28 Things I've Done and Learned Before Turning 28
Since today is my 28th birthday (YAY, WHAT’S UP), I’m sharing 28 things I’ve done and learned:
I did standup comedy. Again and again and again. I consider myself part-time retired from comedy, but it was a huge part of my early twenties. Doing a standup set once was on my bucket list. In typical Quinn fashion, I went hard and...actually wound up performing a lot. Although I'm not working those open mics on the regular, I learned more than I ever could from any other activity. Fun fact: I did a set just before Jim Gaffigan at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City in 2012 and he is SO NICE, OH MY GOD.
I learned when to pull the ripcord. Remember how I said that I did standup comedy? I had to cut back. A lot of comedians are incredibly depressed, depressing, creepy, unsupportive, and/or drunk. It wasn't an environment that I fit into - or that I wanted to fit into. I felt teeny pangs of failure when I took a break from performing. But, I'm better for it. Now if I decide to get back into it (which I kind of want to...), I'll feel refreshed and creative instead of constantly criticized (by mean weirdos). This doesn't just go for comedy either - it's important to take breaks in general to avoid burnout...which has been a tough pill to swallow.
I let people go. I used to think that letting a friend go made me a terribly mean person - even if they were being terribly mean to me. For anyone who needs to hear it, you are not a terribly mean person. Now drop that terribly mean person in your life.
I became comfortable makeup-less. This does not mean that I will attend a black tie wedding only sporting moisturizer and a smile (will bring the smile tho), but if you see me at Shop Rite I will be buying my groceries sans foundation.
I got contacts. I had been wearing glasses since I was TWO years old.
I started traveling. All of the time. Whenever I could (can). I constantly booked overnights, weekends, and Groupons. I visited a lot of locations some people would find uninteresting, but I disagree. It doesn't have to be a life-changing trip to India to change your perspective.
I listen. I rarely ask 'why' about things and concepts, but when it comes to people...I want to know! I ask people a lot of questions about themselves and I try my darnedest to listen to their responses. If you really listen when people talk to you (don't just think about the next thing you're going to say - a bad habit I had to break), you will actually enjoy small talk and be able to have a conversation.
I've experienced burnout. Ugh, what a terrible horrible feeling. It's a never-ending process, but I'm learning how to recognize the signs of burnout and stop it before it eats my soul (am I dramatic?). Speaking of...
I learned about self-care. Giving yourself attention is not a luxurious, narcissistic, occasional instance. I had/have such a difficult time grasping what self-care is because it seems too broad and too close to self-obsession. I'm still exploring it.
I got married. Becoming a wife changed my perspective on just about everything. From the moment I got engaged, I learned an overwhelming amount about life, love, people, money, laundry, bills, balance. Do I sound like your dad yet? It's a ton of responsibility and it's a full-time job (do what you love, amirite), but I can't even describe to you how worth it is.
I started my own business. In 2014, I decided to monetize drawing on shoes, which turned into Qustom Quinns custom artwork and shortly after, Qustom Quinns the blog. Being a one woman show was the quickest way to transition into an adult. I've always been the 'responsible' type, but when other people (customers, readers, brands, budgets, etc.) are relying on you, that's when things really get cooking. Not a lot of people realize how much goes into a business (photos, writing, content calendars, shipments, contract negotiations, MONEY), but those who do - all of the props and all of the claps to you. PS: We should grab dinner sometime to complain.
I found a quick, signature makeup routine. Every woman needs one. Sunscreen, concealer, a teensy bit of blush, liquid liner, and mascara.
I learned how to swim. Technically, I learned how to swim when I was into Barney bathing suits pre-kindergarten, but I was never officially trained. I just knew that I liked it and I would go to the pool almost every day (indoor, outdoor, in my neighbor's backyard...). Last summer I learned breathing and technique! No flip turns yet - that might be this summer.
I stopped taking as many photos. Sometimes it's better to see things in person than it is through a lens.
I worked with kids. I used to babysit and also was a Sunday school teacher at my church. Working with kids taught me to be humble ('You look ugly today, Miss Quinn' is a direct quote that does wonders for the ego), to be thoughtful (kids notice everything you do), and to be patient (even when they're screaming at the top of their lungs). You would be surprised how I use the lessons I've learned with kids on...adults.
I volunteered. A lot. I grew up in a household where acts of service were constantly encouraged. It was so important for me to learn (even when I was a teeny fuzzy-headed little Quinn) that the world is way bigger than me and it needs help.
I learned to say, 'no.'
I see fitness as an escape, not a punishment. This is a work in progress, but the past few years I've really tried to focus on workouts as a meditation and a release instead of 'something you do when you eat too much.'
I smile (even when I don't want to). It is 6 am on a Tuesday and I am at the very beginning of a 9.5 hour shift knowing that immediately after work I have an appointment, need to squeeze in a workout, and also draw on a pair of shoes due the next day. I may feel a little like crying (or dying), but instead I smile at the lady that passes me in the hallway. This spurs a mini conversation full of small talk that ends with outfit compliments and we both feel better. I do this at least several times a day and it doesn't hurt.
I learned to pare down my words. This is especially important at work or in professional settings. I’m undeniably a little dramatic and wordy in my personal life. It’s taken time to realize that taking out ‘unnecessary’ words can make people respect you. (‘I would like your participation in the presentation is this Thursday.’ vs ‘Would you possibly consider thinking about perhaps being a part of the presentation…?’)
I started baking. This is so exciting (and dangerous) because I am absolutely obsessed with cookies (!!!!!!).
I learned that most people are actually more afraid of you than you are of them.
I took up yoga. My mom was a fitness instructor for 25 years and yoga was a big part of her routine. I remember sitting in the back of her classes impatiently waiting for the hour to end. Fast forward to just before my wedding...I gave yoga a desperate try and I have been hooked since.
I learned respect. I grew up in and live in and work in a city - a loud, diverse, opinionated, difficult city (hi, Philadelphia, luv u). I learned early on that everyone has their own way of thinking and doing...and although they won't all respect me and my opinions, I still need to respect them. Basically, I'm not going to argue with you about an article via Facebook. But, I will have a conversation with you.
I started drinking coffee (XL black plz).
I learned from experience. It endlessly frustrates me when people give me their ungrounded opinions (i.e. when someone tells me what it's like to live in a diverse city when they have never lived in one...), so I try not to do that to anyone else. I have learned not to comment on topics/situations/things that I know nothing about. If I've experienced something, I'll give you my opinion, but otherwise, I'm quiet.
I learned that everything looks better in the morning. To solve a problem, feel better, or figure something out, the answer is usually to sleep. Sit back, relax, and reevaluate in the AM.