22 Pieces of Advice for the 22-year-old Version of Me
This week marks the 3-year anniversary of my move to Los Angeles. I was 22, unemployed, broke, and sort of aimless when I moved here. Now I’m 25 and employed, but barely any less broke or aimless.
If I could go back in time, I’d have some stuff to say to 22-year old Drew. Here’s a bit of it.
1) Stay true to your roots
You’re going to want to go back to Ohio a lot for awhile. That’s okay. You’re going to visit there a lot. You’ll go for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You’ll go for Labor Day. You’ll be there for your little brother’s high school graduation. You even get to go for a Reds game in Cincinnati. And you’re going to have a TON of Cincinnati paraphernalia in your apartment.
2) Homesickness gets easier
You won’t be visiting ALL the time. Eventually, you’ll want to start spending some holidays in your new home. You have roots. You cook hot dogs and burgers with one of your best friends on July 4. You spend your birthdays in increasingly wonderful ways (oh…. you’re going to spend your 23rd birthday building a blanket fort alone in your apartment when you get home. As a result, you won’t drink as much on your 24th birthday). And LA will feel almost as much like home as Ohio did.
3) Being sorta-kinda poor is okay
You learn some cool stuff that makes living like a poor person easier. You get really efficient at buying stuff at Ikea. And you know the actual retail price of Spaghetti-O’s, every brand of Ramen, and your favorite craft beer (more on that later). There are delivery pizza, burger, Chinese, and Thai places nearby, and you’re about to discover which ones have low minimum order prices and low delivery costs. They’ll know your name before long.
4) Quarters are precious
Doing laundry means that quarters are a commodity. Seriously… Having $2.75 in quarters is worth like $5.00 for convenience. It’s unbelievable that banks let you just HAVE 4 quarters for a dollar bill. Quarters are precious.
5) Do laundry on week nights
So many people in your building wait to do laundry on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Get in there on the week nights.
6) Go grocery shopping on Friday nights
Cool people are out getting laid on Fridays, so the lines at the grocery store are virtually empty.
7) Not that you’re not cool. You’re cool.
Your parents read PorchDrinking from time to time. So I don’t want to give too much away here.
8) PorchDrinking is a thing
Remember that Tristan guy from college? He starts a website called PorchDrinking.com in the summer of 2012. You’re one of the first writers for it. And… yeah, no… seriously. And you’re still gonna write for it 3 years later. REALLY!
9) Drink craft beer, not crap beer
Ralph’s usually has a pretty up-to-date selection of craft beer. But it’s limited. The Vendome liquor store on Riverside is nice, but the one on Ventura is even nicer. Go there. Also, the Whole Foods on Coldwater isn’t bad.
10) Don’t become a California jerk
Buying sunglasses is fine. Eating quinoa for the first time is fine. Talking about drought-friendly habits is okay. But beyond that, just shy away from too much California d-baggery. No fixed gear bikes, alright? Don’t pretend you give a crap about Crossfit. And don’t bother buying that jean jacket. Your girlfriend is from California and even she thinks it’s lame.
11) That said, embrace the cool stuff about California
Go on hikes! Drive up the coast to Santa Barbara when you’re bored one weekend. Go to wine country. Check out San Diego. OH! And if you’re going to check out the beaches in San Diego all willy-nilly, at least be sure to avoid the nude beach down there. Exploration is one thing. Shock is another.
12) Get. A decent. Car.
I know that your 2000 Ford Explorer seems like family to you. It’s a death trap. Get rid of that piece of shit. Get ANYTHING else. You’ll be more comfortable.
13) Cable is stupid
Don’t buy TV service. Here’s what you need:
Over-the-air antenna: $15
HBOGO password: Free from a friend of a friend of a friend
Netflix: Free because Dad still has an account
Done. People who pay for cable are silly.
14) Don’t throw Christmas trees in the dumpster
Apparently you’re supposed to call a company to come pick the trees up. And your landlord gets upset when people throw entire Christmas trees into a dumpster (not to mention the trail of pine needles left behind).
15) Go to the gym
Just so I don’t have to. Time travel is great like that. When I get back to 2015, I want to be ripped. And I want you to get me there. So go to the gym on Lankershim. Please?
16) Find a place to make “the bar” or the go-to hangout
Find your Central Perk. Your MacLaren’s. Your Cheers. Your that-coffee-shop-Frasier-always-went-to-on-the-spinoff. It’ll be fun to have a place in which you and your friends feel at home.
17) Going out sucks
The club scene in Hollywood is awful. Lots of EDM (is that a thing already in 2012, or no?). Lots of drunk people wearing tight clothes. Skip it. The people who like that are not your people.
18) It’s just a job, dude
14 hour days will seem sexy and worth it when you’re trying to earn a promotion or when the gig is new. But trust me, man… it’s just a place you go during the day so you can afford to pay bills at the end of the month. Don’t kill all your mental, emotional, and spiritual energy just to give yourself to a company. You’re gonna get cynical someday, right? Might as well make it later in life. So don’t do stuff now that’s going to make you resent working.
19) Learn to cook
See points 3 and 15. I never really learned to cook gourmet food. It’d be great if you’d do that for us. That said, adding hot sauce to mac & cheese is pretty good. It just doesn’t make you a chef. Learn a thing or two that can actually impress a person.
20) Living with girls is great. They’re going to tell you how it really is.
You know that person you think you have a crush on? Your two female roommates are going to tell you with brutal honesty what an unbearable witch that girl is. You might be tempted to go for it anyway, 22-year-old Drew, but don’t. The roommates are always right about other girls.
21) Being around FRIENDS is also great.
All you can really expect in a roommate is someone who pays rent on time, does their dishes in a timely fashion, and gets along with you. You’re going to be lucky, kid, to have the ability to come home to two people who are genuinely excited to order a large pizza, watch Netflix, drink, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Your girlfriend is the same way. It’s pretty great that no one expects you to wear anything but pajamas on a Friday or Saturday night.
22) Writing lists is still writing
Lists seem lazy. You are gonna write a thing about how lists of gifs don’t count as journalism. But as long as the word count cracks 1,000, you can still feel good about it, right?