It’s my birthday today!
But that pic was taking last week. I’m in Rome right now, so t’s likely that when you read this, I’m either sleeping off a champagne hangover, buried in pastries or making out against an emperor’s bust somewhere.
Sorry guys. NOTHING ON THE INTERNET IS REAL.
For my birthday, I decided to share some of the lessons I’ve learnt in the past 28 years on earth.
1 EVERYTHING IS GOING TO WORK OUT EVENTUALLY. Quite the statement from someone who keeps getting knocked down a few pegs every couple of years, but I believe this is true. Even when you think it can’t possibly, it will be.
It might take an excruciating long time, and there are ups and downs, but everything will be fine. Everything will work out in the end.
2 MAKE CHOICES We as a species have the tendency to stay in our current situation. Because “it’s there”, we’re used to it and we’re afraid of the unknown. When we decide to take action, change something and the new situation sucks too? It’s OUR fault and then we think we might as well have stayed in the old situation. The devil that you know and all that.
But by actively, deliberately choosing things, situations and people is you get to shape your life according to what YOU want. Make choices. If it doesn’t work out, choose something else. If someone doesn’t like it, fuck ’em.
3 SOMETIMES I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, AND THAT’S OKAY. Truth time. I have my shit together somewhat, but I have no idea what I’m doing. Or where I’m going. Or if I’m living my dream or fulfilling my life’s purpose. And sometimes all these questions attack me all at once, making me want to hide under the dining room table with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
But a couple of years ago I decided: “I’m here to write, teach and make people laugh. As long as I can keep doing one, two or all three of these things, I’m doing okay.”
Even when I can’t see the bigger picture, knowing these core elements of my life keeps me calm.
4 YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPY. Happiness is a natural state. However, so is sadness, fear and the tendency to like fat, sweet foods for survival reasons. But happiness feels better. And I think your life should make you happy. If it doesn’t, at least try to get there. Sometimes through our choices, sometimes through acceptance, sometimes through getting professional help.
5 TRUST YOUR INSTINCT If you don’t, it will bite you in the ass later.
6 PUT YOURSELF FIRST. Not because you’re selfish or self-centred, but because a) nobody else will if you don’t b) it’s your life, your body and your sanity so take care of it and c) you’re so much better to others when you put yourself first.
7 DON’T BE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY. Don’t self sabotage yourself out of what you want, success or happiness. Don’t undermine your strengths and don’t underestimate what you’re capable of. Learn your own pitfalls and your weaknesses and learn to work through them or with them.
8 BE INDEPENDENT There is not a feeling I hate more than not being able to take care of myself. Whether it was financially, physically or just in the situation where you’ve lost your phone and keys and can’t get anywhere.
I protect my independence fiercely. I work hard to make money and be self-reliant, I focus on my own goals and I take care of myself. I always have enough money in my savings account to survive, carry an extra MetroCard, enough money on my Paypal account to make any type of get away via Uber, and I always bring a phone charger with me.
9 YOU ARE YOUR OWN GOLDEN TICKET, NEVER GIVE UP YOUR POWER, AND YOU’LL FIGURE IT OUT. Click.
10 YOUR EMOTIONS GUIDE YOU TO THE RIGHT THINGS. Follow them. To the right paths, the breakdowns and the breakthroughs.
11 SOMETIMES YOU FEEL BAD, AND THAT’S OKAY. I’m over having to love myself, forcing myself to be positive and happy all the time, and feeling guilty for not being what Dr Seuss wants me to be. Negative emotions and not feeling good are a part of life.
LOVE, FRIENDSHIP AND RELATIONSHIPS
12 HANGING OUT WITH MY PARENTS MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER. Because they’re great company and they have good wine. And, because they make me feel understood and they support me in any way they can.
13 YOU CAN STOP BEING FRIENDS WITH ANYONE IF YOU FEEL THAT’S BETTER FOR YOU. If someone I consider a friend makes me feel bad about myself, costs me too much energy or turns out to be downright dislikable (and a tad hateful), I stop investing in the friendship. Sorry bro, but nobody is worth my sanity.
14 SOMETIMES THE MOST ENLIGHTENED RESPONSE IS ‘FUCK OFF’. My favorite Danielle LaPorte quote to be honest.
15 SOMETIMES THE MOST ENLIGHTENED RESPONSE IS: “I love you, but I’m not putting up with your shit.” I have said this to people I love, people I love have said it to me. You never have to take anything from another person just because you love them.
16 BE KIND AND LOVING With the addendum of a RuPaul quote: “My goal is to always come from a place of love, but sometimes you have to break it down for a motherfucker.”
17 WEAR CUTE CLOTHES. You’d be surprised how much it helps to put on a cute dress when you’re feeling horrible, how much nicer people treat you and how much more comfortable you feel in new places when you look BOMB.
Okay, semi-bombish. I know my limits.
18 LOUBOUTIN SHOES RUIN YOUR LIFE. Because now they are the only heels I ever want to wear and unless I bang a millionaire on the side (Vincent is my main man after all), that might be a tad problematic until my career as a professional pasta-eater takes off.
19 SHOW YOUR COWORKER WHICH DRESSES YOU BUY ONLINE Because otherwise this happens.
20 WEAR SLUTTY DRESSES NOW THAT YOU STILL CAN I’m not super skinny and my hips couldn’t even lie after serious FBI secret agent training, but dammit I’m in my twenties, I’m cute and I will wear whatever I damn well please. And so should you!
21 I LOOK CUTE IN BLUE.
22 COOKING IS THERAPY I cooked and baked myself through my horrible break-up, a depression and a huge workload, stress tears and insomnia. The act/art of cooking is so relaxing and therapeutic, and I think via cooking you nurture body and soul.
23 PASTA PUTTANESCA gets better with a hint of cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon juice (a la Jamie Oliver)
24 SAGE BUTTER is the best (especially with anchovy).
25 MERENGUES are delicious but gave me the worst bloodsugar-crash I’ve ever had.
26 FUCK ALL THAT SHIT I will never deprive myself of anything, I will never count calories and I will never ever ever feel guilty over things that I eat. Life is too short. I’m here on this planet to indulge and I will enjoy eating and all the delicious foods the world has to offer!
27 I LOVE TO WORK OUT, BUT I LOVE TO WRITE EVEN MORE. It took me a while to realise this, because I like working out and how it makes me feel. It’s a part of my life I enjoy. But it’s nothing like how I love writing. The way Liz Gilbert feels about traveling? That’s how I feel about writing.
And so if I’m faced with the choice to either get a work-out in? Or sit behind my computer and type? I throw my yoga mat against the wall, make a cup of tea and go to town on a Word Document.
Always stay true to your ‘passions’.
28 KNOW WHEN TO STOP.
Have a drink on me today, kids. See you soon.