1. Other people’s thoughts are none of your business. A philosophy professor will inform you of this when you are in college, don’t just take it with a grain of salt. This is transformative advice. Not only are other people’s thoughts none of your business, but even when they are about you – they are rarely about you. They are usually about them.
2. You can’t please everyone, so stop trying. People will react to you in all kinds of ways, depending on what aspect of them you are hitting a cord with. Don’t worry about it, because you can’t control it. Just do your very best to operate from a place of integrity.
3. Don’t worry about anything. Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want. It’s bad juju. This applies to others as well, especially if you are “worrying” about them out loud. (Gossip.) If you feel concern, do what you can about it, then let it go.
4. Do whatever makes your heart feel light and time fly by. That’s the big trick. Following these things will lead you to your truest heart’s desire. If you are having a hard time finding things that have this effect, just try all the things that capture your attention. Don’t worry about “sticking” with anything, when you find your thing it’ll stick to you.
5. Find gratitude wherever you can, and sit with it. Especially when times are hard, and ooooh boy will there be hard times. It sounds trite, I know. The thing is though; clichés exist because things are repeated over and over until they become trite. We repeat things when they are true.
6. Those hard times can make you stronger and funnier, or they can make you a self-pitying hot mess. Of course the memory of being a self-pitying hot mess can lead to even more strength, and even more humor… It’s pretty hard to lose here, but the choice is yours and you can make the switch whenever you please. It’s all a matter of perspective.
7. When hard events happen you must process them before attempting a positive outlook. Putting a rose on top of a pile of shite isn’t going to make it smell sweet. Things need to be broken down in order to regenerate on a strong foundation. Process your emotions, feel them to their fullest, talk about them, write about them, draw about them, get them the hell out of you. (This only counts when sober.) Once they’re out, keep them out. Do not willingly stay a victim. It’s silly and a horrible way to receive attention.
8. You are so friggin’ hot right now! Stop looking in the mirror and wishing that you were as skinny as so-in-so! Your gravity-defying boobs are going to succumb to natural forces, you will grow hairs in strange places, and they weren’t lying – the facial expressions you make over and over really do stick. You will be more beautiful in many other ways, but there are certain bits of physical beauty that are only with you for a time, enjoy them now.
9. If a boy acts like he doesn’t care all that much about you, it’s because he doesn’t. He isn’t afraid of his emotions. He isn’t just going through a hard time and really busy because blah blah blah. He won’t fall for you if he really gets to know you. Dude’s not into you – he’s probably not even able to really see you because his own image is blocking the way. Move on honey, from this whole entire type, they are everywhere. Give the ones making gooooogly eyes atcha a shot.
10. Never make excuses, for others or for yourself. Always do your very best, and expect it from those around you. Apologize when you fuck up (which you will, lots).
11. Speak up when you are hurt or disappointed. Your feelings are valid, and your thoughts are valid. If they run from you when they know how feel, why would want them with you?
12. Listen to that tiny wise voice. It whispers that you are enough, it hints that you are infinitely loved, it sighs that some things really aren’t self-serving, it nudges you toward some random and sometimes very intimidating experiences. It knows what’s up, I totally swear.
13. Start meditating now. It will transform the entire landscape of your mind, making life so sooo much more pleasant. It will seem boring at first, really boring. Keep going. Do walking meditation, use meditation music, observe your mind whenever you can (easier when doing busy-tasks). I swear to JTT, it’ll change everything.
14. You are different, stop trying to be the same. You aren’t like them, they aren’t even like them. Folks just try (some more successfully than others) to be “normal” until they are ready to really be who they are. Guess what, when we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all “weird”, and it’s really very beautiful.
15. Everyone is on their own path, and they are right where they should be. If you don’t understand why someone behaves or thinks the way they do, know that it’s alright. Everyone is learning about different experiences and growing in their own way. If it bugs you, just don’t hang around ’em.
16. I love you. Thank you for making me, me.
P.S. When you’re twenty you will get the urge to dye your hair dark brown over your dorm room sink – don’t, your hair will turn green!