(Me on Nov 6th, officially 35 for 2 whole days here, don’t tell 25 year old uber-gothic me how many vintage pastels I now wear…)
I turned 35 this past weekend! Which seems both very old and very not-old at once. It got me thinking about how much I’ve changed since starting this label and how different it feels to be 35 instead of 25. So here are some tips for those of you still under 35 from your friend cheerily coasting towards “weird auntie with cats”.
Surround Yourself with Inspiring and True People: Ever hang out with someone and come home afterwards full of excitement and fired up? That’s the ticket! Surround yourself with those who inspire you to be a better person, whether by challenging you to advance your creative efforts, to be kinder, or to laugh more etc. Those that reciprocate and ignite! Your inner circle should be made of these folks, and that likely will mean the people closest to you are few in number. I have tons of wonderful acquaintances I see at parties or events, they’re great fun but they probably wouldn’t have my back if things went terribly in my life- and that’s okay, because I have my inner circle of family-level besties.
Trust Your Gut: This has been an especially difficult lesson for me to learn and something I am still perfecting. Listen to your instincts!!! Pay close attention to how you feel in a place or in someone’s company- do you feel tense and aggravated, like you can’t let your guard down or goof off, or like you are being manipulated but can’t put your finger on it precisely? You aren’t crazy, your instincts pick up on subtle cues you may not consciously notice- that shit is crucial. I could have saved myself so much bullshit by simply trusting my gut reactions instead of waving them off as irrational. Cultivate this skill and you’ll be miles ahead!
Learn to Perform Emotional Labor: This goes for the lads reading this too (ya’ll are not socially conditioned to do this stuff generally). Emotional labor is the effort of maintaining relationships, the small acts done to sustain connection to community that are not asked for. Things like sending delivery food to your friend healing from surgery, making a “fuck that jerk” goody bag for your recently dumped pal, just making sure you check in on those in your closest circle often etc. These acts feed love and build a network of compassion and security that will absolutely be crucial as you age. At 35 I’ve had friends go through cancer, divorce, loss and I’ve gone through my own share of awfulness- the relationships you’ve fed with these acts are the ones that’ll help you survive the worst parts of life. This may not seem relevant if you’re 21 and just embarking on life as an adult but trust me, do the work – you will need a community someday, we all do.
Pursue Fun: I’m not talking about drinking your face off every weekend. Explore the world around you, even in your own neighborhood. Be curious! Experience new things as often as you can! Greedily sop up fun like a sponge. Life is not 100% work and toil and grimness, but if you make zero effort to find joy it’ll sure feel that way. Keep track of event blogs and venues you like for free events and low cost fun, it’s always great to have things to look forward to coming up, or simply pick a cool free thing to check out and start inviting people.
Be Creative: I’m a damn mess if I am not drawing, shooting, dressing myself up creatively, etc. It’s a form of play as an adult. Do the thing (and do it for YOU not to impress anyone or for social media etc), the world is pretty dark right now we need all the light and magic and strangeness we can get!
Be Kind: Lead with kindness, especially towards yourself. The world really does transform when we are a little more loving and a little more vulnerable with everyone we interact with.
So there you go, my weird life lessons that I’ve learned so far. Maybe I’ll write another at 40. 😉