21 Things I Wish I Knew At 21

Life Lessons With Brittany Snow & Jaspre Guest

“The tanning bed. Just no. Hell no.”

There are few things more humbling than looking back on the vestiges of your earlier self. The bad haircuts! The bad boyfriends! The not-necessarily-bad-but-definitely-embarrassing social media posts! (When the time comes, I recommend that you delete, discard, and do not save. Reinvent yourself at will; there are no rules anymore.)

The other good news? Getting older means getting wiser — this is a nice upside, because your hangovers will absolutely, categorically, definitely get worse — but wisdom only counts if you pass it on. To do our part, we’re launching a new series where we ask some of our favorite people about the 21 things they wish they knew at 21.

Our first installment comes courtesy of Jaspre Guest and Brittany Snow. Their new book, September Letters, is inspired by the value that comes with sharing our stories. As well as interviews with mental health experts and post-it notes from the cast of Pitch Perfect (!), there are tons of resources for people looking to feel better in their own skin, whatever their age. I’m going to be in conversation with them to celebrate the book’s release at Barnes & Noble Union Square on Tuesday, May 23. We’d love to see you there. —Charlotte Owen, Editor in Chief

  1. Someone shows you who they really are on vacation without a TV.—Brittany
  2. Enjoy everything more. Laugh at yourself more. Nothing is really that big of a deal if you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.—Brittany
  3. It’s OK if you aren’t the best at something, like becoming a ballerina, because honestly, it wasn’t your dream.—Jaspre
  4. Being different and feeling that you don’t belong actually is what draws people to you.—Jaspre
  5. You will always have basically the same personality. Embrace it because it’s why you’re you and why you’re no one else.—Brittany
  6. Y necklaces will have their time and you need to let that time go.—Brittany
  7. The tanning bed. Just no. Hell no.—Brittany
  8. Listening is WAY more important than speaking.—Jaspre
  9. You can keep making everyone a mixed CD but no one is really going to listen to it.—Brittany
  10. Smirnoff ice is a terrible idea no matter what the setting. And you will hurt very, very badly tomorrow.—Brittany
  11. Eating “organic” will actually become mainstream and turn into an industry called wellness.—Jaspre
  12. John Mayer’s Room For Squares will ALWAYS hit hard and always will be good.—Brittany
  13. You are not emo. You are just emotional. But man, good on ya for trying.—Brittany
  14. The more you avoid sitting with your feelings and stillness, the more you will repeat the same patterns.—Brittany
  15. Your fascination with metaphysics will actually make you cooler and an expert to your friends.—Jaspre
  16. When someone says “I love you,” sometimes it’s a season and not forever.—Jaspre
  17. Just because he’s in a band does NOT MEAN he’s going to save your life.—Brittany
  18. Appreciate the friends who sit you down and call you on your shit in a loving way. Look for how you can better yourself — not change yourself.—Brittany
  19. You should take control of and advocate for your physical and mental health. You are the CEO of you.—Jaspre
  20. The people who pick you up when you need a ride (no questions asked) are the real ride or dies. No one really wants to pick up anyone across town at 2 a.m.—Brittany
  21. You are a very cool, special human and you will never be this young again. Soak it all in, ya weirdo.—Brittany