We all do it. We spend half our time worrying, wondering, trying to figure out what other people think about us, about what or how we’re doing. But after spending some time in the real world, there are a few things I’ve discovered I, or other people I know, worry about that very few people actually care about. Those things are as follows:
1. Whether you go out on the weekends.
Even though the Internet (and LD) has popularized “OMG Netflix/Pizza/no pants/hermit status,” it’s easy to feel like you’re doing something wrong when your Friday night Instagram feed is full of former college classmates out at semi-popular bars wearing trendy shirts and holding cheap drinks and tagging random emojis or inside jokes in the “Location” section while you’re sitting at home reading a book or watering your plants or whatever. It’s easy to feel like somewhere, somehow, the entirety of Instagram is judging you for not being out like those people and for just enjoying a quiet night alone. But guess what: The people that are out are doing their own thing and having a good time (or wishing they, too, were at home on the couch), and the people that aren’t out are too absorbed in “Orange is the New Black” to care. So chill out, keep watching reruns of “American Pickers” and just eat all the pepperonis off your pizza.
2. Whether people are seriously talking about the life choices you make.
Every twenty-something’s life is categorized by the making of sometimes absurdly large and important decisions: Graduate school? Post-doc studies? A year or two to study abroad? This job or that? Move home with Mom and Dad? Get married? Move in with my SO? Get a roommate or buckle down the budget? Which credit card? Credit card at all? Can I afford cable? What is the answer to the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything? (OK, we know that one. It’s 42.) Those decisions are big and important and the people who care about you care about what you choose, but the majority of people you know are so absorbed in their own making of absurdly large and important decisions that they just don’t have that much time to devote to judging you for your choices. Sure, they may think about it for a few seconds when a life event pops up on their Facebook timeline, but chances are, when they’re back at their apartment that night, they’re making pro/con lists for why they should or should not go to that four-week cooking class in San Fran, not whether you took the entry-level job in Indianapolis or Baton Rouge. They’re just not.
3. Whether you’re repeating outfits on a semi-regular basis.
Getting up every day and getting dressed in professional or business casual clothes is possibly one of the worst transitional experiences for anyone to go through. Even if, when you were in college, you spent some time getting ready in the morning before you went to class, you could choose to wear jeans and a big sweater and boots and still look good. But now that you’re in a professional work environment, congratulations, you get to wear dress pants. And button-down shirts. And pencil skirts. And sensible shoes. And honestly, reinvesting in an entirely new wardrobe is not exactly cheap, so it’s easy to start with just the basics, and it makes sense you wouldn’t have tons of pieces your first few months or year on the job. Really, no one cares whether you’ve worn the same dress pants and pencil skirt twice in one week, trust. Everyone understands the pain of having to learn to get up at too early-o’clock and rush to the office. Just make sure you look put-together and that’s all anyone can ask of you.
4. Whether the Starbucks barista thinks you’re an amateur.
Some people love coffee. Some people just like it. Some people like coffee-ish things. Some people like coffee-flavored things. Some people want Chai or iced tea. Some people want hot chocolate or lemon water or a Frappucino that tastes nothing like coffee but still tastes like you imagine sliding hundreds into your wallet would feel. Your barista understands all of these things about the various kinds of people he/she serves each day, and while they may recognize you based on your frequency of drink purchases, they don’t go home every day and chuckle to themselves because “that one girl orders a six-pump skinny vanilla latte and that’s just way too many pumps for a good latte.” Just order your drink, hand them your cash or card, thank them for working really hard at a sometimes sucky job, and go wait for them to call your name.
5. Whether you use expensive or drugstore cosmetics.
If your makeup looks good, it looks good. If it doesn’t look good, it doesn’t look good. This isn’t the 10th grade; no one’s going to be rummaging around in your makeup bag judging you for not having their favorite shade of Bobbi Brown eye shadow or CHANEL lip gloss (lol, lip gloss). In fact, if you told someone, especially a fellow twenty-something woman, that you’d made the transition from Clinique to Neutrogena for your facewash and foundation and were enjoying it, chances are they’d applaud you for finding a way to save cash and then would probably ask you for a recommendation. Where your cosmetics came from is of no consequence if you apply them right and wear them well.
6. Whether you’re Mac or PC.
The Apple vs. Microsoft argument is one of the oldest debates of our generation, and when you were in undergrad, it might have been important to you or other people that you be seen with the best and nicest computer, and oftentimes that means a Mac. But guess what? You’re out in the real world now, and if you like the way a Dell or HP works compared to a Mac, then go buy a Dell or HP! If you want that Barnes and Noble Nook over an iPad Air, buy the Nook. You’ll be happier and the guy next to you at the coffee shop will be too absorbed in whatever he’s doing to care. It’s a win-win.
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