My birthday was almost two months ago—and last Friday marked exactly one year since my college graduation—but I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I'm suddenly a 23-year-old young professional/amateur adult. In the working world, I feel very young, and sometimes—frustratingly— it seems like I'm not being taken seriously because of my age. But other times— when visit my college campus, for instance—I feel too old and out of touch. (Blink 182 was right; nobody likes you when you're 23.)
In reflection of simultaneously being an old geezer and naive novice, here are 23 things I’ve learned throughout the years:
1. Handwritten thank-you notes go a long way.
2. Invest time in taking care of your car. Change your oil regularly.
3. High school is not the end-all-be-all.
4. Neither is college.
5. You'll never stop learning. Keep reading the news. Also keep reading for fun.
6. Call your parents. Stay in touch with people you love. Relationships take work sometimes, but they're worth it.
7. For the love of God, start a 401k when you're young.
8. Occasionally, it’s okay live off of peanut butter toast for a while if it means you can buy the expensive shoes/phone/plane ticket you’ve really really wanted.
10. Don’t bother buying organic produce unless it’s one of the “dirty dozen.” Bananas have a peel for crying out loud.
12. Time slips by once you enter the working world. Savor it.
13. You will never please everybody.
14. When in a pinch, eat the free samples at Fresh Market or Whole Foods for lunch.
15. Fake it ‘till you make it.
16. Proofread an email before you hit send.
17. It’s OK to stand up for yourself.
18. Dish soap and dishwasher detergent are not the same thing.
19. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers can basically fix just about anything.
20. Put money into your savings account every week—even if it’s just a little.
21. Dry shampoo can only do so much.
22. Use TurboTax.
23. There's no such thing as an "real adult." No one else knows what they're doing either—and if they act like they do, they're just pretending.