“Yo, fuck everything.”
It’s been raining in DC for two weeks straight. Keena and I were celebrating the fact that this mysterious orb in the sky—you may have referred to it as the sun from time to time—was shining overhead. Our preferred method of celebration was chips and guac on the patio, courtesy of the Mexican restaurant just blocks from her apartment.
“Fuck everyone,” I shot back. Fuck everyone is my personal motto. I say it to myself every morning as I get ready. Some individuals look themselves in the mirror and recite, Today’s a new day! Get after it!, but not me. No sir madam. Fuck everyone, perfectly summarizes how I attack each day: By ignoring the things I can’t control (other people and their actions) and focusing on the only two things I can—my attitude, and my actions.
“If I wrote a list of ten commandments,” I said, grabbing another chip, “That would be at the top of my list.”
Keena took another scoop of quac. “What would be the other nine? You would have to have to say something about—“
“—Working out,” we finished in unison.
I grabbed another three chips. [The chip-to-person ratio was heavily weighted in my direction.] “Definitely. I firmly believe you should work out every day. Even if working out means, going for a walk.”
“Sooooo…maybe your second commandment should be, Do something active each day.”
I accepted her edits to my Ten Commandments list. “Alright, that’s two. Do the things that scare you has to be number three,” I continued.
“Well. Three down, seven to go.”
And here, is the rest of that list.
- Fuck. Everyone.
Let me explain something to you. No matter how much of a control freak you are (and I rank with the best of ‘em), there are only two things in this world you control: your actions and your attitude. So stop comparing yourself to others. Stop worrying if they’re more successful, more attractive, or more accomplished than you—because it does.not.matter.
- Do something active every day.
Walking, counts. Running one stand-alone mile, counts. Digging up petunias in your freaking garden, counts. But if you’re on your fourth episode of Suits for the day (I’m directing this at me), get your ass outside.
- Do the things that scare you.
If something scares you, you better do it. If taking a day off from the gym scares you, take it. If trying a new class scares you, try it. If talking to a stranger scares you, talk to them (unless they’re a serial rapist or killer. Then you are excused from this commandment).
- Friends are not convenient. Make the effort.
Do you know how valuable friend-time is? Pretty fucking valuable. This isn’t college where you can stroll down the dorm hallway and see 89 percent of your friends. If you want to keep your relationships intact, you will have to go out of your way to do so. Put in the time. Go to parties when you’re tired. Make memories instead of watching movies. Pop a B complex vitamin for a shot of energy, and go make house calls.
- Call your mom.
And you dad. And your brother. [I don’t have a sister, but you can insert whatever noun you see fit.] No matter how many new, interesting, or devilishly handsome people you meet in this world, at the end of the day, there is no one who understands or loves you more.
- Don’t spread the bad.
You may think venting about your problems is healthy. You may think you need to get something off your chest. Hard truth: You don’t. You are perfectly capable of swallowing whatever gripe-fest you are about to unleash and move on from it. Do not suck the happiness out of your friends and family by making them absorb your negativity.
- Don’t eat a cupcake for breakfast.
You know what’s the worst feeling on the face of the Earth? Childbirth. You know what’s the second worst feeling on the face of this earth? Waking up and regretting the decisions you made the day before (hopefully these two items do not coincide). Start your day off right. Eat a healthy breakfast. Make your bed. Walk—don’t Uber—to work. Control today because you sure as hell can’t control tomorrow or yesterday.
- Celebrate mini victories.
If your parents gave you a high-five for acing the algebra quiz that you have never used again, then you have every right to celebrate going to the gym when you are hungover ‘til next Tuesday. Give yourself a pat-on-the-back when you figure out how your taxes work, enroll in health insurance, or talk yourself out of a speeding ticket. Cheers to that.
- Do new things.
You are way too young to stop doing new things. I do not care if you are eighty-nine years old—you are still too young to stop doing new things. Meet new people. Try a new run route. Go to a new museum. Try a new restaurant even though Ethiopian food sounds disgusting. If for no other reason, do something just because you’ve never done it before.
10. Never say, I wish I would have—make the choice you’ll be proud of later.
This applies to everything. Will housing an entire pizza make you feel like crap? Great, don’t eat it. Will throwing everything you have into a workout make you proud of yourself? Get after it. There are going to be things that frankly, you don’t enjoy. There will be things that are difficult. Eating healthy, taking risks, challenging yourself at work, and keeping your apartment reasonably clean is not all fun and games. Sometimes, it downright sucks. Do them anyway. Why? Because you will want to throw your arms around yourself when you do.
These are the ten things I repeat to myself more than anything else. It summarizes my attitude, my outlook, and the things I want most.
So if you were to do the exact same thing, and write down the ten commandments for your life, what would they be?