8 life rules for my 20something daughter

IF I ever get hitched and IF I ever get impregnated by said hitcher, I want to have solid pointers within reaching distance to whip out and read to my daughter in times of necessity. I want nothing I am experiencing now to be forgotten or, worse, remembered lazily with missing details. Now is the time to record my life in as much detail as possible so I can tell my unborn child "See? See all this bullshit Mommy went through? And I made it out alive with minimal lifelong damage!" Rule 1: Don't feel bad if you have no high school friends left. They are barely worth a shit. You change so much from your teens to your 20s that it's a miracle when someone can claim they have even one high school friend left later in life. By the time I graduated, I had maybe five people I would consider "friends," and I liked it that way. If you're lucky, your bullshit detector only betters with time, so when you've graduated college you can EASILY sniff out who's legit and who's not. Also, feel bad for highschool sweethearts. They're probably in for a world of hurt.

Rule 2: The real world is hard. Yes, you're legal and yes, you can have a bottle of wine to yourself on a Tuesday without batting an eyelash and not be judged, but you also work. Work is your life, even if you don't want it that way. You're there, every damn day, from 830-530 (earlier or longer). You will be tired. So, so tired. Especially in the first year. What is this schedule?! you'll think, outraged. Just wait until a 9 o'clock bedtime is standard for you and anything later than that feels like you're pulling an all-nighter. But, no fear. At some point in your 20s, you will figure out a system that works for you and involves enough sleep and enough fun to make you mildly content.

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Rule 3: Relationships, dating and being single all suck in your 20s. No, not for the majority of girls you went to college with who are getting married (not yet, anyway HEH HEH), but for the ones like us. The ones who refuse to settle but simultaneously have no fucking idea what they consider NOT settling. I want a nice guy, but with edge. Not too nice. Enough of an asshole to keep me interested. But not like a sarcastic asshole. A funny asshole. But not over-the-top funny all the time. He has to be able to be serious. And emotionally available. And take me on dates. And love me so much but not a creepy, obsessive, smothering love. DO YOU SEE HOW DIFFICULT THIS IS? Sometimes, although it can get lonely, it's easier to be alone until something (someone) hits you so hard in the face with their awesomeness that you just can't refuse them. Please note, however, that this happens maybe three-four times in a lifetime. And usually the in-between lulls are years-long. Cry when you're lonely, but then call a friend and go get a drink. I give you permission.

Rule 4: Along Rule 3's lines, you may be tempted to try the "casual sex, no strings attached" route when you've decided you've given up on any sort of meaningful relationship for the time being. Let me assure you, this most likely doesn't work. I say "most likely," because I just very recently tried this stunt for the first time and was actually rejected. The first time I've literally offered unsolicited sex to a human male and he didn't jump on it like a lion pouncing all up on a gazelle. We don't need to get into specifics of how it made me feel or what in the fucking fuck WHAT?, but I've learned thus far that offering your body to a man for no price at all sometimes doesn't always work. I believe it can, but it depends on the male and how well you know him and your history and how big of a prick he may be. When you're thinking of doing this, come talk to me and I'll smack you around.

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Rule 5: Manicures aren't worth it. Pedicures are, but manicures are not. They will chip, even they still have gel nails as a thing in the future. It takes time, but learn to master the art of the at-home manicure. If you're not too much of a bitch in your teens, I won't mind trying to teach you. But if you give me attitude, you can walk around with janky nails and pay for your own salon visits. I AIN'T PLAYIN.

Rule 6: Although this is inescapable, I'm going to try and tell you now to STOP WORRYING SO MUCH ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK AND HOW THIN YOU MAY OR MAY NOT BE. It's stressful and takes up a lot of your emotional energy to constantly compare yourself to your peers. When you hit 24/25, you will begin to take note of things you never EVER noticed before, like: how your thighs touch when you're standing and you don't have the "gap," that your arms look thinner when you hold them up in a shrugging/I don't know position, the layer of cushioning right below your boobs. These are just SOME of the 100 things you will begin to pick apart about yourself. Here's the bottom line: shit changes after college. You no longer have to choose between binge drinking or eating dinner. You can do both, because you probably have just a little more money to cover both. You aren't a child anymore. You're a WOMAN with a BODY. And all of us, and I mean all of us, have severe cases of body dysmorphic disorder.

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Rule 7: Get a dog, BUT DON'T GET ONE IN COLLEGE. If you get a dog in college, you're kind of an asshole. How dare you bring a poor, innocent animal into such a detrimental environment? It's not funny to feed your dog beer, asshole. Or to keep them up all night with your stupid ass partying, asshole. Get a dog after college, when you've settled into the real world a bit and need a warm something in your bed at night to remind you that things could always be worse and at least you have each other. A dog in your mid-20s teaches you responsibility,  gives you a sense of daily purpose, and is an awesome way to meet new people at dog parks and get out of plans in which you don't want to partake. "Ugh, wish I could but I have to go home and feed the dog." "I have to cancel on you - Fido is sick! Ughhhhhhhh" - jump to you on the couch in sweatpants, eating popcorn with a healthy Fido lovingly cuddled up on your lap. DOGS ARE THE BEST FOR EVERYTHING.

Rule 8: I think I can honestly say this decade of your life is the most confusing and anxiety-provoking. Just hold on tight and pray to god things are clearer and more settled by your 30s. Also, you can always move if need be for a change of scenery, job or people. And remember who was always here for you - Me. Oh and clean your room and don't be a slut. Love you, honey.


future Emma mom (ew)

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