20 Things To Do In Your 20s (Before You Get Old and Die)

As a 24-year-old female, I am the recipient of a shockingly large amount of Thought Catalog, Buzzfeed, etc lists instructing me on the best way to be a vicenarian (that means someone between 20-29 even if spellcheck won’t admit it’s a real word). As I navigate my third century of life, these lists inform me that it’s gonna be ROUGH. And also AWESOME. I am not expected to have my life figured out yet, but it’s okay – I’m not supposed to! But also, I am supposed to. Did I mention these lists tend to contradict one another?

ImageCan we all acknowledge how the first three articles in my Google search were published for the same publication within a month of each other??? Also, Thought Catalog had this for me when I clicked on one of the articles:

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Clearly none of these 64 lists are getting through to my fellow 20-somethings, so I will do my part and contribute what I believe to be the 20 most important lessons one can learn in their twenties, despite the fact that I’m not even at the mid-twenties mark yet. This actually seems to be on the list of criteria needed to write one of these lists, as Shovani Kothari of Thought Catalog explains:

“I’m not even a full year into my twenties but I already feel like I have such an insight into the next ten years ahead of me.”

If there’s one thing more informative than experience, it’s baseless prediction. But everyone knows that.

The LIST!

1) Get into LOTS of car accidents. The only way to grow is to learn from your mistakes, so the bigger and more disastrous the mistake is, the faster you will mature!

2) Don’t eat. Ever. Being in your 20s is not like being a teenager in that it’s a lot easier to get fat. Until you get a ring on that finger, it’s best to stay skinny.

3) Like all these lists do, I am assuming that you have some shitty job. My advice is stop having such a shitty job because good jobs pay better and money is great.

4) Sleep with everyone you meet. STDs keep the body strong – a diverse population of bacteria and viruses are essential to human health.

5) Don’t get married!!!!!! Marriage is for people in their 30s (old!!!).

6) Get married!!!!!!! Who doesn’t want to be a young bride?

7) Party on a weeknight until your face falls off and then go to work hungover. This is on a lot of the other lists, so it must be good advice.

8) Date guys because they are rich! You’re in your 20s, it’s not real life! See above note about money being great.

9) Move in with your boyfriend. Then break up. You know what that feeling is? Yeah…that’s LIFE EXPERIENCE.

10) Buy a pet. Your parents wanted to cancel their first real vacation since you moved out to take care of a dog you haven’t trained, right?

11) Intentionally date someone who treats you poorly. If he hits you, you can sue him! This is one of the best ways to make lots of money without doing very much work. Trust me, the emotional trauma will be worth it when you can “flash” your “bling.”

12) “Royally piss off your parents.”  Just kidding I didn’t write this. Someone actually said this as real advice.

13) Once you are done paying off your student loans, it’s time to buckle down and get serious about finances. JUST KIDDING! Amass debt on your credit cards and pay it back later, because #yolo.

14) Eat lots of kale. This tip comes to you from Real World Observations of what people seem to do a lot. Note this contradicts #2, but it’s been mentioned that contradiction is essential to learning.

15) Also, become allergic to gluten. Your 20s are an important time to experiment with doing stuff solely because other people do it, despite having no real reason to.

16) Write a list for other 20-somethings to help guide them towards your particular worldview so your bad decisions get validation.

17) Found an Internet startup. There is no better way to earn respect from your family and peers. If you don’t make the 30 Under 30 list then you might as well be a stay at home mom.

18) Here’s another one I didn’t write: “Go a week without showering–whether you’re on deadline or studying for finals, just be a gross filth pot when you don’t have to go out into the world.” GO A WEEK WITHOUT SHOWERING!

19) Frantically share as many experiences as possible via social media. In fact, don’t do anything unless you’re able to get fake Internet points from doing it.

20) This one might be *too* crazy: Think for yourself and do what feels right for you.

You Are Now Free To Shut The F*** Up

It was posted about 20 minutes ago, so naturally you’ve seen it by now. I know by tomorrow it will be old news, but whatever.

The FCC has proposed that airplane passengers should be able to use their mobile phones midflight, as long as the planes are above 10,000 feet. Now before we go all crazy, it has not happened yet, only been proposed. Also airlines are free to restrict this capability at their discretion. 

So let’s look at the pros and cons of allowing airplane travelers to talk on their phones:

Pros:

1) Your plane is crashing, so you can call your loved ones to make sure they destroy the harddrive on your home computer

2) Flying will no longer restrict you from having phone meetings while airborne. Always be closing!

3) You will no longer have to wait 1-2 minutes for your phone to turn on after landing. Unless you are flying an airline that makes you turn it off during takeoff/landing. Then you will have to wait.

Cons:

1) You are bugging the shit out of literally everyone around you. Being in the sky does not change the land-etiquette of not forcing people to hear half of your stupid conversation

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2) If this applies to pilots as well, then we are all screwed

3) For a lot of people flights are the last place they can go to have an excuse to unplug. Perhaps submarine rides will be the last tech-free haven?

I fly quite frequently, so we will see what kind of effect this has, if it in fact becomes a reality. Honestly I think it’s one of those things that’s easy (and fun!) to complain about before it happens, but will more than likely not be that big of a problem. If it does become super annoying, then I vote we enact SkyLaw to make it acceptable to punch loud, rude people in the face. 

Presents for Techsters

Hanukkah is almost upon us – can you believe it? That means Christmas is just weeks or possibly days away – it’s different every year! What fun! However it is in fact that time of year, the time where we all scramble to find the best deals on the hottest items to prove to our family members that we love them. If the amount of presents under my family’s very secular Christmas tree are any indication, we love each other so much that it’s oppressive and tiring.

Shopping for presents is never an easy task, particularly when you’re purchasing for many people at once. It has to be the right balance of your enjoyment in giving the gift relative to their pleasure in receiving the gift. Oy vey! So given the diverse interests of the people in your life, I decided to take some of the load off by giving a few suggestions for picking out that perfect lil something for your techie, early-adopter friend. Mind you I mean an adopter of new technologies, not of orphaned children.

THE LIST

1) Coin! Pre-order the next generation of credit card that’s buzzwording its way into peoples’ hearts. This gift is perfect for your friend who loves hype and literally has too much of everything – especially credit cards. With Coin they can digitally consolidate their numerous, waterproof plastic cards into one hydrophilic entity that doesn’t necessarily function without close proximity to a smartphone for only lots of dollars. So disruptive!

ImageGood luck with SEO, Coin

2) BitCoin! Do you have a friend who is struggling too much to keep their identity hidden while buying drugs or maybe sex slaves online? Then get them in on the Open Source P2P currency revolution that has Wall Streeters everywhere (particularly on Wall Street) throwing their hands into the air and proclaiming, “Gordon Gecko did not warn us about this newfangled technology!”

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3) Club membership! Do you have a friend whose entire existence is validated by the success of the people they know? For them you need look no further than a membership at The Battery, San Francisco’s latest addition to the exclusive club scene. A mere $2400 will afford your favorite social climber the ability to rub elbows with the self-proclaimed winners of Silicon Valley’s entirely fabricated tech hierarchy. They will thank you forever, as long as you continue to provide value to their network, of course.

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4) Microapartment! You know the phrase, “bigger is better”? Well forget about that, because when it comes to housing in San Francisco, “size doesn’t matter,” as long as that size is small. Scientists* have even postulated that the smaller your apartment is, the bigger your penis gets (I’m looking at you, women). Who needs a backyard when you can have 250 square feet of claustrophobia to call home on the weekends?

Image  *I made this up

5) Quadcopter! No sarcasm here. Quadcopters are neat. If you don’t believe me, then you better look at this.

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6) Google Glass! Is your friend an asshole, but constantly struggling with what kind of asshole they are? Fortunately the latest in wearable technology will make sure the world knows your friend is a bonafide Glasshole. All it will cost you is $1500 and a little dignity to make sure your friend can forcefully prove to the world that they are up to date on the newest gadgets.

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7) Tech pillows! Balancing your digital and real life has never been so attainable! Purchase any number of fun options to adorn your bed as a way to guarantee celibacy. And that’s not all the fun you can have – you can Facebook yourself sleeping on an Instagram pillow! Surf the Internet that is your dreams using a Google Chrome pillow! Smother your loved ones with whatever this is!

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If all of these options are too “mainstream” for your “friends,” I suggest going directly to the source to make sure they can be the first to find out about what’s new. For example, you can hack in to Google’s servers and check out what cool stuff they’re working on – your friends will no doubt visit you in prison to thank you profusely for making sure they were the first to be able to tweet about a new, irrelevant product!

No matter what route you go, you are sure to have a wonderful, wired holiday season where you and all your family members can all enjoy sitting in the same room while staring at your smartphones.

#Batkid Saves The Day

I’m on a plane flying home from LA right now. That means I just spent $6 to access internet for what will probably be a less than an hour flight. Normally I use my flight time as an exercise in unplugging so I can catch up on the books that normally collect dust next to my bed, but today is a different day.

Today is the day Batkid came to San Francisco.

Miles, a 5 year old boy who just beat leukemia this summer after battling it for many years, has become a superhero. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, famous for granting large and small wishes to kids with terminal illnesses has outdone itself by teaming up with the city of San Francisco to provide a real-life Batman experience for Miles. The idea was well-planned: they set up damsels in distress, Riddlers and Penguins whose plans Miles could foil, and obtained beautiful black Lamborghinis to deck out in all the coolest Batman gear. Miles was to go through the makeshift Gotham city saving the day again and again as Batkid and ultimately live his dream of being a superhero.

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But thanks to the power of social media, the Make-A-Wish Foundation was able to provide an amazing experience beyond just Miles and his family. Once the story hit the Internet a few weeks ago, this project found itself inundated with requests for volunteering, ending up with over 11,000 (!!) people asking to participate.

And then the day arrived. Today: November 15, 2013. Immediately #Batkid topped the Twitter trend list, and as of 2:30pm it has not yet come down.

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The Earth has literally mobilized. People all over the world are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, news sites – anything they can do to access this amazing story of people coming together to make one child smile. And in accessing it, people are sharing, giving those unable to be present (like myself) a glimpse into the heartwarming story that has spread itself to the far reaches of the Web.

In sharing through social media, people have surpassed the original goal of making Miles’ wish come true: #Batkid has created a makeshift Gotham community for the makeshift Gotham City. Except that it’s a real community. Millions of strangers are connecting worldwide to share in a story that makes them feel good about humanity and each other, and it’s a beautiful thing.

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For all that social media desensitizes us, saturates us, and provides us with a nonstop assault of information about shootings, killings, and all the bad things in the world, it can be used for good, too. It’s moments like these that prove how powerful a tool social media can be at bringing people together for the good of humanity, how it can provide a portal into the stories that help us keep going. In this particular case, a story about the insurmountable spirit of a little boy who never gave up even in the face of death. As @FunnyorDie puts it:

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Even if the Riddler is an actor, even if that black Lamborghini will go back into someone’s garage, there will be a lasting impact. People will remember this day.

Thank you #Batkid for truly and genuinely saving the day. You are a hero.

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Read the full story on Buzzfeed, where most of these photos are from (aggregated from the web).

My Dot Complicated Moment

Everyone has their “aha” moments, their epiphanies seeped in the sudden realization that a change is needed. It doesn’t matter what these moments are about, only that they serve us with a great deal of value in helping us direct our lives.

Randi Zuckerberg’s book, Dot Complicated, was released this week, and with it a new call-to-action on acknowledging our Dot Complicated moments, or the times when we realize we need to unplug, rethink, and adjust the role technology plays in our lives.

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Technology has historically been my friend. I consider myself an early adopter, and I love seeing the way bright minds put their heads together to innovate on the biggest problems facing our world, like the TacoCopter. I started using gmail and Facebook both when they were invite-only, and I’m always tuned in on what’s being born out of the collective tech knowledge. Like most people I’m always signed in to my various social media accounts, and more often than not that’s where social plans formulate, rather than through text or phone.

Then there are those moments. When a text goes unanswered, and my mind races with all the reasons this person must hate me, which is why I’m not hearing from them. When having eye contact during a conversation becomes both surprising and memorable. When I ask my boyfriend if we can go out to dinner just so we can sit across from one another, instead of side by side on the couch. When I’m in tangible discomfort after forgetting my phone at home, and the activities of my friends on my Facebook feed fill me with a wild jealousy I never knew to be possible.

It’s little moments like these that are adding to my saturation point with technology. The gift of information access is a double-edged sword that cuts right through your perception of yourself. You didn’t know you could scare yourself until you’re curled up in bed wondering why your friends don’t text you back, and being mad at yourself for being upset about it. As if it matters.

The good thing about getting caught up in the drama created by digital innovation is when you get that breath of fresh air. That Dot Complicated moment. When I stepped off the plane to Israel with 39 strangers I turned my phone off, as it lacked an international plan. Thus followed 10 days of truly living in the moment – of riding camels through the desert, of genuinely getting to know the people around me, and excelling at the art of getting lost.

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The company I worked for at the time got bought by Google while I was there, and nothing so big has mattered so little to me. It didn’t matter because I wasn’t there. They asked us all at the end of the trip what was the most significant part of our experience, and I knew right away mine was being given an opportunity to be a person again, a real person who wasn’t constantly keyed into what everyone else was doing at all times.

Technology provides portals into the lives of other people, lives that are curated to be shared mind you, and that is wonderful. What I’m learning though, is it’s not the end-all. There is value in unplugging, in looking into the eyes of another soul while conversing with them, in sharing experiences unfiltered. And that even though it may be uncomfortable at first, just like any detox, you feel better at the other side.