23 random realizations by age 23


In case we’re not friends in real life or on Facebook, you may not have known my birthday was on April 5. I am now 23.

I happily accepted 23 with the same excitement I gave 21, 18 and 16. Though my good friend Mike, whose birthday was a week after mine, said he was rejecting 23 and will be “forever 21,” I always enjoyed getting older. I may not necessarily act any wiser or look any older than I did at 16, but I have learned a few things.

The following is a list of 23 things I’ve come to learn/understand better and/or realize over the years. They’re not in any particular order.

1.  Girls don’t like assholes. I hate when people say that we do, even if a lot of us have dated a few. Based on my experiences, all I can say about this is that most of the “asshole” guys that girls fall for are the kind of guys who act like the biggest sweethearts in the world when first dating. Then, after being together for a little while and after having sex, they show their true colors. Most girls hang on because we think that sweetheart at the beginning of the relationship will come out to play again.

2.  Not all guys are assholes.

3. CONFIDENCE is the most attractive thing. We miss out on too much when we’re self conscious. I’m not the most confident person in the world, I second and triple guess everything I post on this blog for example, but I’m trying! Optimism!!!

4. Don’t shit where you eat.  Let me just say I’m so glad I never dated anyone I worked with while still working at whatever place of business. I learned this by observing others. These relationships pretty much always ended badly, especially if you’re working at a place like Abercrombie & Fitch or a gym. By just being friends with people I worked with at the time I was still at these businesses, I made a lot of great friends that I still have today. Overall, the best relationships I made at work places were networking and best friends.

4. A. Great friends are really hard to come by. I feel very lucky to have the friends I have. 🙂

5.  Patience really is a virtue. I am not a patient person, but I especially learned the value of patience when I lost my keys a few weeks ago. I literally sat down on my chair in my room instead of rummages in places my keys definitely wouldn’t be and calmly thought about it. That helped me find my keys a lot faster. I looked at my closet and figured I probably threw them in there with my shoes by mistake the night before. Annddddd I did! I used the same technique when I was at the mall with a friend and realized I didn’t have my phone. I calmly continued shopping and retraced back to the store we were at first and found it.

6. My ma is right about everything!

7.  There will always be people at work, at home, etc. that won’t back you up or will be waiting to see you fail. This is when confidence wins again. I always felt that being confident and believing in myself to achieve my goals was always a better “f*** you” to nay-sayers than anything else.

8. Relationship hindsight: I’ve looked back on relationships and realized that there were definitely times that were my fault, not his. I’ve learned that when moving on to a new relationship, it’s not always about finding a “better guy,” it’s sometimes about being a better me in the new relationship.

9. Friends with benefits can’t exist with an ex. This was a trial and error that I realized, though it seemed like a good idea, was a bad idea. The only way a “friends with benefits” relationship could work, I think, would be if there is no chance of a legitimate relationship. And, both parties have to know they wouldn’t be jealous if one of them decided to go steady with someone else. With an ex, those emotions are bound to come back. Oops.

10. Relationships shouldn’t be “work” in the first few months. This statement has gotten me in a lot of trouble with exes who believe there is ALWAYS push and pull in relationships. I say no. If there is a lot of arguing and distrust in the beginning, it isn’t worth it. Nix what you can’t fix… and the earlier the better. I have tugged these “hard” relationships along and it makes you want to hate the person. That’s not right.

11.  Honesty is the best policy. I’m still working on this one. Overall I think I’m an honest person, but there was always one thing I had a hard time being honest about. When I’m out and a guy I’m definitely not interested in asks for my number (and I’m single), I have a hard time saying no. I’d lie and say I was in a relationship to avoid giving out my number, but sometimes they have that sneaky “oh I’m not trying to get with you like that” answer that makes you want to feel like a douchebag for assuming such things, even though you were right to assume such things. All of my friends have done this, we give out our number and when that guy texts or calls we ignore it. WHY!? Do we feel that bad saying no? I’m sure a guy would rather you be honest and just not give him your number at all then be blown off every time. Never again.

12. We ladies have to put ourselves on a pedestal. We deserve the world.

13. After graduating college and turning 23 (the age when I am officially cut off from my NAVY dad’s benefits) I am sadly realizing health insurance is very expensive. And so is pretty much everything else in life.

13. A. Money may not buy happiness, but it’s hard to smile when stressing about money issues.

13. B. There are three things that keep me sane when I’m stressed out: music, running, writing.

14. Facebook rules. Unfortunately, social networking sites are pretty much running everything. And no matter what people say when complaining about how intrusive and pointless Twitter is or how annoying it is when people abuse their Facebook status by writing in their mundane, irrelevant and boring daily tasks on it…the people complaining about it still has a FACEBOOK! I’ve told a friend who complains about annoying Facebook statuses to just delete his and he says “but it helps me keep in contact with friends.” So do cell phones. Face it, it’s annoying, but we as people are nosy and social and keep Facebook to stay in the loop. I can pretty honestly say that I seldom go on my Facebook. I don’t feel obsessed with it, I never had a “farm” nor have I made one for my dogs that I adore. But I love Facebook for one main reason: uploading photos. It’s like an internet scrapbook without having to deal with buying all those corny scrapbook materials. That is worth “liking.”

15. Think before speaking (especially when drunk). It’s a simple thought but it makes a huge difference. Especially for me, since I tend to be a little too extroverted.

16. I learned the importance of being open minded. In this day and age, I feel being closed minded about anything hurts the entire world. We are stunting ourselves from being more progressive by holding on to old ways of thinking. I wish we would stop worrying so much about how ethical gay marriage or abortion is and be more accepting to change as human beings. I don’t mean to get all “tree hugger” but I think this planet has bigger issues that everyone needs to worry about such as striving for world peace. You don’t have to be a Miss America contestant to want that.

17. I swear by Condoms (and the pill). I don’t care if having sex without one really feels that much better; I prefer to play it safe. I have seen too many friends my age become mothers to chance it. I’m way too selfish and fun to be a mother right now.

18. Texting and driving is bad. I’m sorry Oprah and mom but I still do it from time to time. But, I definitely know it is dangerous and have still over the years have done the accidental merge because I was texting and driving. I have been lucky so far to not get in an accident because of this and will strive harder to stop. Drinking and driving is worse. I’m sorry mom but I can’t say I haven’t done this in the past. A lot of us just get to that point where we feel that because we have that buzz, we’ll just be more cautious drivers and that way we won’t get in trouble for speeding, etc. My friend John got a DUI and I remember how much he regretted it, and how much of a pain in the ass it was for him to rely on his friends and mom to give him rides everywhere since his license was suspended. The consequences from texting/drinking and driving are ones we should learn from others but still do. I have been lucky with this one but won’t press that luck any further.

19. The importance of faith. When my mom and I were getting into a cab to head to the airport in New York recently, I was nervous about the flight home since the flight to New York had insane turbulence. I looked at the middle-aged latino hotel worker that was helping us load our suitcases into the trunk of the cab, and his name tag read “Jesus.” Call it coincidence if you want but I took it as a sign from God and it made me feel better for some reason. And that flight home was very smooth.  Then yesterday (April 12) I saw this:  http://www.khq.com/story/14428308/air-france-jet-clips-plane-at-jfk-airport. My mom and I were literally at that same airport and on a similar tiny Delta plane just two days before! Faith!


21. I believe in happy endings. Like the classic Neil Diamond song, I think happily ever after is real even though there are so many instances of divorce in this world. Maybe I’ll look back on this when I’m 40 and divorced from my third marriage and laugh at how naive this sounds, but as of now I think marriages can work. My best example is my Aunt Pattie and Uncle Pedro in Peru. Whenever I’ve been around them I could see that after all these years they still and will always genuinely love each other. I feel that love comes organically, naturally. I never thought much about marriage or having kids but over the years I started to think it’d be nice if it was with the right person.

21. A. I also believe happily ever after doesn’t necessarily have to mean marriage (contrary to what we learned from Disney Princess movies). It’d be nice to grow old with someone, but I think just being able to grow old would be a blessing, especially if you’re able to grow old doing what you love.

22. Pay attention to signs. This is something my mom used to always stress to me, especially when it came to men. As soon as there is any type of red flag, such as he says off the bat that he has commitment/trust issues or if I start noticing he can’t have a conversation without constantly looking at his cell phone, I run. I’ve tried ignoring these signs/red flags in the past…which of course lead to drama. So I try to pay closer attention.

23. No matter what people say, stick to the career path that makes you happy. I am sticking with journalism despite the fact that I wanted to punch a small child every time I saw a job opportunity for nursing or business or whatever other career I didn’t pursue. I might have a hard time finding a job, I might only make $30,000 a year, but I absolutely love journalism and how much of a pain in the ass it is.

4 Responses to “23 random realizations by age 23”
  1. great post, Vanesa! You are a wise woman

    • vsaid says:

      Thank you Bryoney!!! Takes one to know one 😉

      • John Ryan says:

        I completely agree with you Vanesa. A very insightful post with dead honesty. Keep on pursuing your passion for Journalism because it is what you love, and it is what you are amazing at.

  2. vsaid says:

    Thank you so much JR, that means a lot!!! 🙂

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