Next month I will be 26, and over the past few years, I have changed. I've matured, I have become responsible, professional and reached a bit of success career-wise. After college ended and I experienced true independence, I started to find happiness in different things. I traded in my time partying for time reading and relaxing, my money eating out for cleaning supplies and cookware, and my love of carelessness for a love of responsibility. I became an adult! Don't get me wrong -- I still drink too much wine, I sometimes have a fit like a toddler over a bill and I usually buy clothes instead of gas, but the things that bring me happiness these days are pretty lame by my 21-year-old standards.
1. Farmers' markets
Good golly, has this little homegrown piece of heaven been around my whole life? There is nothing I love more (except the nerdy things listed below) than going to the farmers' market on a crisp fall morning. Being surrounded by all those vibrant, fresh, beautiful fruits, veggies and jams actually makes me want to quit the corporate world and become a farmer.
2. Organized cupboards
Walking through a dark parking lot at night alone might give you anxiety, but you know what gives me anxiety? A disorganized pantry. I hate disorganization, especially in my home. I may or may not go home on my lunch breaks and organize my refrigerator or tupperware cabinet on a regular basis.
3. Trash pickup day
My soul is cleansed on trash pickup day, which for me is Wednesday. When I bring the empty can around on Wednesday afternoons, it means my home is free of trash, the middle of the week has been reached and the world is my oyster.
4. Paying a random unexpected bill
What the hell, insurance company? You take money every week out of my paycheck and now I can't even get a filling covered by my crap ass plan? I hate deductibles, I hate my insurance plan and I really hate a random bill for $125... but I do love the feeling I get sending that bill out into the world to clear my owed debt. Can't get me down, random bill! (Read: I cry to my mom about the unfairness of said bill and refuse to pay it and threaten to move to Canada all prior to forcing myself to write that damn check.)
5. A hangover-free weekend
Victory! Hello adult self-control that my former college-aged counterpart never imagined, I love you so. You know what's better than a drunkfest with your friends? ANYTHING. Being hungover is torture and a pain that I can't endure anymore. I slip up quite often by getting an extra glass or two of wine, but on the weeks I don't, I like to find one of my hungover friends and do 20 pushups in front of them while telling them all the great things I have done that day. Things that they could never do because of their hangover. #notsorry
6. A well put together outfit
Gotta Instagram that. I'm pretty sure that for all of high school and most of college, I wore a black fitted shirt and Vans sneakers (emo was my middle name). Now, in adulthood, I have upped my game with polished clothing and even a statement necklace on occasion. I watch makeup blogs to learn subtle eye makeup (so I don't look like a gothic teen with pounds of eyeliner) and I have traded in my PacSun wardrobe for The Limited. Goodbye, troubled and dirty teen, hello, professional and established young woman.
Is it just me, or is a carpet with those sweet, beautiful vacuum lines almost as beautiful as looking at a sunset over the ocean? I love them, I get a high off a vacuumed house. Know what else is amazing? Hearing the vacuum suck up unseen bits of stuff in the carpet. Sliding the vacuum over the carpet and hearing it suck up things makes me pump my fist in the air as if I was at war and just took out the enemy.
8. Great credit
Um, was anyone ever going to tell me what credit is and that I need it to be great to do, um, EVERYTHING? Luckily, I have built amazing credit over the past few years, since discovering the unknown beast, and I treat my credit score with more love and care than most of my family members. It has gotten me new cars, a home and endless low interest rates. I have been known to just blurt it out during dinner just because I feel like it.
9. Remembering birthdays
I know everyone's birthday and no friend or family member will ever be forgotten by me. I have a laminated list of all birthdays on my fridge so that I can send a handmade card to everyone. If I am out of town on your birthday, prepare to get a gift in the mail, because I am NOT forgetting you! Nothing screams "I have my life together" (besides having all your bills paid and still being able to afford food) than taking the time to make someone a card, find their address in your address book (address book: a serious sign of adulthood) and mailing it out so it arrives before/on their birthday. BAM.
10. A full tank of gas
The possibilities are just endless when you have a full tank of gas. Hell, you can just hop on the interstate and drive for 400 miles! Just you, your car and the open road. Even better, that feeling you get the first few drives after a full tank of gas when the meter is still over the full line, pure happiness.
Yes, I stand in the cleaning products aisle of Target more than the clothing aisle, and my idea of fun is coffee and "Dateline," but I love it! I love changing and growing, I prefer this phase of life than my previous one and I don't even mind that my friends put me in their phones with the granny emoji.
Originally posted on Literally, Darling an online magazine by and for twenty-something women, which features the personal, provocative, awkward, pop-filled and pressing issues of our gender and generation. This is an exact representation of our exaggerated selves.