- Stop worrying about your age. You're getting older. You can't control it. People like to use it as an excuse to not do things like travel, or start a new career, or grow their hair out, or buy Juicy Couture sweatpants that look remarkably cute on your forty-two-year-old butt. Don't fall into that "I'm too old" trap. The next stop after "getting older" is "death." Do it now. Buy the sweatpants.
- Stop getting worked up over people you can't control. Yes, Donald Trump says some pretty offensive and stupid things. You can get mad and yell at the television and rant online and write him an e-mail telling him he's offensive and stupid. You can get mad at people who ignore or disagree with your online ranting. You can burn Trump in effigy on your lawn. You know what that will change? Not a thing. Trump will continue to say offensive and stupid things. Should that affect your life? Not at all. Worry about you—and by that, I mean try not to say offensive and stupid things, and don't vote for someone you dislike so much—because the only person in this world you can control is you.
- If the book stinks, stop reading it. If you're reading a novel and it hasn't captured your interest by page thirty, stop reading it. (Yes, even if I wrote it.) The world will not end. Baby seals will not die a grisly death because you put the book down and went off in search of a more interesting book. Life is short. Don't waste it on uninteresting words.
- Recognize the difference between "I can't" and "I won't." You can choose to leave your stable-yet-you-hate-your-boss job and open up a used bookstore. You won't, because it's a risk, and you're too scared of not having a roof over your head. I'm not saying you should quit your job and follow Phish across the country. I'm just asking you to recognize that it's possible to do it, and sometimes, it's worth the risk, even if what you get out of it is the realization that living out of your car kind of sucks and Phish gets old after a while. You'll feel pretty amazing knowing you did something you'd always wanted to instead of wasting your life dreaming of doing it, and you'll have some great stories to tell.
- Hair grows. A bad haircut is not the end of the world. Instead of getting out of bed in the morning and criticizing your appearance, put a cute hat on and get on with your day. The bad haircut will pass. Don't waste time beating yourself (or your hairdresser) up over it.
- Stop blaming your parents. Perhaps your parents didn't love you enough. Please recognize that this is entirely subjective. Mine did not buy me an Atari; they did not install my own phone line in the house when my BFF Carrie got one; they did not give me a car when I turned sixteen. This does not make them horrible people. Even if it did, here's the thing: your past will not change. It's how you react to your past and deal with it that needs to change. Here's what my parents taught me: if you want something, work for it. And when I was able to save up enough money for an Atari, I didn't want one anymore. I used the money for a new purse instead, because my parents did instill in me some weird behavioral patterns, like hoarding purses. (Okay, that one is probably not Dad.) Is my mother to blame for my closet stuffed with purses? Nope. I bought the purses. I control how I react to Mom's purse-purchasing habit. Also, Mom and my sister and I can now swap purses.
If you take nothing else from this, please just remember to stop worrying so much about what everyone else is doing/thinking/feeling and live your life. And for the love of all things holy, put down that crappy book.