Seven things you’ve been told NOT to do, but really SHOULD

Every single day, we’re told NOT to do things. Not to drink, not to eat bad things, not to slut around, not to get fat, not to be desperate, but also not to end up old and alone because OH MY GOD, ALONE. Some of the things we’re told not to do by the world at large are probably pretty smart, like not to play in traffic or drink bleach, but some of it is really, really fucking stupid. Because sometimes, the “bad” stuff is the BEST stuff, or at least the stuff that teaches you the most important life lessons.

Here is a list of seven things you’ve probably been told NOT to do, but really SHOULD (and as soon as possible).

  • Befriend a bad influence.

(Exhibit A: Angela and Rayanne)

I’m not talking international smuggling ring bad. I’m talking the girl in your class who dyes her hair weird colours, laughs too loudly and probably smokes in the girl’s bathroom at lunch (and her adult counterpart [also, don’t smoke {also make sure she doesn’t sleep with Jordan Catalano}]).

A lot of times, it’s fun to be a little wild & do things that maybe you wouldn’t normally do, especially when you’re young and the stakes are relatively low. But it’s not like there’s a cutoff age or anything. Learning how to cut loose, whenever you learn it, will serve you well for the rest of your life.

  • Be the bad influence yourself.

(Still from the 1956 movie adaptation of The Bad Seed)

Once upon a time, I gave my friend a manicure. It was black with purple, grape-scented tips. We were twelve or thirteen. Her mum freaked and made her take it off, and for some time after that I was regarded as the bad seed, despite never having killed anyone or having the kind of obedient hair that stays in badass pigtails. True story.

I wasn’t bad, of course, but I was a little wild and this little streak of crazy has never faded. As you get older and shit gets extremely real, you need an outlet. A little rebellion is ALWAYS good for the soul.

  • Date someone totally wrong for you.

(To be fair, Chuck Bass is probably wrong for anybody)

Pretentious art school dude who refuses to be your boyfriend but drags you around to horrible shows all the time? Check. Hot but seedy older bartender who won’t make plans with you and tries to have sex with all your friends? Check. Male model who can hardly string a sentence together but with whom you have incredible sexual chemistry? Check checkety check. Do it all! Taste the damn rainbow!

When you date people who are wrong, you learn about what makes a relationship right FOR YOU. You can also learn important lessons for the next time, but those won’t fall out of the sky, so dedicate some brain power to figuring them out. Do you get into long-distance relationships so that you don’t have to worry about commitment? Do you repeatedly date people already in relationships? Think about that shit. The more completely you can map out your issues, the better your life will be.

  • Break up with someone totally awesome for stupid reasons.

(Kanye is full of special heartbroken feelings)

You probably won’t realise A) that this person was awesome, or B) that your reasons are stupid until much later, but realise it you will and OH MAN is it going to sting. Let it. This is probably the most important relationship lesson you’ll learn in your adult life.

Awesome people are really rare. Petty bullshit, though, is totally common. Hopefully you’ll only dump one good person because they aren’t texting you back fast enough to realise it.

  • Leap like crazy.

(Photograph by Frederick W. Glaiser, 1907)

Don’t look. Leap. Don’t think about it, because if you think about it, you’ll just get scared. Tell your friend you care about them as more than friends. Drive six hours to visit a crush. Major in something ridiculous in college. JUST GO FOR IT.

I am naturally pretty risk-adverse and it’s one of the things I dislike most about myself. Now that I’m older, it’s harder to take REALLY big risks. There’s more riding on every choice you make, and it’s a long way down. I miss the days of jumping off cliffs and building wings as I fell, and I think that if I’d done more of it when it was easier, I’d be more able to do it now.

  • Take risks with your look.

(Yours truly, age 20, with half black – half neon red hair)

Always wanted purple hair? Do it. Want a tattoo? Go for it. Wish you could pull off bright colours? YOU CAN. 99% of style is having the confidence to go for it; to wear something outrageous and announce “I am making this work.” And nobody tell me that they’re too old to try, because being awesome doesn’t have an expiration date.

Just do me a favour and pass over any risks involving Crocs, okay? ‘Preciate it.

  • Kiss a stranger.

(Because why not?)

Not at a funeral or anything, but in the right context a little stranger snogging is fun. Just make sure that everyone involved is available, okay? The last thing you need is an angry boyfriend or girlfriend coming after you with an axe to grind.

And now we come to the part of the program where I open the floor up to you guys: What are some things that the world tells us is “bad” but are actually really important?

16 thoughts on “Seven things you’ve been told NOT to do, but really SHOULD

  1. Have at least one (and not more than five) bad experience with alcohol. Alcohol is fun … until it’s not. Puking from drinking is so much fun that I try to avoid it and obey my body’s signals.

    Go to the cinema, to an exhibition, … alone. (okay, nobody says NOT to do it but it’s sort of frowned upon, I feel). It’s freeing every now and then and I think it’s important to be okay in one’s own company.

    1. I find that I have to periodically drink to hangover (or worse) in order to remember to keep track of how many (and how much water) I’ve had. Aren’t adults supposed to just do that automatically?

  2. I definitely recommend all of the above under the condition that 1) you can undo what you did and 2) if you do have to do illegal shit, you’ll only get caught by being unlucky, not because you were stupid. And leap like crazy? I took that shit one step further. Jumping a motorcycle over railroad tracks, just like the movies… best feeling ever.

    My parents never really told me not to do anything other than specific things like, “don’t stick a knife in the wall outlet”, but on the list of things they probably would have… Gamble. Drink. Work phone sex and psychic hotlines. Pick up like crazy with hot girls you have no intention of doing anything more than just having fun with them that night and walking away after that. Peg the needle in a car and see how fast it can REALLY go. Ride a motorcycle. Blow something up using explosives (ok, this was just a lot of fun, no real lesson there).

    Still on my list of shit to do – jump out of a perfectly good plane because you can.

    On the list of shit people should experience, but shouldn’t go out of their way to do it – near death experience (e.g. getting hit by a car while on my motorcycle in December 2007).

    1. I like the “Do it if you can UNdo it & you’ll get caught because you’re unlucky, not stupid.” It’s true. The only times I’ve been caught doing dumb shit were the times I was unlucky, though once I was also stupid. (Sneaking out from my bedroom on the second floor by escaping out the balcony, sliding down the roof, dropping onto the patio table and running out the back gate, except I fell off the table)

  3. I’m really trying to find one… Result: it’s more the opposite.

    When people told me you should do this, be this way, go this way, etc… I was doing the opposite. I never wanted to be like others. Cause I found them boring, stupid… They see me such way too. They are all following the same fashion-I’m talking general-, having the same “taste”, caring about what people are saying or seeing about them … all following the same structure… oh yeah! Complaining about something and doing nothing about it…
    Maybe I’m an anti-socialist? I can’t find the right word…

    They tell me:

    – you should find a husband: heuuu NO!
    – you shouldn’t go there alone: I go where I want! when I want!
    – you should be less independant: No way!
    – you should have a car: I don’t need one!
    – you should be more patient: Sorry I don’t wanna lose my spontaneity!
    – you should wear more feminine clothes: I’m more confortable this way!
    – let’s go to this party: I’m not interested to see a bunch of people getting drunk, or to see whos gonna end up with who, or seeing a group of girls going to the washroom together each 5 minutes, ….

    So I avoid them. Now, I live a solitary life. I usually follow my instincts and my head. In some situation, like everyone, I learn the hard way. Why? Cause I didn’t follow my instincts and my head.
    So you can say, it’s me that is telling myself not to this or that, but I didn’t listen to my head.

    Ouch… A lot of souvenirs resurfacing… Thinking too much. I’ll stop there. =p

    Hope it giving you some answers…

  4. These are fabulous! My top one would be, Travel Alone. You find out so much about yourself when you’re surrounded by people who speak a different language and you’re completely left to your own devices. It’s hard not to share the experience with someone, but so worth the self discovery.

    1. That is brilliant! Girls especially are told all the time not to travel alone because it’s too dangerous, but you’re right, it’s one of the best learning experiences you can have.

    2. Yes! I went to Spain all on my lonesome and I learned more about myself and the world than I ever would have if someone had been guiding me. I even got robbed! And I got that damn wallet back because a girl’s gotta eat.

  5. What show was Angela and Rayanne from? I remember watching it, but can’t remember what it was called. Oh, and I still have the bottle of lip smackers grape nail polish in the drawer. I can’t bear to get rid of it because it’s such a symbol of the beginning of rebellion against my mother. xoxox

    1. Nat, the show was My So-Called Life. You LOVED it back in the day & now whenever I watch it, I think of you.


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