“Grow up, Sabina.” More often than not, this is the response my antics earn me from a handful of people in my life. “You can’t keep acting like a kid now that you’re in your twenties. You’re an adult, start acting like it.”
Now, you know I tend to act silly most of the time. Take this week for instance – do you think I have not a) drunkenly obliged when a fellow blogger challenged me to tweet a photo of our fake engagement, b) spent more than £20 at a ramen restaurant or c) done a proper grocery shop or my laundry. Yeah – c) is correct. “Grow up!” I get it… But also, I don’t. If you are as confused as I am, sit back – this post of over 7,500 words (they’re easy words and I repeat some of them, stop searching for that dictionary) should solve that confusion once and for all, teaching you all the best things to do instead of growing up.
Growing up, as it is usually explained to me, sounds pretty boring! As an adult, I am expected to be mature and responsible. People tell me I have to keep my life tidy, from my room to my diet and bank account. I need a steady income, a nice place to call my home and a stable relationship.
For a long time I cared about pleasing all those who unsubtly pushed me toward adult behaviour. Moving to university at the tender age of seventeen, my main objective was getting a first class degree in political science – everything else would come naturally afterwards. Or so I thought at the time. It took me less than a few weeks to realise that there was a lot more to the college experience than burying yourself underneath an avalanche of manuscripts.
It wasn’t just the parties – although I’ll be the first to admit they were a big part of it! – but also all the other incredible things I experienced outside of class which made me doubt the merits of acting like an adult. It is no coincidence that not a single one of my fondest memories begins with the words: “I sat down to write a research paper and then…” Being responsible might increase your chances of succeeding in life – but only if you believe success is defined by the things I outlined above like a steady income, a nice place or a stable relationship.
Half a year into my first year of university, I wrote a short article about adulthood. I remember writing it, not truly understanding where the words were coming from but truly believing in its overall message. Looking back now, I am finally beginning to understand what they all meant…
I’m insane. I realised it the other day whilst looking in the mirror, after getting back home from a very late night out. Hair a mess, makeup smudged, probably smelling of cheap vodka and cigarette smoke – suddenly it hit me. “I’m an adult now,” I thought. It’s time for me to make intelligent, informed decisions. It’s time for me to grow up and be mature. I turned away from the mirror, about to mentally beat myself up for staying up until the morning… for the third night in a row… But then I asked myself: what does it really mean to be an adult? What do I need to do not to feel like a complete failure at this whole grown-up thing?
Look – I’m eighteen, I don’t know how to whistle and horror movies still scare me shitless. I find it difficult to cook dinner for myself, not to mention wash my underwear or do healthy things like… um… moving? But don’t be misled and think I haven’t tried to be an adult. Ever since coming to university, I’ve been convincing myself that growing up is the way forward & something I need to do. I set out to join the gym, eat healthy, do my work on time, budget well and keep my room neat. Needless to say, none of those things actually happened. The gym membership was too expensive, eating healthy too time-consuming, I had too much work, not enough money, and no place to store the wardrobe rapidly growing on my floor. The only things I did have – and still do to this day – were excuses and bad feelings. But those negative emotions were not caused by a poor diet or lack of exercise, but rather my realisation that I was not fulfilling the standard adult role. And not meeting the socially constructed criteria for adulthood made me feel nothing but inferior to others.
But then I backed up for a second, and tried to recall the things I have done since I’ve become an “adult”. Aside from getting ridiculously drunk at parties and spending a little too much money on things I don’t need, I stayed up all night talking to a friend about her family problems. I took a walk in the middle of a rainy night and laughed at myself out loud when I slipped on the pavement and skinned my knee. I went on a charity hitchhike across Europe with no money. I told a guy how I felt about him. I signed up for capoeira lessons. I burnt my fingers on a hot stove and had to walk around with a cup of ice water for the rest of the night because it felt like the skin was going to melt right off them.
Some of the things I did were great, some plain stupid. But one thing is for sure – I did not do them to be an adult, I did them to be me. None of these actions were influenced by how I think others would want me to behave. Sure enough, often they were not even based on a coherent thought process, they just happened. They all had consequences, both good and bad. But the one thing I can tell you is this – as immature as my approach towards grown-up responsibilities may be, I often feel genuinely happy. And that is more than I can say for many “real” adults.
Of course, I’m not saying being responsible will make you sad. But nor will it, based on my experience, make you happy, as some people suspect. If you push yourself to be spontaneous and do things outside your comfort zone, or just things society might generally consider “weird” or “eccentric”, that’s when you will discover that the real happiness lies in the present. Sometimes you should allow yourself to spend the whole night reading your favourite book and eating ice cream, even though you know it will result in you being sleepy at work the next day. Because putting off the things you wanna do oftentimes means that you will simply never get around to doing them.
So yes, I’m insane for not living my life more responsibly. Bat shit crazy, if you will. But so are you if you always do.Insanity: The Things You Can Learn From A Drunken University Fresher
As unlikely as it sounds, I agree with my eighteen-year-old self. Why should we grow up? The same people who so adamantly insist I become an adult seem to have a hard time answering that question. “You should grow up because you can’t be a child forever!” But why? No matter how hard I try, the only argument in favour of acting like an “adult” is that it is what everyone else seems to be doing. Well, that’s not good enough for me – and it shouldn’t be for you, either.
I think growing up is a trap. I understand why the world wants us to be sensible and tame, and responsible and lame. I can see how masses of stressed office dwellers are easier to control than a world of emotional free spirits. But as far as I know, I only have one life and I refuse to limit myself in order to fit someone’s blueprint of what a grown human being should behave like.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not advocating recklessness or complete abandonment of social norms. This revolution does not require street marches and drawn out manifestos. The only thing you need to do is be yourself – not in the privacy of your home, but every single second of your life. It is just as terrifying as it sounds, but more rewarding than anything you will have ever done before!
Will you join me on my fight against routine and conformity? Please do – here is a list of one hundred and one things to do instead of growing up, just to get you started. Most of them are tiny acts of rebellion, with a few life-altering changes thrown in for good measure. Some of these will appeal to you, while others will feel completely irrelevant – that’s the beauty of being completely, unabashedly yourself.
1. Take loads of dumb photos. Yes, even selfies. “Pic or it didn’t happen.” That is one of the mottos of the internet age and, for better or for worse, I believe we should all embrace it. What is now a blurry snap will become a nostalgic memory only a few years down the road! Many people hold that selfies are a manifestation of all that is wrong with the millennials – self-indulgent, fake and a complete waste of time. And while I agree to an extent, I think snapping a quick photo of yourself when you are feeling happy and beautiful is always a good idea.
2. Dance like crazy… while sober. Do you remember those high school parties where everyone was afraid of going to the dance floor first for fear of embarrassment? When I look around me at the club, I see the same fear in everyone’s eyes – only this time, there’s a vodka in their hand which makes the situation a little bearable. Well, I say screw it! Get your shimmy on and pay no heed to the haters.
3. Sing in the shower. In the shower. At a karaoke bar. At a non-karaoke bar. Sing, as beautifully or poorly as only you can. Sing like nobody is listening, because they probably aren’t – and if they are, they all wish they were singing along.
4. Binge watch all the seasons of your favourite TV show or have a movie marathon. Sometimes I feel like we are the Netflix generation, spending countless hours in front of our laptop screens. In theory I think it’s awful. But in practice I find holing myself up in my room and letting fictitious characters entertain me for hours on end strangely relaxing. Set a day aside, crawl into bed and watch an entire season of something. My recommendations? The Bachelorette or Real Housewives for some guilty pleasure reality TV, Parks and Recreation for light-hearted fun, House of Cards for some serious drama and Game of Thrones… anytime.
5. Go on an all-carb diet for a week. Recreate something delightfully repulsive from Epic Meal Times. Don’t count the calories. Don’t cry in the shower while clutching your stomach afterwards. Just enjoy the pure indulgence. Do switch back to eating like a human after a while though, otherwise you will soon be reduced to a sluggish puddle of body fat.
6. Make ordinary objects around you beautiful. Creative fiend Tiffany Pratt describes the world as a blank canvas. Her motto, “this can be beautiful”, is a lovely reminder that even the most mundane of objects can make us smile. Why trap yourself between four white walls when you can cover them with maps, chalkboards, photos and colours? Why drink from a grey coffee mug when you can buy one which makes you smile every time you look at it? Reclaim your life and make the ordinary extraordinary!
7. Have a slumber party. I clearly remember all the slumber parties I had as a kid – sharing secrets, giggling, philosophising and talking about the future. Now imagine all that… plus wine! How is that not a grown-up way to recharge your batteries and reconnect with your friends?
8. Cover yourself in glitter. Apparently glitter is for children only, which might explain my affinity of it – as you no doubt understood by now I have little desire to become a full-fledged adult. It’s sparkly, it’s fabulous and it’s fun. I can’t believe I’m saying this but do as Ke$ha does and add a little glitter to your life for an instant pick-me-up.
9. Write in your diary every day. Adults are busy people, but you should never be too busy to reflect on each day and learn from your actions. It’s too easy to get caught up in an avalanche of work – before you know it, you might find yourself living the life of a boring stranger. Sitting down with your journal and pouring your heart out for a few minutes every day will keep your life on track.
10. Stay out all night, then watch the sunrise. Forgetting that nights are for sleeping may not be the most responsible thing to do, but all of your regret will melt away as the first soft rays colour the world around you pink. Those rare quiet moments are the perfect occasion to look at the world from a different perspective and reevaluate your long-term plans.
11. Go on seven dates in one week. You get extra points if a few of them are people you’d normally pass up on. Whether they be older, younger, shorter, taller, chubbier, skinnier or a different gender then you normally prefer – if you are feeling it in the moment, just let it happen.
12. Tinder. Just do it. I’ll be the first to say it – it’s hard to find attractive eligible bachelors nowadays, especially if you live in a big city like London. So in order to get those seven dates, you might have to be a little resourceful – and Tinder is the perfect place to start. There’s a reason why I included it on my list of ten free apps you should not travel without!
13. Pretend to be somebody else for a night. Fun fact: When I was a child, I liked to change my name on an hourly basis. “Hi Sabina, how are you?” a neighbour would ask. I’d look around, feigning confusion and tell them they had the wrong person – my name was Adrianne. The next day, thinking they’d outsmarted me, they would call me Adrianne. I’d just shrug and make up a new name, et cetera ad nauseam. What I’m trying to illustrate here is – pretending to be somebody else for a day is fun. Fine, so I will never be a doctor or a professional dancer… But that poor man at the bar doesn’t know that! Do use this with caution though – the last thing you want is to meet someone you really like and then have to explain that everything you told them last night was a lie. I’ve been there, not fun.
14. Talk to a stranger. People are amazing! Strike up conversation with a stranger, offer an elderly gentleman a helping hand or hold the door on the bus for the person frantically trying to catch it. Seriously, talk to a stranger – just don’t do it on the London tube, unless you want to be poisoned by the evil glares that will ensue.
15. Dye your hair a new shade. The bad news is that adults are expected to have reasonably coloured hair. The good news is that you are not a regular adult – you’re a cool adult. *high fives self for clever Mean Girls pun* If you want cotton candy tresses, go out and get them.
16. Wear a signature accessory and scent. Whether it be a bright fascinator, a cigarette holder or cat eye glasses, find a funky accessory that just screams you and wear it all the time. The same goes for that one incredible perfume you just can’t get enough of. Make those two things your personal trademark.
17. Live in a treehouse. Which child did not dream of having their own treehouse – the perfect place to escape, a small kingdom where imagination reigns supreme? Treehouses may not be the most practical of lodgings, but there is a big number of hotels that will let you get away for a limited period of time. Bring a book and let nature embrace you.
18. Have a bonfire. Whether you choose to do it on the beach or a little clearing in the middle of the forest, having a bonfire is always fun. Bring a guitar, marshmallows and a great group of people – that’s all you need. Just make sure you don’t set anything on fire and, if you do, please don’t tell them I sent you…
19. Drunk text your crush and cry about it. There’s a certain beauty in making poor decisions and feeling really sorry for yourself straight afterward. Don’t make this a regular occurrence, but I think everyone should experience the excruciating pain of doing something harmless yet extremely dumb. It’s like a rite of passage and a great thing to bond over with your friends.
20. Chat up an attractive stranger you think is “out of your league”. As adults, we are supposed to be reasonable and pragmatic. Well, what’s the fun in that? Rejection sucks, but regret is far worse. Instead of thinking “what if” a few months from now, go over to that dream of a person and ask for their number!
21. Film yourself lip-syncing and dancing to your favourite song. Ideally you should do this while you’re alone in the house, dressed in a stupid hoodie, wearing no makeup and drinking wine. Rewatch the inevitable ensuing train wreck whenever you feel down in the future and laugh at your own folly.
22. Throw a disgusting potluck party. Adults throw dinner parties – adults who refuse to grow up throw dinner parties with awful food and cheesy music. Scrap that fancy three course menu and serve your guests something truly revolting. For some inspiration, check out these gross recipes from the 50s.
23. Pay someone to clean your apartment. This is probably not a viable long-term option for most of us. But instead of cleaning up after your house party guests, why not hire a specialist to deal with the mess? Time is money and there are one hundred things on this list more fun than cleaning up.
24. Don’t bother buying a house. Plant a tree, buy a house, have a son. In many countries, especially in Eastern Europe, those are the three requisites for being a successful adult. I certainly won’t stop you from planting trees and making this planet more habitable, but buying a house is a huge commitment and it will tie you down in one place for a long time – possibly forever. Think very carefully before you decide to sign those papers.
25. Stop worrying about being single. Singledom does not hinder you from enjoying life – in some ways it actually does the opposite. We no longer live in an age where unmarried twenty or even thirty-somethings get written off as failures, so embrace that and feel no pressure to settle down. Unless that’s something you want to do, of course!
26. Fall head over heels with a person your grandmother would not approve of. As long as they are nice and respectful to you, that is. A tattooed bad boy on a motorcycle is a-okay, a self-entitled sexist with a bad temper is not.
27. Move back in with your parents. There’s no shame in living with mom and dad, as long as they are alright with it. By saving on rent, you will have a lot more money to spend on things that truly matter – like saving enough dough for a trip around the world.
28. Get a job in the creative sector. Many incredibly talented people shy away from creative jobs, because they perceive them as less stable and less real than other types of employment. If you are artsy and believe photography, painting, singing or writing to be your calling, then don’t let anyone stop you from pursuing that.
29. Start working online. If you want to take your employment rebellion one step further, don’t just take up work in an unusual field – do it online. Travel blogging is a great example of an extremely misunderstood job. “So, you have this website. That’s great. When will you get a real job though?” Baby, don’t hurt me.
30. Name everyday objects. I once had a potted plant named Marla and, as weird as this sounds, it made me really happy whenever I came home. I have a strange obsession with names and personifying my belonging fills me with a strange sense of comfort. Speaking of which, I recently got a new laptop and am open to hearing your name suggestions.
31. Write a poem about your potted plant. Now that they have a name, they deserve a little love. Get your creative juices flowing by serenading your pillow or writing a haiku about the bananas on your counter. My friend Becky and I did the latter. Here is the finished product: “Life has passed me by, now my bananas are brown, I should eat them now.” It’s stupid, but I will never look at bananas the same way again.
32. Sell half your stuff. You should probably do this before naming all your things, because that would make saying goodbye unnecessarily hard. Either way – getting rid of your stuff is a good way to simplify your life, get rid of clutter and put some more money into your savings account.
33. Decide to only own a specific number things. If you want to make your spending cut into a fun challenge, set yourself a limit on how many things you can own at any given time. The Minimalists’ have written a handy guide to downsizing your life – check it out!
34. Stop looking in the mirror. I was really inspired when I read Kjerstin Gruys’s story of how she went a year without looking in the mirror in order to improve her self-confidence and stop herself from hating her body. I’m far too vain to pull it off just yet, but it sounds like an amazing and very liberating project.
35. Flirt with yourself in the mirror. I know, I know – I’m giving you really mixed advice here. First no mirrors and now… this. But if you don’t find yourself attractive, why should others? Learn to accept your body by learning every fold and mark by heart – and accepting them as they are. Tell yourself you look great. Wink. Don’t wink too much though.
36. Perform in front of a large crowd. You can start a band, do standup comedy or be in a dance troupe. You can opt for a spoken word performance, a knitting workshop or an air sex championship. Whatever you choose to do, getting up on stage and sharing your talent with the audience is terrifying and immensely rewarding. It is not for everyone, but you won’t know if it’s for you until you’ve tried it!
37. Get a tattoo. It’s a small act of rebellion, as well as a way of claiming your body as your own territory. Don’t get a tattoo just because it is trendy – opt for something timeless that means a lot to you. Choose a design that will make you smile each time you see it.
38. Have a staring contest with a stranger and freak them the hell out. This one is a little cruel, but I think watching people squirm is really fun. Staring at someone and waiting for them to look away first can make you feel like you own the world – which is not a shabby reward for some prolonged eye contact.
39. Laugh on public transport. Laugh harder when people stare. Hahahaha. Stop looking at me. I’m just living life and having a great time doing it.
40. Be unabashedly yourself. I have said this before, but I feel like it bears repeating. There is no greater act of rebellion in contemporary society than being unabashedly yourself. Despite pushing the idea of individualisation, we are not as free to be ourselves in this world as we are led to believe – not without a lot of judgment, anyway. But haters gonna hate, so embrace yourself and all the weirdness within you… and let it all shine through!
41. Compile a bucket list and tick one item off every month. If you need any inspiration check out my bucket list – but only include the things you genuinely care about on yours.
42. Walk everywhere. Adults often complain that they have no time for reflection. Well, what if instead of taking the bus you took a walk? It will take a little longer, but with a good tune playing in your headphones you will be able to not only get to your destination but also to think about your life and ponder its meaning. Plus think of all the money you will save and the way your calves will once they’re all firm and toned!
43. Ditch the small talk. Instead of repeating the same old charade over and over, ask people insightful questions. The next time you meet someone new, steer the conversation away from the weather and toward exciting topics like… travel. You will definitely find out some interesting facts about them and you’re far more likely to bond that way.
44. Have a boozy brunch. Day drinking used to be something of a grey area – is it socially acceptable? Is it not? Now that brunches are totally a thing, having a mimosa with breakfast could not be less frowned upon. So indulge, you responsible adult you.
45. Don’t dismiss your wildest dreams. Many of us have a tendency to write our dreams off as unrealistic. Well, if that’s your approach that’s what they will always be – dreams. I’ll just leave this quote by T. E. Lawrence here: “All men [and women!] dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
46. Actively try not to fit in. I hope you like quotes, because I have another one for you. “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” (Ian Wallace) It’s true! Boring stuffy adults may prefer conformity, but what’s the fun in that? Live your own truth, according to your own rules.
47. Make a really strange purchase at the grocery store. Buy a fake beard, candy and duct tape. Buy two bananas, hand cream and tissues. Make intense eye contact at checkout. Run if you hear police car sirens.
48. Dress up as if you had teleported from another decade. Not for a second would I want to be a woman in the 5os, but those bouncy curls and red pouts make me swoon. Who says you can’t look like a Mad Men-esque housewife and be a modern day feminist?
49. Stop assuming people in positions of authority are somehow better than you. Just because someone is older than you or outranks you, you should not consider them superior in either skill or character. Looking back, I see that some of my teachers were power tripping weirdos and I really wish I could have recognised that as a child. Now I don’t let people talk to me, just because they feel like I am their inferior.
50. Sleep with a new love interest in broad daylight. So, you’ve just begun dating someone new. Is your first instinct to turn the lights off when you get into bed? Stop right there. The person next to you is probably ecstatic that someone as fabulous as you is in their life and they will never notice your chubby thighs. And if they do? They’ll think those are the cutest chubby thighs on the planet.
51. Smile at strangers. I know I advocated creeping people out with your intense stares earlier, but that is a silly self-preservation technique you should only resort to when you are feeling bluer than a shot of Curaçao. At all other times, don’t stop yourself from smiling (in a non-creepy way, if at all possible) when you’re happy. Happiness is contagious.
52. Construct an elaborate prank and film it. I never prank people but I think I should start – I might be an awful person, but what are friends for if not to be made fun of? Do buy them a big chocolate afterward and apologise profusely though. And don’t be too mean.
53. Ditch gender roles. Get a job typically associated with the opposite gender – be a male secretary or a female nurse, if that’s something you want to do. Divide housework equally between yourself and your partner. Stop referring to things as “feminine” and “masculine”. Being a slave to gender roles does not make you an adult, it makes you a slave to an oppressive system.
54. Openly talk about serious problems and your mental health. I have already shared the story of my depression with thousands of readers on this site and I will definitely not shy away from discussing other big issues with you all in the future. Starting a discussion about our problems helps remove the stigma many illnesses still carry and your voice might just give someone the courage to tackle their problems. Being an adult should mean being brave, not being ashamed of your issues and keeping them secret.
55. Stop keeping up with the Joneses. And the Kardashians. Pay no heed to what others are doing. Live your life according to your rules – use the precious time you have been given on this planet to fulfil your desires, not to fulfil others’ expectations.
56. Sleep in until noon. Then snooze the alarm and keep sleeping. In the past few years, perpetual tiredness has become cool. “I only sleep four hours every night,” I’ve had people tell me while beaming with pride. We all have twenty four hours in a day – it’s up to you how you ration those, but if twenty of them are spent working you are probably doing yourself a disservice. Every now and then, take the time out to relax and do nothing.
57. Go to loads of concerts. Gigs are not just for teenagers! Seeing your favourite musician perform live is an experience like no other and one that will last you a lifetime. It also pays to visit alternative venues and discover new bands – if might become huge you will totally have the right to brag about seeing them first.
58. Make friends of a completely different background. Most people have a tendency to become close with people from the same background. It makes sense – after all, most of us tend to mainly be surrounded by people of our own social class or ethnic group on a day-to-day basis. Travel enables you to transcend those barriers and get to know those with vastly different lifestyles. Your new friends might just change the way you view the world!
59. Give honest answers to all your friends’ questions. If your friend is chasing after someone who is just not that into them, don’t be afraid to tell them. You might hurt their feelings a little, but isn’t that better than their crush breaking their heart? The same goes for most things – in a true friendship there is no space for sugarcoating.
60. Buy a ridiculous and completely impractical piece of clothing. Buy that silly tutu skirt, because its colour makes your eyes sparkle like diamonds. Splurge on that studded leotard, the mere sight of which will make your pace quicken. Life is too short to be spent wearing boring clothes! This should be a rare treat, however – don’t make a habit of overspending on material goods.
61. Blow half your savings on a flight overseas. No matter how hard businesses try to convince you otherwise, money can’t buy you happiness. But it can buy you a trip to a new exciting place, which is pretty much the same thing. Investing in experiences allows you to live your life for the fullest, which is what we all should be striving for.
62. But stop relying on retail therapy! I know the last two points were in favour of buying things, but bear with me. Unless you are investing in an incredible experience or an item of magnificent beauty, your money would likely be better off quietly resting in your bank account. Save all those pennies for life-changing trips and bucket list journeys instead.
63. Stop maxing out your credit cards. Like I just said, money can’t buy you happiness. Debt, on the other hand, can most definitely afford you unhappiness. So before you buy that designer sofa on credit, think twice – and after you’ve thought twice, head back home and hug your shabby IKEA couch apologetically.
64. Make a conscious effort to keep making new friends. Instead of making new friends many adults build a network of acquaintances and colleagues around whom they feel semi-comfortable at best. You can make friends anywhere, no matter how young or old you are – you just have to be open to the idea.
65. Hang out with your friends all the time. No matter how many amazing friends you make, you should never ever forget your existing friendships. The people who have been with you through thick and thin deserve your love and attention more than anyone. Adulthood tends to keep us busy, but you should never be too busy to grab a coffee with your loved ones.
66. Stop doing things just because you feel like you should. Learn how to say no. Doing so does not make you selfish or impolite – it just shows that you have priorities and value your own time.
67. Know what you want in bed and ask for it. Don’t bashfully bat your eyelashes and expect your partner to know what you like. Be upfront and you will be rewarded with many a joyous night.
68. Flirt with everyone. Oh, how you doin’? 😉 Flirtatiousness is often misconstrued as promiscuity, but in my opinion it’s nothing but a little innocent fun. Whether it be a little prolonged eye contact with that cute guy on the bus or a cheeky comment to a friend, those moments brighten up everyone’s day. There’s a fine line between being flirtatious and creepy of course – luckily (if somewhat unfairly) as a 5″3 girl I can get away with a lot, but if you’re a large muscular man you might have to tone it down a notch.
69. Make juvenile sex jokes. 69, hahaha.
70. Attend events completely overdressed and feel like a rockstar. I sneer at dress codes – to me “casual” usually means a leopard print coat, red lipstick and high-heeled boots. The better I look, the better I feel which is why I refuse to let shabby clothes hold me back.
71. Wear a costume outside of Halloween. Aside from being perpetually overdressed, I also love playing dress up – you can read about how I hitchhiked around Europe dressed as a nun and pretended to be a zombie for a day on this site if you don’t believe me. Make-believe makes life a little more fun – why not make a mundane day feel a little more special?
72. Rebel against a stupid societal expectation just for the sake of it. I’m not saying you should become a rebel without a cause – you should become a rebel with a cause! How about crushing the patriarchy by refusing to sit in the corner while the men speak? Or what about wearing a skirt although you’re a man? Give the status quo the middle finger every now and then.
72. Join a protest for a cause you are passionate about. You can also take your rebellion a step further by actively joining a street rally, fighting for a cause of your choice. Get out there and make a difference!
74. Stop defining yourself by your job title. No, you are not a data analyst – you are a bright little spark with the power to change the world. You aren’t a lawyer – you are an amazing friend and a passionate human rights defender. You are so much more than your job or the contents of your bank account.
75. Make fun of yourself, but don’t put yourself down. There is a big difference between being able to laugh at your own mistakes and actively making yourself look bad in the eyes of others. If you don’t want others to make you feel small, why do the same thing to yourself? Be confident and never put yourself above anyone or below anyone.
76. Stand up straight, speak up and make others aware of your presence. I recently wrote an article detailing how to be the main character of your own life and this is one of my main tips: “As the protagonist in the story of your life, you do not need permission to speak – you are the reason everyone showed up the watch the film!” So take those words to heart and start living by them.
77. Don’t give up on magic. You may not be able to make things levitate with the power of you mind, but you definitely have the power to make people weak in the knees with a single glance. You probably can’t shape-shift, but I guarantee that with your laughter and kindness you are capable of changing lives. Magic likes to hide in routine everyday situations – keep your eyes peeled and you will soon start noticing it all around you!
78. Express your love and gratitude to those whom you love. Sometimes it is easy to take the ones you love for granted, but every now and then you should set some time aside to remind them what they mean to you. It takes as little as picking up the phone and sending you mom a heart emoji or telling your friend that he or she is a beautiful precious gem of a unicorn. Feel free to rephrase that compliment – not everyone’s friends are as strange as mine.
79. Cry whenever and wherever you can. Few things are more frustrating than not being able to have a good cry. As an adult you are supposed to be cool, calm and collected at all times… but holding all those negative emotions within you will do a number on your mental health. Every now and then, blast a sad tune into your headphones and let it all out!
80. Stop worrying about what other people will think. They’re probably not paying attention anyway – everyone is too busy worrying what you will think about them.
81. Fuck it – swear if you feel like it! Swearing is often dismissed as unladylike which – well, it is. That’s what makes it so great! Studies have shown that people who swear a lot tend to be more honest and loyal, so how bad could it really be?
82. Instead of donating to a charity, do some hands-on volunteering. I’m not saying you shouldn’t contribute to charity – but helping out in person is a lot more rewarding and will have a more lasting impact on you than clicking a “donate” button.
83. Ditch the makeup… or pile it on. If the idea of spending hours perfecting your winged eyeliner skills makes you break out in sweat, don’t let the office dress code pressure you into becoming a 50s vixen. Likewise, if going bare faced gives you nightmares don’t feel like you have to ditch your mascara just because you are on a hike. I’ve worn bright pink lipstick on the beach and the world still has not gone up in flames!
84. Ignore your age. Travel blogging has taught me the rather unexpected lesson that age is just a number. The blogosphere is full of incredible people and guessing how old they are is not only impossible, but also completely pointless.
85. Start a blog and share your life with the world. “Who cares about what I have to say?” you might think. Well, I thought the same thing when I launched this website… Yet here you are, reading this!
86. Choose the path less travelled, the road not taken. Take this as metaphorically or literally as you’d like. Everyone’s journey is unique, so why not embrace it and take the windy scenic route instead of the congested highway?
87. Try every flavour jelly bean you can get your hands on. Jelly beans are delicious and the ideal snack for a commitment phobe like me – every single one tastes different! A box of these is an explorer’s paradise.
88. Create a lover map. This is exactly what it sounds like – you print out a blank map and colour in the countries your past lovers hail from. This is a really fun thing to do with your friends, in a judgment-free environment. Never feel like your number is too high or too low – embrace your sexuality and don’t let anyone shame you for your choices.
89. Keep trying new foods, especially the ones that freak you out. Having eaten a whole snake at a night market in China, I now consider myself something of a strange food connoisseur. Trying new foods, pushing your boundaries and expanding your palate is incredibly fun and it helps you explore the way others live. The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach and the path to understanding another culture is over a plate of food!
90. Put on glamorous makeup, a ball gown and then eat ice cream and watch YouTube videos all day. Seriously – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
91. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. Succumbing to peer pressure sounds like a pretty childish thing to do, but adults are just as prone to it as their teenage selves. Peer pressure becomes more insidious as we age – it’s no longer a beer, but an entire lifestyle we are pressured into. “Oh, you’re not applying for a job after you graduate?” Some people are horrified when I tell them I plan to pursue writing full time once I get my degree. “No offence, but that sounds like a bad plan. Are you sure you don’t want to get a job, just in case?” I know they mean well, but this peer pressure is as unnecessary as it is insulting. Despite not acting like one in the traditional sense, I am an adult and I am capable of making my own decisions… and so are you!
92. Construct an elaborate alter ego, preferably a superhero. If you could live your life in any way you want, how would you live it? If you had superpowers, what would they be? How would you use them? Sit down with a warm cup of tea and jot down everything you know about that other, mysterious you hiding underneath a cape of normalcy.
93. Take parts of that alter ego and make them into reality. Now that you know your superhero self a little better, bring a part of it into your everyday life. Would you be a sleek crime-fighting martial artist? Sign up for kung fu lessons! Is your alter ego an undercover protector of animal rights? Volunteer at your local animal shelter! Superheroes just look like ordinary humans in the light of day after all.
94. Don’t pretend you know everything or that you are always right. There is a lot of strength in vulnerability and allowing others to see that you are not perfect will make you rise in their estimation.
95. Push up your embarrassment threshold. Failure is not scary – it’s embarrassing. Many adults feel that way, which is exactly why many adults are stuck in boring 9-5 (try 8-6!) jobs they despise. But we perpetual dreamers should move past that fear and put ourselves out there, open to both success and failure. The former will take a lot longer to arrive, but when it does you will be able to look back and smile, knowing you worked really hard to get to where you are. After all, if a dream doesn’t scare you it probably isn’t big enough.
96. Understand that being responsible doesn’t mean being boring. As I said earlier, refusing to grow up does not mean shunning all responsibility. It does mean having fun and not taking life too seriously though – so stop feeling like you are too old for things. Keep paying your bills, but don’t forget to dance when you want to dance and laugh when you want to laugh!
97. Redefine your idea of success. Success can be defined in two simple ways. On the one hand, the it means the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status. That is the way in which the word is usually used nowadays – we all want to be rich, famous and live like rockstars. But success also means the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. There are many purposes we can have in life and the vast majority of them are far more worthwhile than living in an office and trading that precious time for material objects.
98. Travel the world. I would devote a paragraph to explaining why you should, but this entire website is my way of convincing you to explore this incredible planet we live on. Go ahead, click on any other post and see for yourself.
99. Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life, especially not a list on the internet. Nobody can tell you how to be you – that change has to come from within. Hopefully the hundred suggestions gave you some inspiration, but if not don’t despair and try to come up with a few of your own. I, for one, would love to hear them.
What do you think about this list? What are the best things to do instead of growing up, in your opinion? Or should we all – me especially, perhaps – concentrate on becoming responsible adults?