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 21 Things I Have Learned in 21 Years

21 Things I Have Learned in 21 Years

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I am approaching my 21st birthday. And while age is just an arbitrary number blah blah blah, this one is a number that has been hyped up for my entire life. At age 16 I could drive, but I couldn’t vote. At 18 I could drive and vote but I couldn’t drink. At 21 I can do all of the above but I still can’t rent a car. I guess the theory is that with age comes wisdom, and with each milestone we’re supposed to have gathered enough knowledge of the world to become legally responsible for various things. And while I absolutely look forward to legally ordering a glass of prosecco at dinner like a real grown-up lady, my impending birthday has also made me stop and reflect on some of the few nuggets of wisdom I have acquired over the last two decades. Inspired by the work of acclaimed writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron — please see her essay, “What I Wish I’d Known” from her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck and other thoughts on being a woman; it’s brilliant — these thoughts and illustrations are an amalgamation of some of the most notable things I’ve learned during my short career on Earth. 

Pieces of Advice for Every Year I’ve Lived

  1. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is the nectar of the gods.


2. Sometimes it’s okay to not be okay.

3. Your mental health, talents, and relationships hold more value than your pants size.It doesn’t cost a dime to be nice to people.


4. It doesn’t cost a dime to be nice to people.

5. However, people will always try to screw you over. (So be your own ally)

6. When you are a child you will hate napping, and then you will get older and plan your day around when you can possibly take a nap.

7. If you’re questioning whether or not to shower, you should probably shower.

8. Read things.


9. Write things.

10. You won’t find happiness in the same place you lost it.

11. Bangs do not work for your face. (Please refer to 6th grade yearbook photo)


12. You can gauge your level of friendship based on how often bodily functions are discussed.

13. You will turn into your mother sooner than you’d like to admit.


14. The coffee retrieved at 7pm is usually a mistake.

15. The Beatles are the greatest rock band of all time.

16. Flossing is not a made-up thing to scare you. You probably should go buy floss.

17. It’s important to have conversations with people who don’t look like you and/or don’t agree with you.


18. You absolutely need to wear sunscreen, you hopelessly pale Irish child.

19. Everyone has their own shit they’re dealing with. 

20. Pie should be warm

21. I have much more to learn.


Author: Maddie Rizzo

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