21 Takeaways From My 21st Year

Many of you may be wondering what I’m up to these days.

Will Lynn become a professional SCOTUS stalker? A chronicler of Beyonce’s make-up choices? A wanton wonton-wanting wanderer?

Alas, to the disappointment of the universe, I have forsaken my short-lived fantasy of becoming a steamboat captain.

Some of you I’ve told in person, some of you may have guessed from various Facebook statuses. For the forseeable future, I’m attempting a career in television writing. “Attempt” being the operative word here.

In other words, I’m flinging myself at the gates of Hollywood trying to get a crack at the unknowable, behemoth of an industry that prides itself on consuming the souls of its inhabitants. My motivations involve changing cultural perceptions and cute, idealistic notions, but that’s for another post.

Chasing dreams is a slow, lonely process.  I envision the next few years will be much of the same.

Sometime in the last year, I realized this industry is do or die. I’m here to make it. I’m in it for the long haul, my soul be damned.

There’s a lot to take away from this last year. And in true Millennial form, I’m presenting it to you in the form of a listicle, with some serious, but mostly silly tidbits. Here’s to onwards and upwards, in my 22nd year and beyond.

21 Takeaways from my 21st Year:

1. We’re all just passing through

This I pulled from a Richard Linklater movie, “Before Midnight.” We’re all just passing through. There’s no point holding grudges, staying angry at folks, or taking anything too personally when, at the end of the day, we’re here on this Earth only temporarily, and really, you only had $25 on your debit card anyway so it’s not like that thief is going to get more than three meals off of you.

It took me a whole year to get to a place of almost-zen, and this phrase helps in reminding me to let everything go. Much like some folks chant “USA! USA! USA!” I chant “We’re all just passing through!”

2. Money is the worst thing ever invented

Speaking of Linklater films, there’s a scene at the end of “Boyhood” where the mom looks up at her about-to-be-college-student son and goes “I thought there would be more than this.” That terrifies me. I do not want to become the woman who spent her whole life chasing milestones — getting the job, buying the house, marrying the hubby, having the kids, doing the menopause — only to look back on it at the age of 60 and go “Is that it? I thought I was gonna get laid so much more.”

Money makes it very easy to fall into this trap. On the one hand, I need it. On the other hand, it is quite possibly the worst thing ever invented. It leads folks into this rat race mentality — I need more of this, I need to do this by this age, I should treat humans like they aren’t humans. Only to have them end up going, “wow, I just spent my entire life chasing paper. Wtf happened to my time?”

We weren’t meant to wake up every day, complete a set of tasks, then come home to eat and sleep, just to wake up again and complete another set of tasks. Money makes this scenario our existence. Pretty sure Satan was responsible for its creation.

3. I am lazy af

You’re probably thinking, oh I see Lynn, this is why you hate money. It’s because you are a lazy ass who refuses to work for it. This is correct. But, I still hate money for the above reasons.

4. Everyone else is lazy af 

People are so goddamn lazy when it comes to maintaining personal relationships.

A typical conversation:

Me: “Omg let’s hang out!”

Friend: “Yesss definitely!!!”

-sets up a date and time for hanging out-

Friend: “Sorryyy but I’m just not feeling it tonight. Another time?”

Not feeling it, my ass. I see you on Snapchat, finishing that bag of Hot Cheetos. Gurl, don’t even front. You just liked the shit of our mutual friend’s Facebook photo album. You could be eating Hot Cheetos, lime version with me but alas, putting on pants is proving to be too much of a physical activity.

I shouldn’t be too mean because the failure to put on pants is my life every day and I’m totally guilty of the above, but also that makes me a crappy person too. It goes both ways.

Worst/most common excuses:

“Sorry, dinner ran late.” Now I eat slow. It takes me like two hours to finish a bowl of pho. But you gotta be going real fucking slowly, like someone better be feeding you with a butter knife while blindfolded to justify preventing you from breathing and sitting on a couch with me.

“Not feeling well.” If I offered to buy the meal, would you then be feeling well?

“Rain check?” This is Southern California, hon. There is no water to be had.

Moral of the story: Be more lazy at work, less lazy with hanging out. Because Hot Cheetos with friends >>> $$$.

5. Stop worrying about the future

My one regret from my college years was spending way too much time worried about the future. And look where I am now — my 13 year old student went to audition to book an agent this weekend and I reflected on my mediocrity. I would never have predicted this. Or that I would somehow maintain my tolerance for beer.

So all you can do is better what you have now. Who knows? Maybe in ten years I will have picked up sous chefing and be the person who cracks the eggs at a sushi restaurant.

But I can’t tell. Cuz it’s the freakin’ future. USA! USA! USA!

6. It’s about the work, not you

It’s not about you, it’s not about your career. It’s about the good you do via your work.

I work with kids and often I’m like why am I putting up with children who have their own personal drivers and whose parents own an island while my career goes nowhere? And then I remember it’s not about ME ME ME all the time, so instead I focus on writing well and occasionally breaking children’s self-esteems (it’s okay, they need it, they’re from the OC. Trophies are given out on the reg).

7. Why do we keep oppressing the poor?

Speaking of work, I teach AP World History, and one of the things I noticed in re-learning and studying the rise and fall of empires is that the majority of empires fall because the poor fight en masse to protest egregious and suppressive laws. Oppress the poor, and you will be fucking toppled.

WHY HAVEN’T WE LEARNED ANYTHING FROM HISTORY?!

8.  American culture is absurd

I also teach AP US History.

We have so many stupidly absurd moments in our culture I’m surprised we’ve held it together for this long. For example, did you know that flagpole sitting was a thing in the 1920s? Like people used to climb to the top of flagpoles and see how long they could sit there.

People often remark “omg America is declining” and I’m like yo, at least we no longer think sitting on a vertical stick for months (yes, literal months) on end is entertaining. In fact, I remember reading about this guy who was trying to break the record for flagpole sitting and died when his pole was struck with lightning. This is the most tragic and most hilarious story of the Roaring Twenties.

9. There are rules to television

I thought I knew all there was to know about television because I watched so much of it. Turns out, I know nothing.

This is true for everything else in my life.

10. Ok, college was truly the best ever

I don’t want to turn into that person who looks back constantly reminiscing on the “Glory Days” but furreal, college was THE SHIT. The shit as in shits of gold. Like college was you as a Lannister shitting gold, and post-grad is just you and pure feces.

11. Vegas is probably the most real city in America

Since turning 21, I have been to Vegas five times now. It is truly awful.

I’ve written a longer post on Vegas that you can read here, but basically Vegas is the most unpretentious city in the nation. You know exactly what you’re getting when you go to Vegas, you know exactly why you’re going. It knows that it’s fake as shit and yet it doesn’t give a crap.

Vegas is a bad “Yo Mama” joke, like “I would buy and sell yo momma for ten cents” and you’re like “yes, that is fine. Just consume me already.”

12.  Cooking is basically just following instructions/what is make-up

I am proud to say that I have learned how to cook in post-grad. And no, it’s not “Hey guys, I can boil water now.”

I can actually make shit like pasta and soups and BBQ and boiled water. Cooking isn’t as hard as I thought it was. All it takes to be a good cook is just following directions.

Make-up, on the other hand, is like learning opera when you are a penguin. Make-up is drawing but backwards and also on your own face and also keeping in mind that somehow you need to comply by societal standards of beauty and hopefully someone will find you on fleek.

Last note: If you don’t know what contouring is, you should probably look that up. I just discovered contouring this year and I’m not sure if anyone is real anymore.

13. Bowling is so satisfying

I don’t think there is anything more that marks my post-grad transition to suburbia than my avid fandom of bowling.

I take back sushi chefing. Nay, if things go South, I will be the Big Lebowski.

14. Feelings are terrible

My love life is a joke that is constantly being cracked.

Basically, if possible, try not to have emotions.  I don’t mean become a robot, because even robots understand emotion.

Become a rock.

15. People like being touched

But despite the fact that my love life is a no flex zone, I have somehow figured out flirtations. I don’t know why I wasn’t better at flirting while I was in college because these newfound skills would have been much more useful when I could tell people “yes, you may walk to my house” instead of “HA my parents live here.”

Of course, not everyone likes being touched. But by-and-by, I have discovered that men go nuts when you touch them … on the elbow. I don’t know why. Maybe because the elbow is weirdly intimate. Maybe because his wenis reminds him of his penis.

Try it next time you are at a bar. Just be casually flirting with a dude and then reach over and lightly touch his elbow and then BAM drinks have been brought. Not even kidding.

Scratch Big Lebowski, I think I’ll go Carrie Bradshaw instead.

16. Everyone’s insecure and unsatisfied

I was recently told by someone at a party that “people from Orange County have so much existential angst.”

This is true, when you are mired in privilege, your thoughts are not primarily focused on healthcare insurance but instead “is there a Hell and am I going to it?”

Existential angst isn’t unique to Orange County though. Just about everyone in their twenties is drowning in existential crises. You’re not alone.

Which is why I keep pushing for Sobfella, goddamnit! All I want is to profit on people’s tears!

17. We create our own Hells

This I pulled this from Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman.” Hell is something we create and carry around in us.

I’ll leave it at that.

18. The scariest part is the approach

On the whole, people are generally friendly. Contrary to popular lore, most folks do not go about their days trying to exploit you into indentured servitude.

I used to HATE networking. And by networking I mean I showed up for the free cookies. But now it’s slightly more bearable because I figured out that the hardest part about these events is approaching people and their cliques. Once you Kanye West your way into the clique though, people are quite nice and willing to chat.

So have some wine and make the approach. You’ll be fine.

19. Family is about finding that balance

I live with my parents now and sometimes it’s like “dear Jesus please don’t ask me again what I’m doing with my life and why isn’t there a member of the male species who I interact with regularly on a romantic level” but then other times it’s like “thank you for providing shelter over my head and kindly taking in this wounded animal that is your offspring.”

Mostly I try to remind myself to stay grateful. That tends to help when they ask for the millionth time so how come you have so many boy friends but no boyfriend?

20. You are nothing without your friends

I’ve had so many incredibly supportive friends in the past year who’ve helped me get through purgatory. Without them, I would be a rotting piece of lard in someone’s parlor.

Friends are great for everything from pouring your soul out, to angsting, to making them read your mediocre work. I know for a fact that in ten years, when I’m still a struggling writer, I will be able to at the very least sleep under someone’s staircase.

Keep the good ones realll close. Reciprocate. #loyalty is the word of the year. Stay fiercely loyal. And then demand a job once they’ve made it.

21. Making other people happy is the shit

If, like me, you have a hard time breaking out of your own cycle of self-loathing and degeneracy, the best way to do so is by planning ways to make other people happy. It’s the best feeling in the world. Also, later, when you need to ask them whether the space under their staircase is available, you can whip out “remember that nice card I made for you once, and by card I mean a piece of paper on which I wrote ‘fuck you bitch’?”

#endsabruptlywithhashtag

I hope you have learned something insightful from this listicle. Listicles are meant to be Earth-shattering. If anything, you should now know that a wenis is.

 

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