I started out this week's missive by trying to think of things I wished I had been told. You know, like, don't eat anything with mayonnaise form a gas station. But, then I realized that someone probably did tell me that, along with warnings about every other stupid thing I've ever done. Which made me realize, it's not about what people tell you, it's about what you listen to. So, without further ado:
Five Things You Probably Told Me, But I Was Busy Being Stupid
(Hey, at least I learned it eventually.)
1. You never know - I don't know how many times I've heard this and the upshot is that you just never know what's going to happen. You don't know if you'll be alive tomorrow, if people you love will be alive tomorrow, if we'll all be invaded by aliens or if the Earth will suddenly swing off orbit and drift away from the sun. Make plans, but never be too rigid. You can't possibly prepare for everything, but be as prepared as you can. Don't ever feel bad about the turn of events your life has taken. Roll with it.
2. It's never as bad as you anticipate - If you had looked at the fresh-faced, sparkly 18 year old me and told me everything looming in my future, I would have cried. I wouldn't have thought I was strong enough. But it comes in little pieces and it hurts, but as Kelly Clarkson was screaming on my radio this morning, it just makes you stronger. Just in time for the next disaster, sometimes, but whatevs. I'm stronger today than yesterday and I'll be stronger still tomorrow. That's how it works, a little at a time. And that way, the hurt is all manageable.
3. Enjoy it all - So many things I wish I enjoyed more. I wish I had never once worried about my weight as a teenager or a young adult, or heck last week. I wish I had gone out every time I was asked. I wish I had seen every movie, gone to every party, took every trip. I wish I had never cried over spilt milk or worried obsessively about my lack of fingernails or my pointy ears or whether my butt looked big. Just enjoy. Because you don't ever want your prom memories to involve getting so upset over being ditched by your date that you throw up in the restroom. Or your college memories to involve going back multiple times to the guy who made you feel like trash because you secretly suspected no one else would ever want you. Just rock it, right now, no matter what it is.
4. You Can't Anticipate Memories - But while we're on the subject, don't worry too much about the memories you're making. Live for the now and it'll all come out in the end. Let me tell you a story: When I was 19, I had the opportunity to spend almost a month in London. It was exquisite and I loved every moment. But I packed every morsel of interesting stuff I could into those days. I went to every site and wandered the streets and ate at places that honestly freaked me out a little. I played Hearts in pubs with little old me and took tea in a department store. But honestly, my best memory of the whole trip is splitting a gallon of screwdrivers with some friends on the way to Oxford and then later, Windsor Castle. I giggled and guffawed my way through a giant portrait of Lewis Carroll and a gold plated ceiling worth the national gross product of several small nations. Then I felt guilty. Because I thought I would never remember those places correctly. I do. I also remember some of the best friends I've ever had and one of the best days of my life.
5. Don't worry - Most of all, if I could send out one message to the world, it would be this: quit stressing. It'll do what it does and there's very little that worry can accomplish. Do your best, fight your hardest, give your most and then get out of the way.
What about you: Any advice to which you wish you had listened?