They say that age is just a number. And it is. Just a number. A number that’s directly representative of how much time you’ve spent on the Earth and suggestive of how much time you’ll have before you cark it.
In a few days’ time I will be 24. This is a scary age for me because I haven’t yet produced a hilarious off-Broadway hit that lands me in an Office-esque writer’s room (Mindy Kaling at 24), made a Sundance-acclaimed mockumentary romcom playing a fictionalised version of myself alongside Michael Cera (Charlyne Yi at 24), or shot to international stardom and pissed off a Grazia editor by wearing a giant bow on my head at a Dior Couture show (Tavi Gevinson at 13)…so of course it’s time to stress.
That said, with each passing year there is an accumulated wisdom that assures me that my almost-quarter-century hasn’t been wasted. Some of the Rules of Life that I’ve discovered so far:
Be kind to everyone. But not so kind to socially awkward boys that they assume you like them romantically.
Don’t trust people who don’t read. As Frank Navasky said in You’ve Got Mail, ‘one of the twentieth century’s most profound truths’ [and I’ll take the liberty of extending it a few more years] is ‘you are what you read’. This says it better than I can: You Should Date an Illiterate Girl.
Great people do things before they’re ready. Except neurosurgeons. And Felix Baumgartner.
Karaoke songs should be limited to 3 minutes.
Wear only natural fibres. Except linen. Unless you’re a Ralph Lauren model with a handheld steamer.
Always choose savoury over sweet.
‘Living in the moment’ is great, until you’re brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack.
Exercise and eat vegetables, in moderation. You shouldn’t be spending more money on magnum Egos than textbooks, but neither should you be eating bunches of flatleaf parsley and smashing your funny bones together doing Jane Fonda workout tapes.
Clichés are clichéd for a reason. It’s good to stand on the shoulders of giants.
Chocolate makes everything better. Except obesity, heart disease, diabetes etc…
Early to bed, early to rise.
The Office. Always.