A Checklist for 20

Look people in the eye. Chin up.   Quit calling yourself awkward. Be undecided. Be certain. Wear more lipstick. You have things to say, so write them. Every day. Improve your posture. See things for what they are. Walk slowly. Stop comparing yourself. You do not have to be exceptional. You do not have to know everything. Positive self-talk. And lots of it. Know that everyone is walking around blind. Realize that it’s okay to be sad. Let yourself cry, not only in the shower. Know that it’s also okay to be happy, to glow, to radiate.  Don’t apologize for yourself. Wear whatever the heck you want. Appreciate how hard your parents worked so that you can write stories. Thank them for car insurance. Find friends who value you. Get rid of the ones who don’t. Read the best books. Love your life. Love yourself. Do yoga. Take naps. Don’t live life in metaphors. Or photographs. When people tell you to change your major, argue with them.  Tell them that you hate football. Tell them that you really really hate football. Let yourself get excited about things. Learn. Never ever lessen yourself. Be better. Be present.

One day you’ll be 30 and 40 and 50, and you will forget 20. Lines will soften and edges will blur, and you will only know yourself at the age you currently are. Fight against it. Hold onto 20. Experience it. Feel it. Wear it out like a favorite sweater, a hole-ridden pair of socks, a beloved pair of shoes. Sometimes 20 won’t be fantastic. There will be days when you’ll still feel like a child, and people will let you be lonely, and the shower will be out of hot water to wash away your tears, but know that 20 is something special anyway. Because sometimes, 20 will be good. You don’t know how yet, but it will be. Know that 20 will make you. The bad friends and loneliness and happiness and confusion and good books and beautiful songs will make you. So let them.

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