Today at 4:24 pm, I will officially be 26 years old.
I think 26 is going to be a good year. Despite a rocky ending to 25, there’s already a lot of great stuff in the works for the year ahead, including a 26.2 mile jaunt in September. I like that: 26.2 miles at 26 years old.
I confess that birthdays give me anxiety. I hate planning things for myself, and sending a mass email saying, “Come to my birthday party!” isn’t really my thing.
Luckily, I have awesome friends, and they send those emails and texts on my behalf.
This week has been really stressful and after the past few months, I just wanted to fast forward past my birthday. I’m usually a big, big, big fan of attention (What? I’m not afraid to admit that — I have a blog, obviously there’s a touch of narcissism here. Don’t judge.), but this year I wasn’t feeling it.
But when I got a call from Lauren this morning saying, “Are you home? I’m coming over,” I realized that it’s going to be a good day after all. Anxiety not necessary.
To backtrack: My first order of birthday business was sending an email to Coach Cane last night.
He wanted me to take today as a rest day.
Sometimes I think he doesn’t understand me.
I sent him an email asking for a birthday favor. It went something along the lines of this: “Hi Coach Cane! Thanks for being so nice and being my coach and answering all 36 emails I’ve sent you so far this week. Anyway, I know you want me to rest tomorrow, but it’s my birthday, and I can’t start my first day as a 26 year old without running. I hope you understand. Please grant my wish. Love always and forever (please don’t hate me yet), Ali.”
He responded, thanked me for asking permission, wished me a happy birthday and gave me permission to hit the road this morning.
But only for three miles.
And not at a fast pace.
And so I ran. And it was the perfect start to my day.
I came home, showered, and had a little dance party in my towel while I got ready.
Then I got a visit from Lauren, who came bearing gifts.
Personalized M&Ms! Does she know me or what?
I didn’t have time (or money) to buy a fun birthday outfit this year, but I did wear a shirt I haven’t worn yet.
I hope my office is OK with some birthday cleavage… Don’t worry. I have a blazer to throw on over it. (And I brought another shirt in case I feel over exposed and want to change. I don’t really live on the edge.)
The plan for the day is simple: work, then dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, followed by drinks at one of my new favorite bars. Nothing crazy, just good friends, good food and good drinks.
So I’m no life expert…obviously. But I would like to think that in my 26 years on Earth I’ve learned a thing or two of importance.
Without further ado, I present to you my list of 26 Things I’ve Learned In 26 Years:
1. Your is not the same as you’re. Yeah, I know, you might think that’s obvious, but I know a lot of 26 year olds who are still not so sure about this one. You’re smart, but your grammar sucks.
2. A dance party — whether at a bar or in the comfort of your own home wearing nothing but, well, nothing — can almost always cure, or at least temporarily remedy, a bad mood.
3. Cuddling can also cure most things.
4. Cheap gallons of “juice” mixed with almost any kind of clear liquid + lots of ice = an awesome party drink that will get people super drunk. Put it in a large tub with a ladle for extra classiness.
5. Cake is awesome. Ice cream cake is really awesome. But nothing screams “let’s celebrate” quite like Funfetti.
6. If you want to feel like a kid again, throw a lot of pillows and blankets on your bed. Then jump on it.
7. If you have the opportunity to study abroad in college and you don’t do it, you’re insane. Spending four months in Australia during my junior year was the best thing I ever did. I miss that country every day.
8. Your life (and posture) will be better if you wear the right bra size. This includes regular bras and sports bras. Sorry dude readers, I don’t have anything for you on this one. I guess…buy a good jock strap?
9. Listen. You will be a better person if you learn to listen. I used to ask questions, but while the responder was responding, I was thinking of the next thing I was going to say. When I started actually focusing and listening, I learned a lot.
10. Few things in life are better than fancy hotel beds and plush hotel robes.
11. Running is a fun, relatively inexpensive (at least at first) way to exercise. Try it. You might hate it. But you also might love it and it might change your life.
12. 16 Handles has the best frozen yogurt ever. You get to add your own toppings. Suck it, Pinkberry.
13. Celine Dion is the best singer ever. That girl’s got range, and she has her own show in Vegas and she is a total badass.
14. Celebrities are just people who happen to be really good looking. Don’t waste your life envying them or being obsessed with their lives. (It is, however, totally acceptable to watch “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” marathons every Sunday.) Celebrities get airbrushed. Remember that, too.
15. You may think you gained weight, but guess what? You didn’t. Your jeans are just tight because they just came out of the dryer. What’s that? You haven’t washed your jeans. Well then they washed themselves while you were out. You look great. Obsessing over a gained pound a half will make you crazy.
16. The Chrysler Building is sexier than the Empire State Building, but the Empire State Building still takes my breath away every time I see it.
17. Breath and breathe are not the same thing. You take a deep breath, but you need oxygen to breathe.
18. Breakups suck. There’s no way of sugar coating that. They are life-changing, devastating, and unless you truly hate the person you’re dating, they’re really, really hard. But you get through them, even though, in the midst of it all, you think your life is over. Few things make breakups easier, but close, understanding, non-judgmental friends help.
19. You don’t need a ton of friends, but you need a few really, really good friends. Like, friends who won’t judge you if you get really drunk and eat pre-made cookie dough straight out of the tub, or friends who don’t get mad if you both wear the same shirt from Limited Too on school picture day (nope, never done either of those things, I’m just saying).
20. It’s really hard to mess up making fish. Put some lemon pepper on it, throw it in the oven for a while and then eat it.
21. If you drink a lot of water, you’ll feel better. Not just during the day, but also in between pint glasses of wine at night.
22. Simple purchases can make your whole day better. This includes a new pair of underwear, a new kind of soap that smells awesome, peanut butter filled pretzels or anything from Chipotle.
23. An email that takes you two minutes to write could mean the world to the person who receives it. Take the time, send the message.
24. You should floss daily. I used to tell my dentist that I “totally floss always, of course,” but I was lying to him, and I have the fillings to prove it. I floss a lot now. Not daily, but more often than before.
25. Weight is just a number. Your pants size is just a number. This is cheesy, but you can’t measure your life that way. You know how you can measure your life? In amounts of delicious ice cream, belly-aching laughs and number of cute puppies you pet daily. (I think this is the point they were trying to make during “Seasons of Love” in Rent.)
26. Center Stage is the best movie ever. Step Brothers and Zoolander are good, too.
That is everything I’ve learned in 26 years? Crap. I need to go learn more.
Off to enjoy the day!
NOW YOU SHARE: Tell me one of your good life lessons!