10/10/2012 02:45 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2012

The Big 2-8

This week, I turn 28-years-old, which means it's time to reevaluate life and consider how everything's going to change in my maturity. The best way to do this, I determined, is to look at other 28-year-olds, establish what they're doing right and where they've gone awry, and gauge what it all means for me as I make the transition.

For my project, I selected six unique individuals to observe: Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg; Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers; alleged model Amber Rose; Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte; rapper Wale; and singer Avril Lavigne. All have done very different things with their lives as 28-year-olds, so I figured each would give me a good impression of what I can expect. I also talked to my friend Kirby, who just turned 29, to see if there was anything she wished she'd done differently while she was 28 that I should take into consideration.

I began my study with Zuckerberg, or "Zuck" as people who don't know him at all prefer to call him. Zuck was interviewed last week by Matt Lauer on The Today Show, in a segment that began by noting how he has "changed the way the world interacts and communicates, a feat he accomplished at the age of 28." He did this, of course, by creating the biggest online social network that exists (recently amassing over one billion users), and by making it suitable protocol to wear hoodies and sneakers to work. Both extremely impressive accomplishments; both changing the way we feel about ourselves, and our colleagues.

Yet, it has also been a tough year for Zuck, given his newly public company didn't fair so well on the trade deck, and the plunging value resulted in a $2 billion dollar loss for the tech mogul after only his second day at market. This is exactly the sort of thing I'm worried about happening to me. Life goes well, you get a little cocky, and then just like that, you're a dollar short. Fortunately, I called my dad to check in on the status of my own investments, and was informed I didn't have any stocks to worry about.

"Well, that's a relief," I said. I won't have to deal with the pressure that comes from being worth billions at the age of 28, and instead can just enjoy paying off my loans. It is however going to be a very busy year for me reforming dress code and connecting everyone on the planet, but I'm hoping one of these blogs might eventually get shared enough to take care of the latter task.

Aaron Rodgers began football season this year widely considered to be the best quarterback in the NFL. He still is up in the ranks, but his streak of success may not pan out as well as everyone thought. In 2011, Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl championship and was named MVP of the game. Last year, the team finished the regular season 15-1. Thus, as September brought in fresh astroturf and excited cheeseheads, Green Bay, helmed by the 28-year-old, was the team to beat. Since then, they've lost more games than they've won, and seem to have been hit with a lingering spell of misfortune. The now-notorious loss to the Seahawks proved a morale-buster, and losses to the Colts (a really shitty team) and 49ers (the best team), pushed the Packers behind the Vikings and the Bears in their division. It's not a good place to be, but of course, it's still early. What's unfortunate for Rodgers is that, in most cases, it's not really his fault. I'm just hoping that when I turn 28 people don't similarly fuck things up for me, and ruin my status as a boss player.

Though she is reportedly a model, most people only know Amber Rose because she dates rappers and goes on news shows to talk about them. She first dated Kanye West, which was weird; then she started dating Wiz Khalifa, and that was even weirder. Now she's engaged to Wiz Khalifa and having his baby, which made the whole world shudder together in unison. Perhaps, Wizzy will clean up his ways once his progeny arrives into the world, but very likely, it's too late. Nevertheless, Amber Rose proves this is the year I need to get serious with my career.

In a mere four months, Ryan Lochte won five medals in the Olympics, appeared on an episode of 90210, made an awkward PSA for the water campaign and trademarked the term "Jeah" with the U.S. Patent & Trademark office. He also showed up wearing an American Flag-themed grill to the winners' podium in London. Obviously, I've learned a lot from him. The first thing is I've decided this will be the year I get branded. Anything I can think of, I'm applying for a patent. Also, Lochte proves if you're a winner, no one judges you for anything else. Accordingly, I'm planning to win The New Yorker Caption Contest this year, so I can finally release my long-awaited mixtape as a rap artist.

Of all these folks, the 28-year-old I probably most relate to is Wale, someone who, like myself, can best be described as "almost, but not quite." Wale released a stellar debut album a few years ago, and while a lot of people loved it, he never really got the attention he deserved. Now he's older and signed to Maybach Music, which appears to be a step up, except his talent always gets outshined by the shadow of Rick Ross' stomach. I will not make the same mistake. When I turn 28, I will not answer to any boss who doesn't give me credit for my work, and/or throws his tattooed breasts in my face. I will also do something differently with my hair.

The only significant milestone for Avril Lavigne in her 28th year on Earth was her engagement to Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, but it was definitely a momentous event. The quick and easy lesson on this one is not to settle no matter how bad it gets.

Overall, the best advice on my birthday came from dear friend Kirby, who said 28 is all about having more confidence, and not being afraid to take a stand.

"I yelled at people more, you can't be afraid to," she said, recalling her days at 28. "If someone is an asshole to you in the grocery store, yell at them; if someone's a dick at the airport, yell at them. I don't know why, but I feel like people are constantly trying to fuck with me, and I like to surprise them like, 'No, you cannot.'"

It was precisely the advice I was looking for.