It feels rather unfamiliar to write a letter to you, considering that it doesn’t happen very often. But you and I are at a crazy kind of crossroads, and this set of circumstances seems like as good a time as any to set things straight. I’ve always been extremely candid with you about life so I’m going to give it to you straight and then we can work through it together. Okay? Here goes:
You are a grown-up lady now.
Now, now. Don’t start kicking and screaming. I know it certainly doesn’t feel like it. You get carded every time you buy a movie ticket, and the heels you wore for graduation reminded you of dress-up clothes. But it’s the truth. You’re a college graduate, you have a car, an apartment and you know how to put on eyeliner. Starting August 20, you’ll be living on your own permanently for the very first time—no roommate, parents, or tourists. Just you. And maybe a plant. You’re going to be a graduate student. You’re going to have students of your own, and even though you’re taking classes too, they’re special classes for grown-up smart people. Which means you must be one too. Don’t get mad at me, I’m just presenting the facts. I don’t know how this happened either, but it did, and now we have to accept the truth and move on. Do you think you can calm down, take deep breaths and get on the grown-up lady train? You do? EXCELLENT.
So. I’ve given it some thought, polled a few of your friends, and I’ve come up with a couple things you might want to keep in mind as you start on your life as a grown-up lady. Just so you can survive on your own, and grow into an ever more gracious, composed, badass individual.
- You should probably buy an iron. Up until this point you’ve gotten away with throwing things in the dryer, using wrinkle spray or, on drastic occasions, hanging your clothes in the bathroom while you shower. This is a college student thing to do. You are now a professional person, and a grad student at that. So buy a damn iron and use it. Sheesh.
- Watch where you’re going. Seriously, you need to look both ways before you cross the street. Ophelia Fedora, Liz Fudge and Curlicue Jones all mentioned your penchant for dodging traffic. You’re like Grandmother Fa, but lucky crickets don’t always work. So, PAY ATTENTION. Don’t cause havoc in your small Chinese village just because you have faith. Faith can only get you so far. Look left, then right.
- Give blood. It’s like jury duty, but you’re finished much more quickly and you usually get ice cream and a free t-shirt. Which leads me to my next point—
- Eat all the colors of the rainbow. This does not mean all the m&m colors, either. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Take a vitamin. Spinach is good for you. Carrots are better. I’m not saying you suddenly have to start eating beets, but variety is the spice of life, and don’t let it rot in your fridge. Make sure you have a constant supply of ginger ale and gum. Also carrots and cheese. And coffee. And tea. These things are the food of champions. Rule #76—play like a champion.
- Stop at lemonade stands. Remember how cool it was when you were a kid when someone stopped at your lemonade stand? Granted, they had no choice because you were standing in front of their car, but it was awesome. So stop for some lemonade. Every single time. You’ll feel better, I promise.
- Sleep=good. Ophelia, Liz and Curlicue have taken good care of you for years and have sent you to bed whenever you get cranky. They, in their infinite wisdom, have reminded you to take regular naps and get a good night’s rest every single night. Heed them, or you will rue the day. RUE I TELL YOU. So sleep. There is only one Wonder Woman and you are not she. Know your limits and give yourself a break sometimes.
- If you don’t know, ask. Or look it up. Admitting defeat is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength blah blah blah. Be strong and head to an encyclopedia. Your chosen career is in research—play to your strengths. READ like the mad crazy library lady who is lurking inside of you—you can’t know everything, but you can try. Added bonus—you’ll become knowledgeable when people are talking about the Greek economy, Norse mythology or kitchen appliances. You always joke that you’re going to become the foremost expert on women’s sewing needles from the 18th century—what if you actually did know a ton about them?
- Take time to be alone. As Ophelia says, you are a secret introvert. Give yourself time to decompress and rejuvenate. Similarly, it’s okay to say no. If you don’t feel like going out or doing something, don’t. Sometimes, though, you should, so you don’t become a hermit. And only invite people over if you DO feel it. You can leave, but you can’t make other people leave. Cricket is adamant on this point, and she is wise. So listen to her. And listen to yourself. You know what you need more than anyone else.
- Learn names and send cards. Let people know when you appreciate them, that you miss them, and most of all, that you care about them. Be that person who remembers.
- Be present. Be grateful. Be kind. Take time every day to remember who you are, where you come from and what you believe. It will make everything else so much nicer. Grow magic and scatter joy.
See, that was not painful AT ALL. I told you we’d get through this together. So hang on, honey. We’re in for a wild and crazy ride, but it’s going to be SO MUCH FUN. Being a grown-up lady may take some getting used to, but deep down, nothing has changed. You’re still the kid who believes in fairies, names every squirrel she sees and thinks that playing on the swings counts as a workout. We run this ship. Anchors aweigh.
P.S. “The world is your playground. Why aren’t you playing?” –Ellie Katz
P.P.S. To all of my friends and former roommates, this is for you.
P.P.S. (Last one, I promise.) All usage of GIFS inspired by my lovely snark-sister, Natalie Babble, who blogs here.