1. There will be several days that you daydream about stepping in front of a city bus. Don’t. It will not be beautiful. It will not be brave. It will be selfish. It will be broken. Your mother will cry.
2. Don’t write for him. Write for you. Write for others like you. Write so the girl that thinks about stepping in front of public transportation doesn’t. Don’t be selfish.
3. When you will yourself to sleep and it doesn’t come- get up. It doesn’t matter that it’s 3 am. There will be other 3 am’s. Take a shower. Take two. Wash him out of your hair. Write a poem. Read the same book you’ve read 202 times again. The 203rd time might tell you something different. Don’t stay in bed- you will think about the bus again.
4. Don’t kiss him because he’s broken. Don’t kiss him because his laughter never reaches his eyes. Don’t try and fix him. Fix yourself first. Be selfish. He can’t save you.
5. Date yourself. Take yourself out to eat. Don’t share your popcorn at the movies with anyone. Stroll around an art museum alone. Fall in love with canvases. Fall in love with yourself.
6. Dress up and wear red lipstick and get drunk with your friends. They’re the ones that will pick you up. Don’t kiss him. Or him. Don’t fall asleep on strange couches with strange boys. When his hand slides up your dress walk away. Hit him. Don’t kiss him. He can’t save you.
7. Get another tattoo. Get five more. Get another hole in your ear. Don’t listen to your dad. You will still be able to get a job. Did you really want to be employed by someone like your father? Haven’t you had enough of judgmental old white men anyway? Get fuck you tattooed in tiny letters on your hip.
8. When you feel the yearning for a new city- start over. Take 200 bucks and a three suitcases. Work anywhere that will have you. Meet strange people and forget your name. Call yourself Ruby. No one will know the difference. Remember to call your mother. Don’t be selfish. Come home when you find yourself in the strangers and the small one bedroom apartment.
9. Don’t whisper evil things into your own ear. Other people are going to shout them at you. Be your own hero. Keep a sword on your key ring.
10. Don’t step in front of a city bus. It will not be beautiful. Live. Stay up all night with a boy that promises you everything and means it. Live. See shitty local bands with a friend. Wear a different band’s t-shirt. No one will care. Live. Have a baby girl with tiny fingers and tiny toes someday. Pour love into her until it’s overflowing. Live. Wake up. Staying in bed all day is not poetic.
Do you hear that? It’s me. It’s your life. Wake up."
25 Things To Do Before You Turn 25
1. Make peace with your parents. Whether you finally recognize that they actually have your best interests in mind or you forgive them for being flawed human beings, you can’t happily enter adulthood with that familial brand of resentment.
2. Kiss someone you think is out of your league; kiss models and med students and entrepreneurs with part-time lives in Dubai and don’t worry about if they’re going to call you afterward.
3. Minimize your passivity.
4. Work a service job to gain some understanding of how tipping works, how to keep your cool around assholes, how a few kind words can change someone’s day.
5. Recognize freedom as a 5:30 a.m. trip to the diner with a bunch of strangers you’ve just met.
6. Try not to beat yourself up over having obtained a ‘useless’ Bachelor’s Degree. Debt is hell, and things didn’t pan out quite like you expected, but you did get to go to college, and having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world to have. We will figure this mess out, I think, probably; the point is you’re not worth less just because there hasn’t been an immediate pay off for going to school. Be patient, work with what you have, and remember that a lot of us are in this together.
7. If you’re employed in any capacity, open a savings account. You never know when you might be unemployed or in desperate need of getting away for a few days. Even $10 a week is $520 more a year than you would’ve had otherwise.
8. Make a habit of going outside, enjoying the light, relearning your friends, forgetting the internet.
9. Go on a 4-day, brunch-fueled bender.
10. Start a relationship with your crush by telling them that you want them. Directly. Like, look them in the face and say it to them. Say, I want you. I want to be with you.
11. Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun.
12. Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won’t be.
13. Find a hobby that makes being alone feel lovely and empowering and like something to look forward to.
14. Think you know yourself until you meet someone better than you.
15. Forget who you are, what your priorities are, and how a person should be.
16. Identify your fears and instead of letting them dictate your every move, find and talk to people who have overcome them. Don’t settle for experiencing .000002% of what the world has to offer because you’re afraid of getting on a plane.
17. Make a habit of cleaning up and letting go. Just because it fit at one point doesn’t mean you need to keep it forever — whether ‘it’ is your favorite pair of pants or your ex.
18. Stop hating yourself.
19. Go out and watch that movie, read that book, listen to that band you already lied about watching, reading, listening to.
20. Take advantage of health insurance while you have it.
21. Make a habit of telling people how you feel, whether it means writing a gushing fan-girl email to someone whose work you love or telling your boss why you deserve a raise.
22. Date someone who says, “I love you” first.
23. Leave the country under the premise of “finding yourself.” This will be unsuccessful. Places do not change people. Instead, do a lot of solo drinking, read a lot of books, have sex in dirty hostels, and come home when you start to miss it.
24. Suck it up and buy a Macbook Pro.
25. Quit that job that’s making you miserable, end the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic, lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you’re perpetually on the verge of vomiting. You’re young, you’re resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you’re patient and open."
Birthdays. Setting fires. Holding hands. Making stew on cold nights. Mountain climbing. Sleep. First dates. Vacation. Spending the day in bed. Buying wedding rings. Exploring a forest. Playing peekaboo with a baby. Watching someone smile genuinely. Camping. Stargazing. Counting rings on a tree. Realizing that someone loves you. Returning that love. Getting drunk for the first time. Smell of old books. Looking through black & white photos. Learning your ancestors’ names. Laughter. Hot chocolate. The feeling of getting back up after falling down. First day of college. Last day of college. Acing a job interview. Screwing one up and realizing it’s not the end of the world. Collecting shells. Sunbathing. Listening to someone’s heartbeat. Sound of waves crashing against shore. Rain hitting a tin roof. Heartbreak that turns into heart-healing. Your own house. Decorating that house. Coming home to someone you love. Hearing the sound of their footsteps on the stairs. Honesty of fall leaves. Their colors. Fresh snowfall. Singing favorite songs off-key. Seeing love come into someone’s eyes. Watching your parents look at each other like the very first time. Sunrise. Sunset. The way fire burns into ash. Smell of a campire. Waking up with light spilling over the sheets. Breakfast in bed. Living long enough to watch wounds heal over. Change. Wilderness. Forgiveness. Change some more. More change. Spring. Flowers blooming, opening up like you can. Good memories. Learning how to forget bad ones. Warm feet in a cold bed. Sleeping with the only person you care about. Waking up to their mouth and arms. Smiles that reach all the way to the eyes. Letting go of balloons like dead weight. Floating in water on your back. Skydiving. Risk. Adventure. First C on a test. First A. Favorite teacher. First poem. Last poem. Holidays with family. Roadtrips. Changing the sheets. Your father’s gnarled hands when he grows old. Grandchildren. Children of your own. Their first day of college. Their graduation. Their wedding. Anniversaries. Making daisy chains. Smell of freshly-cut grass. Pride. Feeling good about yourself. Loving what’s in the mirror. Not being afraid anymore. No more heaviness. No more grief. Survival. Picking berries til your fingers are stained dark. Frost on windows. Holding someone without sex. Sex with love. The joy of swearing. Counting the years you’ve lived. Another candle on the birthday cake. Another mark of victory. That bellyache laugh that hurts all over. But hurts so good. Breath freezing in winter. Feeling that breath on your skin. Someone’s eyelashes blinking into your palm. Accomplishment. Self-worth. Love. Triumph. Sitting under willow trees without weeping. Apologies that get accepted. Understanding that comes from forgiveness. First fight. First makeup afterward. Less hurt. More good.