One. Sometime’s crying’s a really good thing. It gets results. Like when I was a baby and my hips were fucking with me. I cried. A lot. And eventually, the doctors figured out why and fixed it.
Two. Some doctors actually give a shit about their patients. Find a good one. And cling. So what if he’s not in your network. He’s good to you.
Three. Brothers are nifty. Play!
Four. It’s okay to move around in life. Sure, you’ll miss people. But you’ll meet people, too. And maybe in moving, the ones you’ll meet will be the ones who can help you when the world’s more turbulent.
Five. Those play carpets on the Kindergarten room floor (Do they even make those anymore? Because all I remember of my Kindergarten class is my teacher and the hopscotch blocks on the carpet). Anyway. It can’t all be fun and games. It shouldn’t be.
Six. It’s great to have girlfriends. Never, NEVER take them for granted.
Seven. So you can’t hit a ball very well. Or throw it. Big deal. You can run really fast. And maybe they won’t pick you first for dodgeball. But cat and mouse… that’s a different game entirely.
Eight. Boys ARE stupid. But don’t throw rocks at them.
Nine. Never be ashamed to share your talent. Yeah, they’re all staring at you. And yeah, they may laugh at you if you screw it up. But there’s that small chance of success. And maybe you’ll surprise them instead.
Ten. The number of people who do or don’t come to see you while you’re in the hospital… this shouldn’t mean much. Numbers have a way of lying. It’s not how many people care for you. It’s how they care.
Eleven. There are too many teachers out there who can’t be bothered to teach. Don’t be one of them (And yall, we’re ALL teachers in some way). Don’t let one of them negatively influence your self-worth.
Twelve. People are gonna be mean to you. Don’t be mean to them. And don’t let them win. You can let it hurt. You can cry about it. You can let them knock the wind out of you. But get up afterward. Get up.
Thirteen. Sometimes a fresh box of crayons and a new coloring book are the best remedy.
Fourteen. Size matters not. It doesn’t–I’ve got a poster of Yoda saying so. Like when you’re standing on the blocks and the girls to your right and left are lots taller and much more muscular? Maybe they’ll win. Maybe. But it’s passion that gets you through the water. And anger? Sometimes she’s the best motivator.
Fifteen. Brothers can also be a HUGE nuisance. Punch them if you need to. Like when one’s charging up a flight of stairs, red-faced and sobbing from anguish (admittedly because you hit him where you shouldn’t have). By all means, aim the heel of that boot at his forehead. Don’t worry about the grandfather clock your great uncle constructed from scratch that’s on the landing. It’ll be alright. Boundaries have to be set. Firmly.
Sixteen. Don’t let a boy get his hands on you unless you really crave the boy, the touch. Not because you need to be touched, but because you want to be.
Seventeen. If you want something, don’t wait around for someone to give it to you. Go. Get it.
Eighteen. Sometimes mama has really good ideas. Don’t be so quick to shrug them off because they’re hers.
Nineteen. Sure, reading’s important. But so are your studies. Your professors assign a text because something about it has merit. Be curious; find out what it is.
Twenty. People will be wrong about you. You will know it in your gut. Do your best to prove them wrong. Don’t give in. Don’t assume because you can’t accomplish a task quickly enough, because you haven’t succeeded yet that they are right. They aren’t.
Twenty-One. You don’t need alcohol to have a good time. In fact, if you’re relying on that stuff to make a moment memorable, ask yourself why you’re in that moment in the first place.
Twenty-Two. You don’t need to drink twelve Cokes in a day. Yes, they taste good. Yes, they will make you fat. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon…
Twenty-Three. When you have that strong impulse to cut all your hair off SHORT (to be read, buzz-cut), the urge WILL pass. Let it. Because growing your hair out again… that’s not fun.
Twenty-Four. And hair-dye? Bleach? It’s okay to have fun with color. But don’t go crazy with it. And when I say crazy, I mean bleaching it, then dying it black three weeks later.
Twenty-Five. Be careful with love. She’s tricky; she wears all sorts of masks just to trip you up. Try not to confuse one for another. Try not to stumble.
Twenty-Six. When you do, forgive yourself. It’s gonna happen. Blaming yourself for being clumsy ain’t gonna help you heal.
Twenty-Seven. Single roses are better than a dozen of’m. And simple flowers are SO, SO much better than fancy ones. Ranunculus, girls. Ranunculus means You’re radiant with charms. Who wouldn’t want to get those??
Twenty-Eight. If you think you may be losing the boy, you’ve already lost him. Let him go.
Twenty-Nine. Speeding is dumb. You’re not gonna get there that much faster. You will, however, stand a good chance of catching the attention of that highway patrolman you just passed going sixty-five in a forty-five. So it’s a straight shot from points A to B. So the road’s wide and well-maintained, and wonder of wonders, you’ve got it all to yourself (or so you think). So it’s a BEAUTIFUL day out. So you’re late to work. That trooper? He’s not gonna care about any of that. (And let’s not hate on the guy who calls you out for your doing wrong, yeah? Own your mistakes, people.) That ticket? You’re not gonna like paying it, and your insurance company’s not gonna like that you were so stupid.
Thirty. Sometimes death is a blessing. My older brother? I would not want to see him waste away. I would not want to watch alcoholism make him uglier and uglier. It’s like what Annelle says in Steel Magnolias: she will always be young; she will always be beautiful.
Thirty-One. Don’t live beyond your means. And don’t go for the flash (I mean this literally and figuratively, yall). It’s called flash for a reason.
Thirty-Two. Horrible bosses are everywhere. If you love the work, if you’re confident in your ability to do the job well… don’t let an evil bastard distort your view of the workplace. Buck up. Focus on the work, not the workers.
Thirty-Three. It’s okay to take a day and do nothing. But just one. Not several in a row.
Thirty-Four. Kicking the nicotine habit’s a bitch. But it can be done. The money you’ll save in dental work alone is worth the effort to quit.
Thirty-Five. It’s easy to hide in your room, just you and your computer. And yes, sometimes the quiet is necessary. But so is the chaos that comes when you’re out there, interacting with the world.
Thirty-Six. Friends are supposed to make you feel good about yourself. Not great, not grand. But not small or insignificant, either. If you ever feel as though you are less than special around one of them… if there ever comes a time, no matter the moment, where you don’t feel comfortable in that friend’s presence, for whatever reason, don’t sit on it so that it’s stewing and simmering. Don’t think that it’s nothing. It’s something to you. Something should be said. Soon. And if that friend can’t respect you for having the decency to stand up for yourself, for saying I don’t appreciate this… then that person’s not that good a friend. Also… stop unfriending people on Facebook. Grow up. They’re your friends. Love them, despite their differences. You’ll be better for it in the long run, and so will they.
Thirty-Seven. Speaking of Cokes… it IS possible to limit your carbonated, caffeinated beverage intake to three per year. I highly recommend striving to reach such a seemingly lofty goal. Once you have achieved it, don’t go back to the routine.
Thirty-Eight. Forty-five minutes is much too long to wait for a dinner date. Twenty tops. If he’s not there by then, he’s not a man you need to know. I only say this because you may be tempted to sit at the bar and drink a couple of martinis while you wait–sounds like a good idea. Yall, nothing, NOTHING good will come of that.
Thirty-Nine. On a date, never split the check.
Forty. This milestone… the big four-oh? It sucks. I’m not a fan. Just be aware. Thirty? it’s got nothing on forty. NOTHING. Forty’s when your body starts saying, Okay, you can stop now.
Originally published November fifth and sixth, ‘thirteen.