Twenty in Your Twenties.

Recently a co-worker, Chris Tryfonos, asked me what were a few things that I would recommend..."accomplishing" before one turns 30 years old. Now the fact that I would get asked this question is, although completely apt, startling in and of itself, but what really surprised me is how I actually managed to come up with some good advice. Crazy, right? You should know that I only noted things that I have done myself, so I can personally vouch for their awesomeness.

So here you go. Twenty things you should absolutely do while in your twenties. Enjoy.

20. Go to a music festival.
If you're anything like me then the crowds and children at these things become more and more irritating the older you get. The younger you are, the more fun you'll have. Hint: camp out overnight, like I have a handful of times at The Gorge.

19. Participate in an extreme sport.
Ride a BMX bike, snowboard, skateboard, rollerblade, whatever. Believe me when I tell you that you will not feel this way forever, and stuff like this is way easier the better you feel physically. Will you hurt yourself? Shit yeah, you will. I once, very famously in my circle of friends I might add, hit myself in the back of the head with my own snowboard while it was still attached to my feet. But what I got immediately before that was what felt like a year of air, and I will never forget it as long as I live.

18. Get a tattoo.
They hurt less the younger you are. This is completely true, by the way. So it was super cool the time I finally got my elbow done at 31. Ouch.

17. Wax your pubic hair.
It may not turn out to be your thing, and that's cool. But it's not like a tattoo--it grows back! Even if you don't end up doing this routinely, try it once. Even if it's just for shits and giggles. You may notice that there are more pros to the arrangement then you previously thought.

16. Go to the city renowned for a given holiday on that holiday.
You know what I'm talking about--Halloween in Key West, Independance Day in Philly, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Bastille Day in Paris, Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, etc. You know that holiday that people celebrate everywhere? Go to the place they do it best. Keep in mind that the worst one of these possible just might be New Years Eve in Times Square. I once spent Dos de Mayo in Madrid, the Pope's 80th birthday in Vatican City (which fell on Good Friday during Jubilee Year), and have celebrated Pink Saturday and Pride in San Francisco. I didn't plan two of those.

15. Drive across the country.
And I mean across, bitches, as in sea to shining motherfucking sea. You will never believe this, but I've actually only done this twice. True story.

14. Perform something.
Participate in an activity that requires you be on stage. The obvious choice is to join/start a band, but you could act or dance or even do spoken work like I did. I know you should do this before you're thirty because Chris asked me to try stand-up with him sometime, and the first thought that came to my head was: "I am way too old for that shit."

13. Have a one night stand.
Walk into a bar and bat your eyelashes, have a couple drinks, and be sure to leave their house before they wake up. Hint: put your shoes on outside.

12. Go on a vacation.
Now, I don't mean travel. Not this time. I mean fly somewhere warm, sit on a beach, drink something with a parasol in it. If you have only ever travelled, you'll be pleasantly surprised with how much you'll likely enjoy vacationing. I spent my first, and arguably only, vacation in Playa Del Carmen with a bunch of friends. I suggest you bring along some of your friends, too.

11. Rent a moving van and move yourself.
I have never, ever hired movers, but I hear that this is actually a super popular thing to do. It seems crazy to me, but hey. To each their own. I will say, however, that I've noticed that a huge obstacle for some is physically driving the moving van. I was once one of you, until one day in San Diego I just got in the drivers seat of one and drove it off the lot. Turns out, those things have mirrors. Imagine that. I once drove a 14 foot moving van from San Francisco to Seattle alone on two hours of sleep. You'll be just fine. Trust.

10. Go overseas.
Traveling is not expensive. Waking up one day and realizing you amounted to nothing, have a wife and three kids that you beat, don't have any hair, can only exist by self-medicating yourself daily with marijuana, and are jealous of your little sister for traveling so much is a MUCH higher price. Have you ever met anyone who's been to Belgium? Yes, you have, because I've been there. And to 14 or 15 other countries. If you live in New York, you can go to Paris for less money than it costs to go to Burning Man. Have you any idea how little it costs to fly to Thailand from Seattle in January? Less than the cost of broken dreams, I'll promise you that.

9. Learn how to be around kids.
Whether you like kids or not, you will encounter a lot of them as you enter your thirties because all your friends will start having them. Don't look like a tool around other people's children. Trust.

8. Participate in a long term relationship.
If you have reached thirty and have never been one half (or a third, or a quarter--hey, I don't judge) of a long term relationship, prospective partners will wonder why and likely be pretty wary of pursuing any kind of meaningful relationship with you. Why? Well, I could write a book about why, but for now just take my word for it that this happens.

7. Learn how to drive. A stick.
Some of you reading this may take having learned how to drive for granted, but where I live tons of adults don't know how to drive. And please, don't be that person that can't drive a stick. If you don't, then one day you will find yourself in a situation where you have to know how to drive a manual and you will look stupid when I have to do it for you.

6. Wear a bikini.
Seriously, you guys. Just do this. One day you will wake up in your thirties and you will literally be willing to die for the body you have (and possibly hate) right now. Take your beautiful twenty something body, put it in a bikini or a speedo, and rock your shit as hard as you can near some body of water. Please, please trust me on this one. And ladies? If you have never felt the sun on your bare breasts, I suggest you try it. It will change your life.

Also, fuck it. I don't care how old you are--please, everyone, just go do this one as soon as possible if you never have. Why? Because it feels amazing no matter how old you are! There are wrinkly, shrunken, grandmothers who do naked yoga on the sands of Miami Beach everyday. You think they're there trying to show off their hot bodies? No, they're there because it feels great, and in my opinion this particular brand of balls looks way better than sculpted abs any day of the week.

And now we move on to the really important ones...

5. Move away from home.
Imagine in your mind the city in which you were born. Move anywhere but there.

4. Take a sales job.
This one is actually really important, so do it. No matter what field you're in you'll one day have to convince someone else that you deserve a job or a raise, and if you can't sell yourself you might as well not even try. A sales job will help you learn how to do this.

Have you ever wondered why some people in your field make so, so much more than you? It's probably because they were more adept at negotiating a better starting salary. Your yearly or twice yearly raises are likely based on a percentage, so you will also increase that already high salary at a much faster pace. Think this doesn't apply to your field? You can literally do this with any job. Hell, I just did this last February at Studio when I asked for 170% of what everybody else makes and got it. Even after I was told the starting wage was absolutely unwavering. Even after I was thanked for my time and sent on my way. Do you know how long it was before they called me and gave me what I asked for after I had already been told that the wage I required was unreasonable? 2 hours.

Think about it: that percentage is the difference between $50,000 and $85,000 a year. If someone making each of these wages was given a 3% raise every year, the gap between them would increase to 36,050 from 35,000 in one year. In ten years at these same trends, one will make almost $46,000 a year more than their colleague at just shy of $111,000 given that they don't use their experience and self-selling skills to leverage an even higher paying job with a different company (which you "should" do every few years). This equates to a total difference of over $302,000 in this ten year span. Kind of worth two hours of nail biting and a summer job at The Gap, don't you think? And before you ask if this one salary negotiation was some sort of fluke occurrence for me, let me assure you that I do this all the time.

3. Learn math.
If you cannot replicate what I have done in that last paragraph, you need to brush up on your maths. Seriously. You need to at least know enough to be able to spend your money. Notice I didn't say manage--most people are horrible at this (even if they're convinced that they're good at it), and most people can rationalize spending money on just about anything so I wont ask that of you. What I will ask of you is to at learn enough math to at least be capable of realizing how badly your cell phone company, the bank that holds your mortgage, the company that finances your car, and even your landlord are moneyfucking your asshole daily. You're still willing to pay it? Cool. But you should at least know how much you're spending.

2. Stop being a bigot.
Let all that shit go by the time you're thirty. Don't like gay people, Lutherans, Mexicans, the French, the homeless, atheists, mixed-race couples, people with tattoos, Mormons, Transgenders? Just let it go. If you don't, you will teach that shit to your kids and then they'll have to get over it, and then one day you will wake up and realize that you're an agorophobic chain smoking asshole with a whole mess of grandkids that are all that stuff that you hate. My maternal Grandpa did not fare very well in this respect and used to call me, although he tried to be as endearing as possible, "nigger baby". Don't let the future leave you on the wrong side of the fence, because it will get to the point where you don't even look like an asshole anymore--you'll just look moronic.

1. Live alone.
I cannot stress this enough. Please, for goodness sake, live alone. Even if it's just for a couple of years. Nothing I have ever done has taught me more swiftly who I am and how to best be me, and you deserve the same. Before you think this is something you're incapable of, just remember that it is something I have accomplished in both of the two most expensive cities in this nation. If you want to have healthy relationships with others, you need to first build a healthy relationship with yourself. Living alone is without a doubt the best way to do that. Trust me.

Now chins up, twenty somethings! Take some time to ruminate on this stuff for a while, and in the meantime, go do something totally irresponsible like get drunk or set something on fire or set something on fire while drunk. You only have a few more years left for shit like that, after all.


1 comment:

Chris Tryfonos said...

Thanks for this, good read.