In honor of all the articles I’ve been seeing recently about Lists of Awesome things you need to do before you’re 23 and/or get married, motherfucker!
Here’s my list of things you should be doing instead of worrying about your relationship status:
1. Go work out.
Seriously, go outside right now for 45 minutes and take a walk. Even that is better than sitting inside on the computer.
Go join a boxing gym, or go for a bike ride. Take up a new sport that you’ve always wanted! I guarantee you that a little exercise will make you feel a lot better every single day!
2. Learn to cook something.
I’m a believer that we as humans need to take some time to just think about nothing. Like children at recess, we need to give our minds a little break to just play.
With cooking, I find this peace. I’m not constantly thinking about money, or stress, or my career frustrations—rather, I find a recipe, get the ingredients, and empty my mind.
Also, food you cook yourself tastes 1000% better. See for yourself!
3. Catch up with an old friend or family member.
The other day I spent a half hour talking to my 80-year old grandmother in Argentina. She was so thrilled to just hear about how I was doing—it made her day.
Even something as simple as a single e-mail or a Facebook message is enough. It will brighten the other person’s day a little bit, as well as your own.
Be selfish and help yourself to this easy high. It takes less than thirty seconds of your time, so why not?
4. Read a good book.
There are so many good books out there, that you have no reason to not be reading something right now.
You can explore the universe, fight in wars, fall in love, or learn about anything you want. And it’s all available at a local library for free.
If you happen to have a kindle, nook, or tablet it’s even easier—you have a wealth of free books at your fingertips. You can find a lot of the “classics” for free, especially. If you’ve ever wanted to read Homer, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, Miguel de Cervantes or Charles Dickens, now you can do so without having to pay for it! (Just don’t expect any Edith Grossman or Robert Fagles translations.)
5. Get a library card.
Let me repeat this one, because I feel very strongly about this issue.
If you want to read a lot for almost nothing, you should consider this resource. I am still shocked to learn that 99% of my classmates never even considered getting a library card. Obviously this statistic is made up, but you get the point. Nobody I meet seems to go to the library for books.
I’m telling you right now that you can’t use “I’m poor” as an excuse for not reading any longer. I’m on to you, reader.
6. Keep a journal.
It’s really amazing how much personal growth you can experience just by writing your ideas down. And I mean that literally. Write them down.
By writing in an actual journal with actual paper pages, you will accomplish two important tasks: first, you will improve your handwriting; God knows we all need to improve on that front; and secondly, you will begin to find your voice. Your writing voice might suck at first, but I promise it will improve with practice.
This journal will give as much back to you as you put into it. If you actually take the opportunity to be honest with yourself, you might actually find it to be a very therapeutic exercise. And—more importantly—it’s also safer to shout your frustrations and cynicism into a leather-bound echo chamber audience of one rather than, say, on Facebook or Twitter. Just food for thought.
7. Make music.
I have yet to meet a single person who doesn’t enjoy music. I don’t think it’s actually possible—I think that to actually qualify as human, you have to meet this minimum musical requirement.
I also believe that everybody can enjoy making music. Obviously not everybody is a gifted musician, but that shouldn’t stop you from making music. Drum to your own beat! Sing loudly in the car and in the shower! Get up in front of your co-workers and sing your favorite Frank Sinatra song at the next karaoke night!
Your voice might be awful, but who cares? Fuck those people who judge you. If you’re enjoying it, then that’s all you need. And, believe it or not, you might actually get better with practice.
8. Learn about beer.
When I turned 21, I began frequenting a beer garden in the North Austin area called the Flying Saucer.
This place has hundreds of craft beers on tap, as well as in bottles, cans, and specialty kegs.
If you join the UFO club, you are presented with an opportunity at immortality: if you manage to drink 200 different beers, you get a customized ‘saucer’ on the wall to immortalize yourself. Even better, you get $100 to have a plate party with your friends.
The trick with this place is to always get new beers, and never repeat.
This is not the place where you go to have order three of your favorite beers with friends. It can be, but it’s not the intention of the restaurant.
This is the place where you go to learn. You pay premium price for an exceptional selection, you taste new things, and then you take that knowledge with you to the outside world.
Before you know it, even before you manage to get your first plate on the wall, you will have begun to acquire a taste for beer. Your palate has begun its development. You are on your way, kid.
9. Go play with animals at the shelter.
This is something that I hadn’t done until recently. And holy shit! Those dogs are so goddamn adorable and heartwarming. If you like animals, go do this. Those animals need you as much as you need them. Trust me on this one.
10. I’ll finish this stupid list later. I’m off to do stuff.