10 Lessons Every 28-year-old Learns

28 is the age where we learn to welcome the big three-oh while scrutinising the past 10 years.

Many of us are at the peak of our careers, some of us are somewhere into the next one and the rest of us have just started. But whatever path we’ve paved, all of us share the same level of wisdom. We are not as naive as we once were (hence the “scrutinising”), but we are definitely not the old, wise person we’ll soon become.

We are 28 – which is one up from 27 and yonks away from 29 – and these are the lessons we will learn this year:

Being selfish is sometimes necessary

While being selfish shouldn’t be among the top five things to do constantly, it also shouldn’t be one of the least five things to do, either. That’s because it’s sometimes necessary! Sometimes you need to cancel lunch or dinner with a friend in order to recuperate your thoughts; sometimes you need to quit your job, even if it means making your boss’s job harder – or your colleagues; and sometimes you need to cut that one friend out of your life. It sucks to do it, but that’s life.

Cooking at home is so much better

We know how easy it is to slip into a restaurant on the way home because you’re too buggered to cook, but it’s actually much better for you and your bank account. You can save money and it’s a good way of controlling your diet. It’s also not hard to get into. Buy cookbooks, browse the web, chat with mum or dad or even talk to your friends – there’s plenty of ways to find good recipes. A good tip from us: recipes should only be strictly adhered to if your baking; everything else can be experimental.

The ultimate surefire way to save money

Everyone has their ideas of how to save money: make a budget, buy a piggy bank, search the supermarket aisles for discounts (not to mention the drastic ways like using reusable toilet wipes and covering yourself in cornstarch to beat the heat). But they’re not for everyone. Unless you have children, a budget is just a waste of time and searching for discounts in supermarkets could lead to you buying more. So, here is the ultimate surefire way to save money: be as boring as possible. I know, it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. Do you really need to go out and party? Must you have the latest smartphone? Could you perhaps go for a 3-day cruise instead of a week? You can save so much money binge-watching your favourite show at home on a Friday night than going out for “one” drink with your workmates.

Having a great (and cheaper) night in. Image: Photographee.eu

Hookups aren’t all their cracked up to be

By the time you reach 28 years of age, you’ve more than likely had sex. Some of it is great, but most of it is just glorified copulating – unless you’re in love or married. For those of us who are single or dating, we suffice with the odd hookup. In our late teens and early twenties, we’ve put sex on a pedestal. If you’re getting some, you feel awesome. But, unless you find a passionate connection, you’ll feel nothing more than casual satisfaction afterwards. And while it doesn’t stop us from finding the next one-night-stand of after work quickie, we’re not so super-crazy about it as we once were. If we get some, we get some, and that’s better than going solo.

Acquaintances are just as important as friends

True friends are golden. They are there when we need them and we will do anything to see them happy. But what about our acquaintances? They are our next-door neighbours, random work colleagues who work in other departments and sometimes even the local homeless person. We may think they are not as worthy as our true friends, but they are worth just as much. Sometimes you can only see your true friends on a weekend, giving you ample time throughout the week to mingle with all the not-so-close people around you. They give our social levels a boast every time we interact with them. Even if it’s that lovely lady who always gets our soy-decaf-hazelnut latte just right as she tells us the latest local breaking news. True friends are there anytime you need them while acquaintances are just there, ready for interaction with a giddy smile.

You’ll most likely get it done in your 30s

We’ve all heard that saying: ‘If you don’t do by the time your 30, you’ll never do it’. Well, whoever said that needs to tip out their half-filled glass of water and fill it to the brim with lemon juice. If you really want to do it, you’ll surely get it done in your 30s! Haven’t been to Europe? Get it done in your 30s. Wanna backpack around Australia? Get it done in your 30s! Aching to learn how to say hello in 20 different languages? … Actually, you could probably do that now. Or even do it in your 30s! C’est ta vie!

Campers wandering. Image: Halfpoint

Our parents aren’t around forever

Sorry for bringing it to a sombre level after the pep talk just then, but I really have to say this: spend as much time with your parents as you can. Life is short, and your parent’s lives are shorter than yours. So take them on holidays while they are still able; call them up and share your wonderful life with them; send them pictures and videos of your wild accomplishments. We tend to spend our late teens and early 20s aching to move out – to feel independent and take control. Sometimes that means moving away from our parents, especially if you’re looking for a career in another town or city. It’s only around the age of 28 when we realise this harsh truth. So don’t waste time, call them now.

Winning at life requires work

Everyone looks at their favourite idols and wonders how they did it. How did they make it to where they are now? How do singers like Taylor Swift and Beyonce or authors like Stephen King and J. K. Rowling become masters of their craft? Well, it’s definitely not from lounging in front of the TV eating pizza. If you really want to succeed in whatever you’re doing – whether it be singing, writing, acting, or even accounting – then you have to do the hard yards. You have to turn off the television and take action on things that will lead you towards success. We’re not saying cast away all your downtime, but it should be less than your uptime if you want to really win at life.

Failing is better than avoiding

As the great Madame Leota said in The Haunted Mansion (2003): “You try. You fail. You try. You fail. But the only true failure is when you stop trying.” And ain’t that the truth. But giving up means you tried, and sometimes giving up is better than persisting – especially if persisting means jeopardising your health or landing you in a lawsuit. The key word here is “try”. Don’t put off something just because you’re worried about losing or falling short. Just try. If you can do it now, then do it – and if it may take a bit of preparation, do it in your 30s! And if you failed, be thankful that you tried.

If you don’t know what to do, do everything

We’ve purposefully left this till last because it’s the ultimate lesson to learn at 28 years of age. We will always seek the next best thing, but sometimes we don’t know what that is. Whether it be finding a new career, a new hobby or a new bar to dance at, this motto rings true. Do it all, and you’ll soon find out what you want to do. It may take you to a few dead ends, but it’s so much better than sitting in front of the TV.

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