(This title is an homage to Dave Eggers.)
(Life goal achieved: Lionesque hair).
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. There are a lot of reasons why. There’s so much “content” coming at us from all directions that it makes writing a blog post less appealing. It’s maddening. I can’t even hear myself THINK in here. Do you feel that? Maybe it’s just me.
I am working full-time at a company I adore and moonlighting as a travel writer. I’ve been BUSY. Last month, I went to Switzerland for three days. I’ve never flown that far for such a short amount of time. It was insane in that I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening way, like a first kiss.
I also just bought a house. Woot. Seattle tried to push me away with its high rents and influx of yuppie-hipsters “yipsters”, but I am officially here to stay.
At almost 35, bumping up on 10 years in this city, I feel old enough to dole out the advice from the comforts of my rocking chair. (Ps. I don’t believe in old.)
The advice I would give my not-that-much younger self:
1. Sometimes, from certain hills, on certain nights the city will look like a pile of gold sequins and promises put there just for you. Savor this. After awhile, it dulls.
2. Call your grandmas more often.
3. When you go to that grand poetry conference don’t assume the guy in the cowboy hat and bolo tie won’t be a good poet. His first poem reveals he’s a Vietnam Vet and every word is as deep and powerful as the ocean. Exercise humility.
4. Be generous. It will come back to you.
5. Allow yourself to tell the deserving to f—off. You let people get away with too much.
6. Repeat: Not everything is about me.
7. When cancer threatens your nearest and dearest, forgive those who turn cold on you because it makes them uncomfortable. It makes you uncomfortable too.
8. Forgive yourself.
9. Being an artist has nothing to do with black glasses and cocktails and blue hair and city lofts and Instagram accounts. It has everything to do with the work. So do it. Submit it. Wait for the inevitable rejection. And shut up.
10. A thigh gap is unattainable and wouldn’t look good on you anyway.
11. Pizza cures everything.
12. When someone invites you to a “party” and says, “You don’t even have to buy anything,” just say no. Save your money and your time for people who want to be friends, not for you to buy something from a catalog.
13. Don’t worry so much whether the college you went to isn’t or is prestigious. After a few years, it matters so little it’s laughable.
14. When you reunite with your childhood friend and she tells you she’ll call you, take her number too. Just one year later, she’ll be gone and you will never have another conversation.
15. Your real friends will be happy when you win. Being a real friend is not just consoling someone when they lose, it’s being happy when they win. Especially when they win something you want.
16. Don’t waste too much time obsessing over the corporate ladder. Work hard, do a good job, go home.
17. Don’t turn your back on the most important lesson, the most important gift—what it’s like to struggle. Carry it with you. Remember it when you feel like you have endless money and endless opportunity and when you feel like you’ve won a life lottery. Recognize the humanity in others, no matter who they are. Err on the side of kind. Always.
18. When you get the chance to move to Quebec, do it. It will be hard and cold and awful at times, but those are just growing pains.
19. Stop obsessing over beauty. Pretty isn’t an achievement, it is luck. Pretty is made up to sell you make up. Don’t let magazines and shallow people dictate how you feel about yourself. You are beautiful because you are human.
20. Travel. See the world so you can understand your place in it.
21. Hold tight to your sense of humor.
22. Getting married and buying a house and having a family aren’t cliché trappings of the American dream. It’s real life. Silence those who judge your life choices and don’t judge others for theirs.
23. Being ___by age ____ becomes irrelevant after 30. Thank God.
24. You won’t realize how young you were until you grow older. This goes for then and now.
26. Go to that wedding. Go to that funeral. When it’s important and when it’s something that will only happen once, spend the money, take the time and go.