In early October Tyler Huckabee of Relevant Magazine published a list: 20 Things Every Twentysomething Should Know How to Do. Mr. Huckabee only published half of the truth. It took many Easter baskets to buy their way into Relevant’s Hall of Records; but Luke Irwin, Alex Miller, and Aaron Belz finally discovered the hidden half. It was like recovering Aristotle’s lost Second Book of the Poetics. Here is the lost list in full:
1. Throw a Frisbee
Sometimes we all just need to throw the Frisbee. It’s fun! Put on your J-Crew and put off the iPhone Commemorative Jobs Editions 37 for some good old fashioned down time. Don’t forget to blast Mumford and Sons while you’re doing it, as long as your mentor isn’t around for the F-Bombs. Try it barefoot just to orient yourself toward some contact with the earth. More than fun, a Frisbee can be incarnational.
The next time you hear Kanye rap about porn, Molly, and having an orgy, be ready to defend it as transformational. THIS IS KEY. I cannot STRESS how important being able to do this is. If you can’t do this, other people will not want to hang out with you and if you aren’t hanging out with them, they will not be able to know that Kanye is redemptive-historical transformational missional. They might not know that you are really nice. And they might not get to know what you think about Drake.
3. Know the Names of Magazines
Reading articles can be intimidating, time-consuming, and might force you to engage topics that a week of morning devotions will not nip satisfyingly in the bud. No worries! To sound cultural, all you need to know are the names of the magazines that most people think contain important ideas. At a moment of awkward silence, begin a conversation with “Did you check out the New Yorker this month?” or “Woah, ballin’ edition of Relevant this week, am I right-yes?” Or, if you want to sound edgy, “I totally disagree with The Atlantic these days. But I kind of LIKE disagreeing.”
4. Don’t be a Poser: Keep the Circle Closed
Talk to people who look like you. Sometimes we don’t talk to people who look like us because we feel like we already know their whole story. Stop that. Talk to people who look like they shop at Target but are desperate to be shopping at Banana Republic. You should be able to make them feel like they look like you for a reason. Hear their story because story is important for knowing our own story and can bring clarity to ourselves and help us navigate the challenges of, say, crafting a KILLER breakfast.
5. Stop Pretending Money Isn’t the Answer. It Totally Is.
Remember that getting money is the best way to combat existential angst. No one wants existential angst! If you lie awake questioning your existence because you can’t parallel park then find a way to get all the stacks.
6. Craft a Killer Smile
Never flossed? Start now. It’s easy, it’s fast, and will prove to your friends that you care about your body and your mind. At least YOU are aware that you are a synthesis of body and soul that should be resting eternally in light of the eternal. Remember: making people feel guilty is a form of encouragement.
7. Go Running. But Not Too Hard.
Sure, you have gobs of free time, and not enough people depending on you to constitute anything like a busy or responsible schedule. Luckily, the heavens have provided you with a built-in way to SIMULATE business and responsibility: An obsession with long, low-impact exercise. No need to train toward any meaningful goals. Get to know the exhilaration of waking up at 10:00 am to take a half-jog stroll around the park near church. Scatter some pigeons, listen to Katy Perry on repeat in a Private Spotify Session, and then head back home for ANOTHER KILLER BREAKFAST.
Invest in vacuum cleaners. Your life probably feels like a mess sometimes. But when life is confusing for you because you struggle to stand up for yourself because you can’t articulate yourself because you can’t read or buy sweaters or make a breakfast or parallel park or know about flossing, think about vacuuming! It will clean up your carpet and help you think about cleaning up your life. That’s good for the good.
9. Dabble in Evil–As a Theory
Sometimes a pithy article isn’t going to cut it. Realize that people far smarter than you think about stuff sometimes and various humans have been doing this for as long as there have been humans. If you don’t want to do this then learn that C.S. Lewis quote about God’s megaphone so that in the future you’ll have something to say to bereaved mothers and poor people.
10. Frag Away that Free Time
Remember that video games are probably fine for you at this stage in life, and that no moral barriers exist with them, because they are not books or people. Also, know that they are even better for you if you talk about them with your peers. Talk to people about fragging, upgrading, and the redemptive elements of GTAV. It will help you build meaningful community in your church body. That’s important. That’s more important than being alone. Which is also important.
11. Tip the Grief Away
If grief or lost love or death or illness or poverty are devastating you then think about tipping generously with more frequency. This will help get your mind off of your problems and might make someone else’s day! Carry around extra dollar bills with your tissues.
12. “Beef Up” Your Facebook Vocab
Know about using the right words on Facebook. This will help you navigate the fact that you are being trained to think of yourself as a vehicle for consumerism. You are becoming an ontological category that defies actual humanity. You are a member of the herd. Fortunately, knowing about the right words can help pump the brakes on all of this. Remember: being nice is real nice.
If you have parents, think a happy thought in their direction every couple of days. That should do it.
14. Cover Letter Bedtime
Go right to bed if you write a cover letter because working can be really exhausting and being tired goes against a lot of what you hear in the New Testament, which is worth acknowledging from time to time. I’m serious, friends. Having kids is one thing, writing a cover letter is another. Just know the difference and be responsible for your limits!
15. Less Isn’t More, but it Might Also Not Be Less
Know about settling for less. If reality is something you don’t want to face and don’t want to bother God with, then know how to re-construe it as something that a friendly parallel park will solve.
16. Myers-Briggs is Always Right
Continue making all of your life decisions based on the four letters a free test you found online has assigned to you. Continue interpreting all of the actions of other people in light of these letters. This will be foundational.
17. Build Community
If you know what this means then do it! Build it up. But be watching The Wire in the meantime. But don’t watch it with the Youth (#JK!). But notice the redemption that comes from black people and white people working together. But. Seriously. Baltimore.
If you know what this is then be it! Find your parent’s collections of Francis Schaeffer and instagram the covers. Your 20s are a great and unique and important transformational time in your life to know stuff like this! Let’s get out those phones!
19. Become a BariStar
Because you view the Christianity as essentially idealistic, you majored in the humanities. You will be working a low-paying job with entirely unpredictable hours and cripplingly expensive (but still extant) healthcare for the next five to seven years, almost certainly as a barista. View this as your mission field—a chance to drink beer after work with people who don’t share your tobacco-free background. Sure, the work may be degrading, thankless, and without upward mobility, but remember that in your early thirties you’ll be able to look back on these as the “struggle years.” Sitting in your gazebo at night, over an imported lager, you will listen to your wife sing the doxology to your ten drowsing children, and ponder whether you could succeeded as an author of micro-fiction if you’d stayed at The Doge’s Coffee Palace a few more years and chased your dreams. Either way, you can be sure your mission-mindedness changed your co-workers, even though you never mentioned your faith to them explicitly in any way. Like Hamlet says: The sensitivity is all.
Learn how to go to church, preferably in an urban or at least urbane setting, and preferably in a high church rather than megachurch venue. Your involvement in church should be enthusiastic but minimal, with priority given to work or continuing education. Your enthusiastic presence at church will result in many new friends who are equally thoughtful, prayerful and zealous for Kingdom Culture. They might later turn into career allies. It will also result in community, which is more than a byword: It is a way of life. Community involves food, games, and discussions.