Being honest is one of the most difficult and most important things you will have to do in life. And being honest doesn’t just count when there is something in it for you; it doesn’t only count when it will be of consequence to someone else and not to you. If you value someone or something, being truthful to them, to it and to yourself is necessary. Always.
The economy sucks and there are no jobs and you will find so many reasons to give up on your passion and settle for a life that is steady. Don’t. Not yet. Don’t stop trying, anyway. Work the barista job, the receptionist job, the cashier job. Those jobs will teach you a lot about yourself and about other people. Those jobs will teach you humility, they will teach you life skills, they are a stepping stone on the way to somewhere else. Don’t get stuck. Get creative. Fight. There is still time. There is room enough in this world for you but you have to dig out the space yourself.
Friends are important. Make time for them. Family is important. Make time for them, too. Don’t forget to tell them that you love them. Thank your mom for buying you that ugly coat you’d never wear because it means she was thinking of you. Wear it just to make her happy. Sacrifice a Saturday to help your friend move. Give to them without expecting anything in return. You’ll always be busy. But you’ll always be grateful to have good people in your life. In the end you won’t ever feel like you got to spend enough time with them. So take advantage of the time you do have.
Life is too short to spend any time at all with any person, friend or family or co-worker or boss or acquaintance or boyfriend or girlfriend, who makes your soul heavy. It’s okay to remove those people from your life. It is okay to make those choices for yourself. Don’t change yourself to fit someone else. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
You can do anything, but not everything. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to shift gears and to shift priorities when you need to. No one who really cares about you is going to fault you for this.
Get out of your comfort zone. Do things that scare you. Nothing will feel so exhilarating as conquering your fears. It can be as small as going to a movie alone, as big as moving to a new country alone. Because these are the hardest things you’ll have to do, that is where everything you want is hiding. Don’t be reckless. Be brave.
Go see live music. As often as possible. Standing in a crowd of strangers, all completely different, all singing and dancing along to the same music, all moving as one, all living in the same moment, releasing positive energy… there is real magic in that. Magic you can feel and see and hear if you stop and look and listen hard enough. Music should be a comfort to you, but it can also be miraculous.
Say yes. Stay out late sometimes. Drink a little too much, dance with your friends, laugh. Wear heels that are too high and your favorite party dress to dinner. Say no. Stay in sometimes. Go to sleep early. Or stay up late reading or writing or singing along really loud to your favorite records and dancing around your room or just binge-watching your favorite TV shows on Netflix. Cook for yourself. Drink tea and wear cozy pajamas.You don’t have to be the girl who stays in or the girl who goes out. You can be both. Being both is good for you.
Wake up early. Wake up at 3 p.m. Eat a salad. Eat a brownie. Do yoga. Stay on the couch all day. Be serious. Be silly. Do all of the above. Do what feels right. It’s okay to treat yourself. It’s okay to take a break.
Nothing really great happens overnight. Everything good in this world requires growth, work, sacrifice. Patience is a virtue for a reason; because it is hard to watch other people making waves and getting promotions and being in love and flying out to the country you most want to see in this world. But all the things those people have, they also worked for. You don’t see other people’s struggles, only their successes. Keep working hard. Keep being open to the world. The results will come. Worrying will get you nowhere. Trust in yourself. Trust in life. It has a funny way of working itself out. I’m still learning this one, the hard way, every day. But I think with 25 I’m finally getting closer.
You can’t live every day like it’s your last. It’s a lovely sentiment, but it’s also total bull. Some days you’ll have the flu and other days you’ll have to go to the post office or do your laundry. There are doctor’s appointments and work meetings, standing on line at the DMV. Every day can’t be grand. But every day can be beautiful, in its own way. If you try to live with kindness and with purpose and you try to go out there and make a difference in your little corner of the world for yourself and for the people around you. Because that trying is what’s really important. That purpose is what makes a life worth living.