on tuesday i drank lunch with a little girl who isn’t little anymore. i think of her as little because she’s a dozen years younger than i am and when i met her she was stripper age but didn’t strip but loved going to strip clubs and doing blow and she reminded me of a younger me, except taller and blonder with bluer eyes and whiter teeth and nicer parents and a midwestern accent. she doesn’t remind me of me anymore. she seems bigger than me in her gargantuan house in lakeway with two kids and two dogs and a husband i adore that she can manipulate with three magic words (the words aren’t “i love you” and they aren’t “let’s have sex” and therefore i’m not sure what the three magic words are because they are her magic words that she keeps secret). i’ve been thinking of her since i hugged her goodbye, thinking of her wearing her yoga pants and driving her lincoln navigator (because a cadillac escalade would be too flashy) and feeding her kids goji berries and wondering what she’s going to do with the rest of her life. she’s at that age—the wondering what am i going to do with the rest of my life age—and that age can happen at any time to anyone and it’s happening to her right now, has been happening to her since i met her. i’ve played with and against the “what am i going to do with the rest of my life?” question. the question wins. so do i. i figure it doesn’t matter what i do with my life if i feel okay about my day when i lay down at night but it has taken me decades of days and decades of sleepless nights to work that one out.
i feel okay with my days even though i can’t sleep when i lay down at night. i want to do more and i want to do less. i want to be more effective and have more free time. generally i feel productive, like i’m making at least a small difference to a few people and the laundry is done, the cats eat fancy feast, and nobody’s bleeding. i measure my success each day by whether i wrote a page of fiction, if i walked or ran at least five miles, if i ate two or more servings of fruits and vegetables, if i made some money, if i helped someone, if i told at least three people i love that i love them. some days i only accomplish the last item on the list, but since the last item is the most important, every day still qualifies as a success.
whatever you do with the rest of your life beginning today, please let yourself be a little happier while you’re doing it. please give yourself more credit for your effort and your success. please apply the lessons learned from the mistakes. please remember it’s okay to fuck up, it’s okay to have tough days, it’s okay to barely survive the rough years. please enjoy more moments, eat with your hands, lick your fingers, and remember to breathe. please give more hugs and smile more often because you’re funny inside your own head. go ahead and laugh outloud when you have the dumb idea that calling your ex is something you wanna do (and then don’t call). when in doubt, go for a walk around the block or take a nap. drink more water. eat less junk food but savor the junk food that you put in your mouthhole. be kind, especially to yourself. you get the idea. live your life. you’re doing great. seriously, you got this. i believe in you.