I’m 26. Here Are Nine Things I Still Suck At

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Search the phrase, ‘what benefits do you get when you turn 25’ on Google. (Here, I did it for you.)

Wow, that’s amazing! I can rent fucking anything (like a hot-air balloon). Huffington Post has like 30 articles on turning 25. That’s awesome! I’m not the only one who has ever turned 25. BUZZFEED LIST ON SOMETHING FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

Turning 25 is cool if only because you’re a quarter of a century old and, in all likelihood, you’ll live to be more than 100 (if you’re reading this, probably).

But you’re not more mature. Hell no. I was a moron a year ago. I still am.

Now, do that same search for when you turn 26, ‘what benefits do you get when you turn 26’? (Here, I did that for you, too!)

Hint: it has nothing to do with how cool being 25 is or how you’re an empowered young adult or how you should travel RIGHT NOW and see the world on your birthday or how fucking awesome life is.

Instead, it’s about how your health insurance — assuming you’re covered under your parents, that is — is now expiring and how you should go shopping immediately for health insurance so that when you get hit by a car tomorrow the medical bills won’t be exorbitant. START BIRTHDAY SHOPPING FOR HEALTH INSURANCE NOW!

So, turning 26 is kinda sad, at least according to conventional wisdom.

Also, birthdays are stupid. They’re arbitrary. Nothing happens when someone tacks another digit onto your age.

At least not something nearly anything as drastic as the 364 days that preceded that. (Growth takes a long time.)

And, I still suck at a lot of things. And I’ve had to learn how to be okay with that, because life is hard and if I constantly dwelled on all of the things I sucked at, it wouldn’t get any easier.

Here are nine of them:

1. Family.

I don’t call my family enough, I don’t write them enough, I don’t tell them I love them, enough.

I do love them, immensely. They’re extremely important. If you’re reading this, I probably don’t completely deplore you, too.

I guess my writing has become a shallow effort to connect with my family, better. Sometimes it works — most of the time it upsets them, and almost always are they worried about my mental health.

2. Worrying Less.

Part of me moved to Colorado so that I could worry less — about life, finances, doing the right thing, other people’s opinions, blah, blah, blah.

I think that’s partially true — I certainly reflect that in a lot of what I write and discuss and what I do — but I still worry about other’s thoughts and opinions of me immensely.

And the world, and whether or not I’m headed in the right direction and whether people actually like or love me or if they’re just saying it because it’s the easy thing to do.

Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that won’t ever go away.

3. Feelings.

Feelings are like this strange, ephemeral thing that come and go and disappear and die in my soul and want to stay locked up inside my subconscious until, one day, they come roaring out and become some crippling form of anxiety, fear, desperation or whatever that keep me locked in my room for weeks on end.

I’ve gotten much better at expressing them over the years, especially recently — I tell people I love them and that I appreciate their presence in my life and everything they do for me — but not enough.

Or maybe there’s a middleground somewhere there, who knows.

I think it’s important to honest with people you like and love and to not pussy-foot around and I’ve done that really well for, I guess, 20+ years, and it usually hurts you more than it helps.

4. Making Friends.

Part of me wants to be friendly with everyone, and the other part of me doesn’t really give a shit about anyone. And I think that keeps me distant from a lot of people and damages some of my relationships.

I’m getting better. I’m relatively sociable, I don’t mind introducing myself to new people and making small-talk and opening myself up to random strangers, but sometimes it does feel forced and like I should just go home all the time and climb under the covers.

Making real, solid friendships at this age is tough. It takes effort. I’ve managed to meet tons of awesome people here in Denver since I’ve relocated, and it’s been incredible, but sometimes I still feel a little lonely and like I’m being a little self-destructive and that bothers me.

5. Self-Talk.

I know, you probably think I’m this brash, absurdly confident individual who isn’t the least bit emotionally fragile, purely based on my writing and all of the awesome things I’m doing.

But, at least daily, I have those moments of self-doubt, of what the fuck am I even doing, of trying to live up to other’s expectations, of being like, I don’t think I can even do this.

I’ve gotten much less destructive (probably because I drink less, too) and my confidence is usually at like at least a six or a seven, but keeping those demons at bay can sometimes be really, really hard.

6. Relationships.

Relationships still scare me. I want to throw up a little bit thinking about them. Not because I’m afraid of commitment or anything absurd like that — I’m totally okay with that — I just find I get weirdly attached and the emotional stress and trauma and constant rumination about it kinda disgusts me. (But it’s also an amazing feeling, too.)

Which, in all likelihood means that I should probably push into that fear and get over it and stop being such a bitch or whatever. Maybe a little less insecure.

Chances are, if I’ve kept you around in my life in any capacity — romantically, or anything, really — it’s because I have a deep, profound level of respect for you and I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with you and maybe even a small crush on you.

I probably don’t talk to you solely because I’m attracted to you because I’m not that shallow most of the time.

7. Money.

I’m still a totally irresponsible moron with my money. I like to think I’m investing in myself right now, and that it’ll work out, but I’m about 10% sure, on the good days.

Most days I feel like I’m driving one of these into the sun:

8. Being Less Selfish.

I used to have this rule in New York — the $5 rule — where I’d run around NYC and dole out $5 to a random homeless dude every day regardless of the circumstance or whatever. I did that for a while. It’s an obnoxious thing to write about. I think if you have to tell people about the fact that you’re being altruistic, you really don’t care about being altruistic.

I don’t do that anymore. I prefer to buy people food, or coffee or something like that. If I see someone waiting outside a store, I’ll grab them something and hope they enjoy it. I prefer to surprise people.

But that means, ultimately, I do much less for others. I don’t look homeless people in the eyes as often, I don’t contribute nearly as much to charity and gifts and thank yous to friends are less frequent.

I’ve become very self-interested, and it’s helped me move just a little bit closer towards getting the things that I ultimately want, but also pushed me a bit closer towards isolation.

It’s a tough balance.

9. Sticking to My Word.

Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned that I can be absolutely horrendous at is sticking to my word.

Not with friends, necessarily, but: organizations, responsibilities, jobs, myself, etc.

I tell people I’ll do something and, in all likelihood, I will, just maybe not with the same level of aplomb or execution that they’re ultimately looking for.

And that dissapoints a lot of people. I don’t like to upset people, especially when they have faith in me. Because that’s rare. And it’s hard to rebuild.

I cried about this the other day, because I was thinking about all of the people who have so much complete and utter faith in my abilities and I was just thinking why do they have faith in me?

For a reason, maybe. I’d like to think I’ve earned that level of respect, I just need to do a better job at following through.

But I’m happy about these things. I’ve learned to be a little more conscious of my shortcomings over the years, and in just the past year alone, I’ve improved on a lot.

If you asked me how I felt when I’d turned 25, I’d say scared, lost, not sure where I was going or what I was doing, even more deathly afraid of relationships and people and constantly worried about stepping outside of my comfort zone.

I’m not perfect now, but I’m getting much, much better.

And I think that’s about all you can hope for when the clock turns another 24 hours and you turn some indiscriminate age like 26.

That you’re getting better.

Happy birthday to me.