Think back to age 16, and the times you said "I can't wait to turn 18 and GET OUT OF HERE!" If you're anything like me, you wish you could sit down with your 16 year old self and have a very frank discussion. It would start out something like "I realize, self, that you do, in fact, know everything. You are prepared for the "real world" and what it has in store for you...but humor me for a few minutes, and I will let you in on some secrets." Once my sixteen year old self completes the eye-roll and sigh ritual, I begin.
1. HIGH SCHOOL IS NOT REAL LIFE. There are no summer vacations, ski weeks, Holiday breaks or teacher in-service days. You do not get to re-take the "tests" that you fail. You are expected to show up on time, prepared to work, and do what you need to do to complete your job successfully.
2. MOST PEOPLE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR BIRTHDAY. Okay, MAYBE some of your more fabulous friends and family remembered and went all out nuts, but in general, your birthday is not an occasion. Work goes on. Life goes on. You do not get a free pass to call in sick to work, take a two hour lunch, or force an expensive meal on your loved ones. If you want to throw yourself a celebratory bash - go on and do it girl, there is not a thing wrong with that! But do be kind to the hearts, minds, wallets, and schedules of the people that love you in the process.
3. KARMA IS REAL. The mean things you do and say about other people WILL come back to bite you.
4. PEOPLE LIKE TO GOSSIP. About you. Being part of the group that starts the rumor doesn't protect you from becoming a rumor. All it does is let people know that you like to talk smack. Also, see #3.
5. Related to #4, #3... Never trust anyone that would tell you someone else's secret.
6. ENTITLEMENT IS ANNOYING. You do not deserve a six figure income at your first job out of college. Work, pay your dues, and EARN your pay. The law of the jungle is "eat what you kill" not "eat what I give you for sitting on your butt"
7. SPEAKING OF YOUR BUTT.... You're probably going to have cellulite. I know I do. So do most of us. Don't sweat it. And get rid of anyone in your life that does.
8. Driving a car that costs more than your annual salary makes you look stupid. There's no way sweet way to say that.
9. Whining isn't cute on a 3 year old, and its down-right infuriating on a grown woman.
10. The truth is always multi-dimensional. But it is never optional.
11. Unwanted facial hair: the great equalizer. Truth: People DO notice your mustache. When in doubt, WAX.
12. Transitioning from brunette to blonde sans trained professional is ALWAYS a BAD idea.
13. At some point, wearing clothing purchased from the juniors department just makes you look silly.
14. If you really think diamonds are a girl's best friend, you probably need to go out and find better friends.
15. You will never again look as young as you do RIGHT NOW.
16. The Truth: No one really likes a woman who thinks she is a princess and acts accordingly. They're just humoring you.
17. TIP FOR NEW PARENTS: Don't pass gas while out in public with your child and expect it to remain a secret.
18. Believe it or not, there are those in this world less fortunate than you. Take a minute to ponder that. Now ponder this - their misfortune doesn't mean yours doesn't count. Evaluating the circumstances of others DOES force you to slow down and analyze the situation you are in more objectively. That's the first step in the process. Which process? ALL OF THEM.
19. Listen to good music. Its good for the soul, and more pleasant for those within earshot of your speakers.
20. Its ok to cry, if you really, really need to. But when you're done, be done. And never cry over that person again.