25 things I learned in 25 years

I write this on the eve of my 25th birthday. I have a lot of mixed feelings because the damned expectations versus reality curse is striking again.

There are a lot of things that I thought would/should have happened by now, and there are plenty of things that I can’t believe I already accomplished, but the future freaks me out.

This unrest took me to the streets of downtown Williamsport for a run at 9:45 p.m. I can see my mom cringing while reading this because in reality, it was a pretty dumb, unsafe thing for me to do, but I felt very drawn to the spot and I needed to run anyway.

Along the way, I passed the sight of my first kiss, where I took swimming lessons and where I took AP tests. I don’t know if I was trying to retrace my steps to how I got here or if I was perhaps channeling every version of Sarah the last 24 years has seen, but it got me thinking that maybe I learned some things along the way, so here we go:

  1. It’s never too late to become the person that you admire.
  2. Crunchy peanut butter is not as bad as I imagined and is an acceptable alternative to smooth.
  3. When you have an anxiety about a decision, don’t poll the entire world, because guess what, not everybody knows more than you and you’re going to make it work no matter what you decide.
  4. If someone has a pimple, don’t point it out — THEY ARE AWARE.
  5. Wait 24 hours before you buy something over 20 dollars because if it’s important, you will go back and get it, if it’s not (which it probably isn’t) you can feel okay about spending that money.
  6. Grey’s Anatomy must absolutely be stopped. Everyone is dead. Nobody cares anymore. Everyone ignores the fact that there was a story line where a character that had sex with a ghost….? And why are so  many doctors perishing in what appears to be Michael Bay explosions? How is that okay? No hospital in America would let those kind of shenanigans slide by without launching an investigation. GIVE IT UP, SHONDA, IT’S DONE.
  7. Absolutely nobody wants to hear stories about your dreams. There’s no proof to substantiate the dream so everybody will always assume you’re exaggerating. This saddens me because I have insane dreams that I want to share, but retelling the story is never satisfying for anybody.
  8. You have to make peace with the fact that not everybody is going to react or say the things you want them to do. Just because you would do something one way doesn’t mean everybody else has to.
  9. No amount of scare tactics from my dentist is going to make me floss regularly. I play this game with them every time where I’m determined for the next 6 days and then all motivation flies out of the window.
  10. You can only numb yourself for so long until the dam breaks and you have to face yourself and rebuild. This will be equally terrifying and electrifying.
  11. People who are on everyone’s side are on no one’s side. (I’m deep, Nina).
  12. Most decisions will come down to what you couldn’t live without more.
  13. Peach Snapple really is the best stuff on earth.
  14. Sitting in the shower while sad or sick is chicken noodle soup for the heart/body.
  15. “That’s how they are, they’re just a jerk to everybody. It’s their thing,” is not an acceptable excuse for someone’s awful behavior.
  16. This took me awhile to work out: no one actually knows what they’re doing at first. In high school, college and now my first job, I never had any idea what I was doing. Humans are crazy adaptable.
  17. Everyone has a story to tell, and they are all fascinating if people are willing to give them up.
  18. There’s no better feeling than going to a show and seeing the people who have been voices in your heads and the authors of your tweets for years.
  19. No amount of me wanting to look hot at a bar will keep me from wearing a jacket when it’s could out.
  20. This is probably obvious to most people but, you won’t magically learn to cook over the years. So, ask to learn now, or you will end up like me, who regularly eats mashed potatoes and lima beans as a meal.
  21. I would rather try my hardest and get disappointed rather than wonder “what if” later on.
  22. Your parents get cooler and cooler the older you get.
  23. Most of my fondest memories took place along the Potomac River.
  24. A lot of people want a wedding, not a marriage.
  25. “If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve,” is how I borrow some bravery before every live shot, high-stakes conversation and big decision.

If you have every touched my life in these last 25 years in any way, know that I will never, ever forget. Whether it was on the soccer field, at the Fish and Game Club, in the dorms at Salisbury, people I’ve met at stories who shared their world with me — anybody, you are important to me.

I’m finishing this up on my actual birthday and I’m blown away by the people who have said unbelievably nice things and took the time to make my day better. It is not at all lost on me.

Thanks for doing this with me. I love you all.

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