I have always hoped to look back on my life in fifty years and think, “At twenty-two I had it made. I was young and beautiful, thin and sexy, popular and intelligent. I was invited to the best parties, went to the best places, knew the funniest people. At twenty-two, life was perfect.”

But the truth is, I probably won’t be looking back saying any of that. The truth is that twenty-two just isn’t like that for most people. This is probably more like what I’ll be saying when I look back in fifty years:

At twenty-two…

1. I was still alternately napping and pulling all nighters in an effort to get through college.

2. I was curvy (which is a nice way to say that I never got rid of my Freshman 15…okay, Freshman 50).

3. I still watched Disney movies with a religious dedication known only to a few monks in Tibet.

4. I’d had four internships – which really meant, I had provided slave labor for a number of companies loosely related to my studies.

5. I had changed what I wanted to do with my life at least once a year for all twenty-two of those years.

6. I came out of the closet as the true nerd that I really am, comic books and MMOs included.

7. I figured out how to use hashtags on twitter. #thattookwaytoolong

8. I learned that you really don’t need to read every line in your textbook – but you actually do need to read some of it.

9. I learned how to take a “B”. Fellow Type A’s, you know this is a struggle. I didn’t say I learned to like it, rather I learned that sometimes life happens and a “B” will not be the reason you miss out on a job.

10. I beat Mortal Kombat 9.

11. I learned how to travel and explore by myself without being scared. Well, without being too scared.

12. I found that my biggest regrets were about not taking more chances and making bigger changes.

13. I found that while unplugging is the hardest thing to do, sometimes it must be done to avoid early onset carpal tunnel and premature eye problems.

14. I found that pearls and ballet flats never go out of style (Preach it, Audrey!)

15. I believed that Saved by the Bell was still quality television.

16. I realized that just because you were making life plans, doesn’t mean that other peoples’ lives will follow your directions.

17. I fell in love with a sweet boy and learned what it was like to be treated like a princess.

18. I learned to have a voice – on a blog, on twitter – and to know that if you have something to say and you say it passionately, someone will listen.

19. I learned that the friends you make while traveling and volunteering are probably the best friends you’ll ever have. (Read: go travel and go volunteer. Now.)

20. I’ve learned that friends you met a year ago can be just as close as friends you met in first grade. But both types of relationships take a lot of work to cultivate and maintain. The more you talk the more you’ll want to talk.

21. I’ve learned that you absolutely, positively, seriously need to grocery shop regularly – no matter how much you hate it.

22. And finally, I learned that it doesn’t matter if you go to all the right clubs or parties. It doesn’t matter if you’re thin or have amazing style. What matters is that when you look back, you know you are proud of all you’ve accomplished and you can’t wait to see what your next twenty-two years will bring.

Hey friends, what did you learn at twenty-two? Leave a comment and let me know!