6 Life Lessons for Turning 26

Today is my FIRST day being 26 years old! How is that even possible? Pretty sure I’m still writing 2001 on my checks even though I wasn’t writing checks until 2010. Even though I am now solidly planted in my mid-twenties, I don’t feel particularly wiser, older, or more mature. Like, at all. I hardly feel qualified to offer life advice given that I’m still on my parent’s insurance and recently considered Fruit Loops a balanced dinner option. Despite my frequent misadventures, I have picked up a few lessons over the years that I hope will guide me into the next quarter-century of life, and I thought I’d share my favorite six with you as told by my personal icon, Leslie Knope.

Lesson #1 Hold on loosely

In my experience, planning the future is a fool’s errand. I’m a naturally anxious person, so I tend to white-knuckle life like Stevie Wonder on a Nascar course. Timelines and goals are dandy, but I’ve realized that fixating on what lies ahead can rob you of what’s happening now. Whether it’s friendships, jobs, family, or matters of the heart, be content to enjoy the present. When it comes to the future, just hold on loosely.

Lesson #2 Be nice to your mom

Moms are proof that God loves us. How long is chicken good outside of the fridge? What about in my hot car? Is it safe to take six Ibuprofen at once? Is plastic microwavable? How do I clean vomit off of a white couch? Is this rash normal? Why are all of my socks pink? What happens if I use an 80 watt bulb in a 40 watt lamp? If it weren’t for moms, I’m fairly certain the human life expectancy would be 22 at best.

Lesson #3 Never pack a Fiber One bar with your lunch.

I don’t think this lesson really needs explaining, nor do I think there’s ever really an opportune moment to eat a Fiber One bar. Honestly, this shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re over 70 or stealing free food from you mom’s house, like me. This is most definitely a mistake you only make once. Consider yourselves warned.

Lesson #4 You’re doing better than you realize

Are you an official member of the bloods and/or crips? Did you steal your grandmother’s wedding ring to buy heroin? Are you the antagonist of a super-popular true crime podcast? Do you wear flesh-colored leggings out in public? If you answered no to these questions, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re actually doing a fab-tastic job. Keep up the good work.

Lesson #5 There is no right age

There is no right age to get married, have a baby, have another baby, buy a house, move out of state, get a dog, start college, go back to college, start a 401K, open a business, start a career, switch careers, learn a new skill, or backpack through Europe. STOP. THE. JUDGING.

Lesson #6 Little moments make big memories

When I think about the past 26 years, the first memories that come to mind are simply a string of little moments. Jamming out to Aaron Carter in my best friend’s garage, dancing with my dad at the middle school formal, skipping chemistry to watch Friends with my roommate, when my boyfriend said I love you for the first time in my apartment kitchen. Most often, it’s the little moments that leave the biggest impact.

If you’re looking for more “wisdom” (aka laughable nuggets) regarding your twenties, check out the 8 Stages of Your Twenties As Told by Friends.

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Mondays As Told by Harry Potter

8 a.m.

*stares blankly at monitor* “And then she greeted death as an old friend, and went with him gladly.”

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9 a.m.

“Yeah…wow…cool. Your 12-day trip to Greece sounds super awesome. Um, do you know if we’re out of donut-flavored K cups? Are we ordering more soon or what? I just really need some caffeine RN.”

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10 a.m. Staff Meeting

Boss: “Unless you all have anything else, I think we’re finished!”

Coworker: “Actually, I have a few items I’d like to discuss.”

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11 a.m.

THE. HANGER. IS. REAL.

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12:00:01 p.m.

Boss: “Hey, before you guys head to lu-”

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1 p.m.

When your colleague says, “Boy, the day’s really flying by!”

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2 p.m.

*daydreaming about retirement*

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3 p.m.

That moment when you realize there’s still TWO HOURS left.

 

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4 p.m.

Why. Is. Time. Moving. So. Slowly.

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5 p.m.

“LAURA HAS NO MASTER!” *pulls sock out of desk, sprints through door*

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If you want to see more of life As Told by Harry Potter, check out The 6 Stages of Final Exams!

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer Upper

It’s been a little over a year since I bought my first house, and what a whirlwind it has been! I’ve learned more about electrical wiring, grout removal, and interior paint than I ever dreamed possible. Although I haven’t fully finished my list of home improvement projects, I have made quite a dent – new countertops, fresh baseboards, and a retiled bathroom, among other things. It’s been an exhausting, expensive, and very rewarding ride, but I can honestly say fixer uppers are not for everyone.

For those of you seeking a new adventure, here are a few pros and cons to buying a fixer upper from a first-time home owner.

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1. Lower Monthly Mortgage Payments

Unlike buying a starter home, fixer uppers obviously have a lower list price – which means lower monthly payments for you. This is more money you can put in your pocket or save towards your renovation list!

2. Complete Customization

In a way, fixer uppers are like building a house from scratch. You have the rare and beautiful opportunity to hand-craft your home from the ground up, and there is a lot to be said for ultimate creative freedom.

3. Work at Your Own Pace

Unlike buying a new home, you can work and pay for a fixer upper at your own pace. You determined when each improvement is done and how much it will cost, which  means you can tailor your home to fit your current lifestyle.

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1. Choices Can Be Overwhelming

Do you want brushed nickel, bronze, silver, or black drawer pulls? Ogee, bevel, or demi bullnose on your countertops? You really don’t realize how many detailed decisions go into creating a cohesive home until you start calling the shots!

2. Require Lots (And Lots) of Time

Fixers uppers are extremely time-consuming. Even if you opt not to DIY the majority of your renovations, you’re looking at hours spent researching options and meeting with vendors. You’ll also be required to take PTO from work during any installations, which can last up to 4+ hours per project.

3. Older Homes = More Repairs

Buying a fixer upper means buying an older home, which comes with a fair share of challenges. Don’t be caught off guard if you encounter faulty plumbing, outdated electrical wiring, or random holes in the wall (don’t ask).

Have more questions about buying an older home? I’d love to offer any guidance I can, so feel free to ask away in the comments section below.