might think it does. (When I was in primary school, I thought that life ended at the end of 6th class. Turns out they just expect you to stay alive and go to secondary school, struggle with life decisions, go to college, decide you’re qualified to do something that won’t ever do or get paid well to do, go back to college, and work in warehouse. Wait, just me?) Life goes on, and so long as you keep looking after yourself, trying to keep busy while being yourself, trying to do things that’ll make you happy in the long-term (which might include a life-partner and kids, or travelling around the world, but riding a zamboni machine for a living) and spending time with people you like who like you, whether you’re alike or not, you’ll be fine.
Take it from a nerd with friends with a wide variety of interests that fall outside of the Venn diagram of his collected interests (including sports, heavy metal, law, other sports… other metal..?), you don’t need to have everything in common with all of your friends to have really amazing friends. You just need to have an interest in them. And, if apathy is more your thing, fake an interest. Sorted.
If you’ve liked this post and you think the impending futureness of everything can be dealt with in any special ways that I haven’t gotten around it, let me know in the comments below. If you’ve liked this post, maybe share it on social media. If you think “crazy” is insulting, I’ve used it to describe myself. If you think 25 isn’t that old, try living with an almost-three year old and realising that when she moved in she wasn’t even one. (She’s my niece and, while adorable, has left me exposed to existential crises way more than I’m comfortable with.)
And, if you’re happy and you know, clap your hands. Peace out.