Between the ages of seventeen and twenty-three, you’re taking your SAT and ACT, rushing to write college application essays, traveling across the country for school visits, completing assessments for your major, applying to jobs, taking your final exams, writing your end-of-term essays, reading textbooks, copying down notes, researching future careers, and interviewing. But there’s one thing the world forgets to tell you through all of that: it’s okay to be silly.
It’s okay to put on lipstick that’s three shades too red. It’s okay to take embarrassing selfies and laugh about them with your girlfriends later. It’s okay to wear overalls. It’s okay to dress up for a Halloween work party, and rock your costume proudly. It’s okay to make cross-eyed, scrunched-up faces for pictures. To wear extremely high heels that you can hardly walk in. To have a cake fight or a pillow fight. To finger paint. To dress like a boy for fun. To wear that goofy dress you’ve always wanted to wear. To not take yourself and the world so seriously.
You grow up fast. From high school to college, from college to the real world. You’ll be told what you have to wear to work, the deadlines you’ll need to meet, the requirements you’ll need to follow. But it’s okay to wear hot pink toenail polish that doesn’t match your fingernails. It’s okay to go to a concert and keep the bracelets on your wrist for a month afterwards. It’s okay to dress in neon colors, to try bright green eyeshadow for a party, to eat raw cookie dough and not even bake the cookies.
You have your whole life to be a proper citizen, clean-cut spouse, well-mannered worker.
But what the world doesn’t tell you, is that you have your whole life to make monkey-faces, wear un-matching clothes, and laugh at yourself, too.