Two of my favorite girls from my old stomping ground of Fox News are taking over the blog for the rest of the week while we’re in Thailand. Jodie is not only gorgeous and wise, she’s also honestly one of thee funniest women we know. She is also the kind of person that you instantly love the second you meet. She was such a rock to me while we worked at Fox – and even better – we got to have her as our neighbor too.
I am sadly not Amanda Marshall. I’m just Jodie. I haven’t traveled the world, but once every six years or so I make a point to get on a plane just to prove they aren’t as terrifying as I imagine them to be. I’m not fearless and I’m far from an adventurer. (Missing Amanda yet?) I enjoy watching Jeopardy, baking, listening to Frank Sinatra and demolishing seasons of West Wing while never changing out of my pajamas on Saturday. In conclusion, I’m your grandmother in a 28-year-old’s body. I can’t keep up with young whippersnappers. I’m quickly approaching 29 and the closer I get to 29 the more I hear the sirens of the approaching year. And for the first time in a long time, I’m okay with turning 30. So, if we can make it until August 2013 (no thanks to you, Mayans) I’ll reach that magical number. And with it I’ll bring a list of ten things I wish I could have told my 20-year-old self.
- Hang out with your parents. They are hilarious. They are usually right. And heaven knows, they’ve earned it. They seem to love you unconditionally for reasons you can hardly understand. They still slip $20 into your account for holidays that don’t warrant money giving. They’ve reminded you to change your oil, been your first call after a fender bender, and told you when it was absolutely necessary to go to the doctor. You cannot hang out with them enough.
- It’s okay to know what you believe. You’re not close-minded because you love God. You’re not naïve because you decided to not fully indulge in the ways of the world. You just never wanted to. God is enough. Every year, people will tell you He’s not. Everyday they’ll get a little louder. But you know enough to know God is enough. You’re not missing anything. You’re not pious. You’re just you. By the grace of God, you’re you.
- You’re skinny enough. Stop counting calories in your head when you should be listening to your friend’s conversations. Stop counting how many girls in the room are smaller than you. Stop passing on the free cupcakes. Just stop. People love you at every shape and size. Pass the chips and salsa.
- Stop (insert vice). If it’s smoking, a tanning bed addiction, sleeping in your makeup or countless other things now’s the time to wrap it up. Take one last drag, soak in those rays one last time, sleep in your eyeliner if you must then start getting your act together. When you look in the mirror somewhere close to 30 you’ll realize this stuff does actually wear on you. PS – I definitely don’t smoke and am paler than a DC blizzard, so you can probably guess my vice.
- A job is work. There will be days at your job that feel more like work than others. Some days you might even feel like the worst version of yourself. But, you’re not. You’re human. Sometimes a job is supposed to be hard. You’re supposed to be challenged. That doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you or you’ve lost track of your ways. It just means you’re employed. And that is a blessing.
- You’re more than option. At some point in your life you will make someone your priority who really only considers you, at best, an option. This is a really awful realization. You’re allowed to cry and mope (maybe a day or two) when you figure this out. Then, dust yourself off and move along. You’re somebody’s priority.
- You are allowed to change your mind. Over the past nine years I’ve said I hate baseball, I’ll only run if chased, I don’t eat sushi, I can’t stand the beach, and I’ll never wear skinny jeans. Turns out none of that is true. You don’t know everything when you’re 20 so give yourself plenty of opportunities to change your mind.
- Find a friend who will tell you the truth. Everyone needs someone in their life who will tell them capped sleeves don’t look good on them. Someone who will tell them when it’s finally time to turn off the Law & Order marathon and start living. Someone who will point out the good guys and raise an eyebrow toward the questionable ones. An extra bonus is when this person is still a friend even though you’ve ignored every bit of their advice. And at the moment they’re most allowed to say, “I told you so,” they don’t.
- Thirty year olds aren’t old. Granted it took me most of my twenties to realize this, because I spent several birthdays hyperventilating at the thought of nearing the age of 30. Turns out when you grasp the fact that you will have to turn 30 you start to realize you’re a little more confident, a little more financially stable, and a little surer of what you believe in. If that’s old then count me in. There’s still time for marriage, kids, a new career path, a more aggressive 401K, traveling the world, moving to a new city, etc, etc, etc. Good gosh, you’re just turning 30 not throwing out a hip.
- Give soon and often. I used to think charitable donations and volunteer organizations were something I would get involved in when I was financially stable and had extra time on my hands. Spoiler alert, that day will never come. You’re always going to feel like finances are a little too tight to make a contribution. Every day of the week you’ll convince yourself time is spread too thin to put anything else on your schedule. That’s when we need to give the most. When we feel like our money is tight and our life is stressful we need to take a step back and give until our heart falls out. Give your time. Give a couple of dollars. Even if it’s not an organized activity start giving a smile at the very least. Hold a door open. Let someone in when they’re merging in traffic. Put some change in the tip jar. Hold the elevator for the clicking of heels you hear behind you. Be patient with a slow cashier. Have that same optimism you had when you were say, oh, I don’t know…20.
It’s been a pleasure marshalls abroad readers. Our adventurer Amanda will return soon with exotic pictures and insightful quotes and recipes that will make your mouth water just looking at them. Until then, I’m one day closer to 30 and so are most of you. I think my grandmother said it best,
“Feel free to age, just never get old.”