Friday, November 13, 2015

23 Truths

Birthdays are weird.

This photo, taken the morning of my birthday, is proof.

For the most part, though, I have always had friends who were more than willing to humor my annual aversion for celebrating another year. One person, though, who has always insisted on parading me around like a proper birthday queen is my incredibly thoughtful sister in-law, Adriana.

Over the past few years she has somehow managed to coordinate not one but two surprise parties for me, one at eighteen and another at twenty. This year, however, she surprised me not with a room full of beautiful people (although that did happen), and not with cake and candles and song (although that did happen too), but with an impromptu interview.

At some point during those awkward, late-night hours of transitioning from one age to the next, Adriana took me aside and asked me two things: 1) What had I learned at twenty-two? 2) And what did I hope to learn at twenty-three?

Her questions were completely unexpected, but I somehow managed to search my beer-soaked brain for some actual answers. That was four months ago. Since then I have continued to give her questions some thought. While I realize that in no way have I "arrived" in my thinking at a mere twenty-three years, I can honestly say that I have grown. Maybe not in the way that other people expected me to grow, maybe not even in the ways I expected of myself, but I have grown nonetheless. 

That being said, here are twenty-three truths that have become wholeheartedly mine these past few years. Why twenty-three? Because that's how the internet works.

1. Doing things for personal enjoyment is way better than meeting the expectations of others

Read the same book over and over again. Shower once a week. Wear socks with sandals. Play piano with your feet. Curse like there's no tomorrow. Go to church eight days a week. Do whatever makes you feel the most like yourself. Do whatever makes you feel free.

2. Your friends do not have to look like you

...think like you, talk like you, dress like you, etc.

3. I was suppose to be born with red hair

And that is the dang truth.

4. God can handle my questions 

This is quite possibly the most profound thing any friend of mine has ever taught me. Thank you, Haley Sheffield.

5. Judging judgmental people makes you judgmental too

I have to re-learn this truth daily.

6. Curious > critical 

No one has it all figured out. It's better to be opinionated and openminded in equal parts.

7. Being kind is cooler than being clever

I am one hundred percent guilty of saying just about anything to get a few laughs. Whatever. We're human. We all like to feel funny from time to time. But making other people look or feel bad about themselves just to make yourself seem funnier is really not that cool.

8. Change is good

In fact, it's better than good. Change is proof that you're a human being, which is cool because that means you're alive and giving this world all you've got. So next time you run into someone from a former life, someone who gives you a smug look and says something like, You've really changed or Wow! You seem so different now, just say, Well, duh.

9. Staying the same is good too

Some things are just inherently you. Embrace them.

10. A house with dogs is better than a house with no dog hair

Way better.

11. Showing people that you recognize their worth is way better than trying to make them recognize yours

12. It's better to be present during one thing than distracted during ten

Thank you, Rob Bell.

13. There is no such thing as a superior sleeping schedule

And all the habitual snoozers say, 'Amen!'

14. The internet is awesome, people make it weird

Sure, I have my opinions about social media, but for the most part I think the internet is pretty cool. It's the way people use the internet that really grosses me out and makes me not want to have kids.

15. There is no timeline for my life outside of the one I choose

16. Burgers are better than salads

...and coffee tastes better with sugar...and squats feel better when you don't do them...

17. Contradictions are okay

They make life more interesting.

18. If you can find friends who let you listen to this song over and over again, no questions asked, then you're doing pretty good

Thank you, all. You know who you are.

19. No one is thinking about you

...because they are too busy thinking about themselves.

This might be a difficult concept for some people to grasp, but nothing has set me freer.

20. Unconventional is not unacceptable

21. To create > to consume

The latter is inevitable; the former we get to choose. 

22. Seinfeld is quite possibly the greatest show ever made

Take that, fans of Breaking Bad.

23. I'm not a blogger

...but I do enjoy making lists from time to time.