A young friend, who was about to celebrate her twentieth birthday, asked me this question.
“What twenty things would you tell a twenty-year-old about life?”
After recovering from the shock of the being asked this question, and knowing that there surely isn’t a twenty-year-old living on this planet who would bother listening to me, I thought, well, why not?
After making my decision, my only problem was stopping at twenty.
So here we go with my abbreviated list of hard earned life lessons that no twenty-year-old in their right mind will ever pay any attention to.
1. Never listen to anything said by anyone over the age of twenty-one. It will always be so boring and based on totally outdated opinions and standards of behaviour.
2. If you are a twenty-year-old girl, don’t ever believe a word that a twenty-year-old boy utters. And vice versa.
3. Grit your teeth and smile. You all have Neanderthal parents, so just accept this sad fact and get on with life.
4. Work. It’s a very nasty four-letter word that you should avoid for as long as possible.
5. Go ahead and change the world. We’ve all had a go at it before, and failed, but don’t let that dampen your enthusiasm.
6. Make very good friends of people who live in big houses, drive expensive cars and whose parents have a huge swimming pool.
7. Yes, the world is a really dumb place. But it’s your home, so keep it reasonably tidy.
8. No one understands you, of course. This is perfectly normal so don’t fret. Just work a bit harder at perfecting your tantrums.
9. When you feel out of place and a little awkward, accept the fact that you are out of place and a little awkward. Hey, it’s only for another ten years or so, so don’t get all worked up about it.
10. Fashions and trends do come and go. But when you get a little older, you might be surprised to discover they can last longer than a week.
11. Do not do as you are told. Wait until you are married to do that.
12. Your Neanderthal parents may be creeps, but keep taking their money for as long as you can. (Refer tip 4.)
13. Never smile. Smiling indicates pleasure, acceptance and contentment. You don’t possess any of these attributes yet.
14. Punctuality. Way too difficult to spell, so it’s a word that is impossible to look up in a dictionary to discover the meaning. Forget I even mentioned it.
15. There’s plenty of time to have friends for life, later. A month or two will be just fine for now.
16. Studying is good. Partying, getting drunk and going wild is way better, though.
17. Try not to make the same stupid mistake forty-two times. Ten or so times will suffice.
18. Have your own opinion about absolutely everything. Even if you don’t have a single clue about anything.
19. Respecting your elders doesn’t mean that you actually have to listen to them.
20. Totally ignore long lists of really dumb advice like this.