Mary Traina
July 27, 2014 4:31 pm

I remember even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew something was wrong with them. I just wasn’t quite sure what was wrong. I thought perhaps it was the resounding truth in these statements that made me uncomfortable. But now I know it wasn’t truth-telling that made me uncomfortable; it was the fact that I didn’t always understand what I was saying. You see, I was in my early 20s. Now that I’m a little bit older, I realize how much my perspective has changed. As time goes by, it’s a relief to watch certain phrases disappear from my conversation. What phrases you ask? Well, I just so happened to have put together a list!

1. “If I’m not (insert life goal here) by age 30, shoot me.”

I know I’ve said this. I’ve heard many friends say this. But did we keep saying it after we turned 26 and 30 became more than just a twinkle in our eye? Nope. Hell no—because we realize that there is nothing to fear. Turning 30 is not some cursed time when any hope of achieving your dreams suffocates under a pile of adult responsibilities. (That age is 32. Kidding)  Age 30 is the age at which you’ve found some semblance of life balance and prepare to take your goals up a notch. After all, with an average life expectancy of 78 years, why expect to accomplish all of our most coveted life goals with 48 years to spare? And why assume those goals won’t change as you evolve? Around 26, almost everyone realizes they’d be happy just to master basic life skills by 30. I mean, I just recently figured out how to properly work the machines at the Laundromat, so. . .

2. “I’m so busy!”

Adjusting to being an adult is tough and most 20-somethings view this adjustment period as “busy.” But after a while, you get used to the pace of adulthood—and saying you’re “busy” becomes as mundane as talking about the weather. There is nothing special about being busy once you realize it’s just part of life. Remember the book, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen? It’s about a 13-year-old boy who is the lone survivor of a plane crash and must figure out how to live in the Canadian wilderness with only a hatchet. Stick with me here because I think it relates: When he first lands in the wilderness, he feels super busy and overwhelmed by the whole survival thing, right? Survival is a big time commitment for him. But towards the end of the book, he gets good at it and even manages to sleep without getting attacked by a moose. Do you see? Being busy is part of survival and you just sort of get used to it. And by your late 20s—let’s say 26 and a half—if you’re still feeling busy, you learn to cut certain things out of your schedule rather than complain. I’m proud to say, it’s been years since I angered a moose.

3. “One day when I’m rich.”

You know how these sentences go: “One day when I’m rich, I’ll just hire a personal trainer to come to my house.” “One day when I’m rich, I’ll just pay someone to clean behind the toilet.” “One day when I’m rich, I’ll just replace all my teeth with self-cleaning pearly-white veneers that can change color if I’m feeling festive.” We’ve all said (most of) these things. But as you age, the phrase “when I’m rich” becomes as kitsch as “when I grow up.” The truth is, the more money you make, the more money you want to save for a well-planned vacation or a rainy day. You realize that you’ve worked hard, your paycheck is not as much as you were expecting after taxes and you’ll be damned if you’re going to pay someone else $40 to do something you can knock out yourself in under 20 minutes! The day you order guacamole at the restaurant without thinking twice is the day you’ll work towards. “Rich” is relative.

4. “I don’t get along with other girls.”

There are some pretty cool chicks in high school who never give in to the idea that hanging with the guys is preferable to making girl friends. Then there are girls like me who were intimidated by femininity and opted to spend many a Friday night listening to boys retell jokes from Dumb and Dumber. Fart jokes are great and all, but after a while, you just kinda need to bend the ear of somebody who understands where you are coming from — and more often than not, that somebody is a girl. Thus, “not getting along with other girls” becomes a weakness you work to overcome rather than brag about. And, sure, you’ll still hang with the guys from time to time — but by the time you turn 27ish, girls’ night may well be your favorite night of the month.

5. “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

I can’t believe I ever said this! I can’t believe I ever wished I didn’t require sleep! Why does anybody think 4am is a magical hour to still be conscious? After a certain age, you realize that sleep is the best. Just the best. Any 28-year-old worth their salt knows that a bloody mary and a nap is God’s gift to Saturday afternoon. While early 20-somethings chastise each other for leaving the bar before 10pm, late 20-somethings tend to smile knowingly and offer a heart-felt, “good for you.”

6. “I’ll have the disco fries with a chocolate milk shake, a side of bacon cheeseburger and a pint of your heaviest beer. Please.”

There is a very misguided idea out there that people who are healthy are high-maintenance and hard to please. Young people seem to think that a “cool girl” shouldn’t care about calories and can take down a bacon cheeseburger without holding the chili fries. But you know what’s great about getting older? You can care about your health, judgement-free. Nutrition matters as you approach 30. Everyone is on the same page about health because everyone has realized how hard it is to digest cheese. Cheese is stubborn, man!

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