1. Those who move through each day with a happy spirit will find that things will always work out.
2. If you’re feeling wildly overwhelmed by everything, try this: organize your room, go for a long walk or run, light and candle and lay on the floor, make dinner plans for tomorrow, write down the good and go to bed before 10pm.
3. If he wanted to see, talk or be with you, he would. Simple as that– no ifs, ands or buts. If the feelings are mutual, the effort will be the same. This will take a while to learn.
4. Do not shrink or be ashamed of your life path to check some imagined set of boxes people/society have formed in their mind. I cannot tell you how many parties I have been afraid to attend because I was ashamed of my “job status” at the time. Everyone starts somewhere. Quietly carve out a life you love on your own terms.
5. Contrary to what everyone says, I do not think you should always wear sunscreen. Do this instead: go to the pool, beach, front yard, roof- wherever, on the hottest day of the year wearing no sunscreen. Turn yourself around every 20-30 minutes like a rotisserie chicken. After the sun dies down around 3pm and your body is fully dehydrated, go shower and wait. Stand in front of the mirror to find your skin now matches the red shirt you had planned to wear out that night. Lay in bed, not able to wear or touch anything other than the flimsy sheet that covers you and the bag of frozen peas you are now cooking with your hot skin. Repeat this once or twice in the coming years—you will start to notice the sunspots appearing on your chest at 24. Then and only then, will you really learn how important sunscreen really is.
6. Write things down. Keep a journal on your bedside table– (Highly recommend The 5 Minute Journal). Your memory will fade, but nothing beats looking back —you’ll be surprised at how much good you forget.
7. Life is hard– everyone knows that. Though no one really tells you how utterly terrible and brutal it can be and I wish they had. Awful, terrible things are going to happen around you and to the people you care about most. You will find sometimes the worst things happen to the best people and you will learn that you will never be able to work out the sorting system for tragedy or who gets allocated what, when. With that said, there is a strange sense of relief when you accept that sadness and grief is inevitable and there’s no way to avoid it but to continue to stare down that fear with your unrelenting love and hope for life.
8. But there’s light and happiness coming your way too. There will be holidays and birthdays in rooms and homes too small for the size of your family and friends. There will weddings and conga lines. First kisses and slaphappy Sunday’s. Cotton candy sunsets in places you don’t even know exist yet. There will be newfound friends and loves, pay raises and really good haircuts. There will be dinners with loved ones that last far after the meal is finished. There will be nights that turn into mornings and apartment dance parties that end in tear-filled laugh attacks. There will be road trips, forehead kisses and sweaty palms from holding hands for too long. Be present in every moment.
9. At one point or another, you will lose your friends to love– This will most likely be your first love. You will learn this the hard way, but the good ones always come back.
10. With that said, keep the people you love close to you. Make an effort, put in the time and care for these relationships. Take the 30 minute train ride to visit Mom and Dad at home, plan a girl’s night, call your best friend from high school and catch up over coffee or drinks—reminiscing will leave you both with tear stained cheeks after laughing so hard. Only with age will you be able to appreciate their worth and realize they are the best investment in your life.
11. The first time you do something kind for someone who cannot repay you is the first time you realize that giving love will bring you infinitely more joy than trying to receive love. You can still be generous even when you have little.