Published on Thought Catalog here on 9/13/13.
1. The most important people in your life may not text you daily or like every photo you put on Facebook, but in the worst moments they will be there the quickest and stay the longest.
2. I would not wish a visit to hospice on my worst enemy. Death is ugly and disgusting and scary. Don’t ever let someone fool you – there is nothing dignified or graceful about death.
3. Nothing else matters at death’s front door though. Not your job title or your salary or your outfit or the car you drove – if you have a room full of loved ones to hold your hand and watch you go, you are a rich person. Love is really the only thing that matters.
4. The best of friends rally around you. They will take you to the zoo for your 22nd birthday. They will text you something stupid just to check in on you. They will let your cry and drink too much and they will only subtly tell you ‘I told you so.’
5. Truly, nothing is better than coming home to a floppy-eared puppy dog. No matter the mess they make or if they destroy everything you own, snuggling with a dog makes life’s crappy moments a little bit better.
6. When you look for the black cat or the gray sky, you will find it. When you look for the sunshine, you’ll find that too.
7. Sometimes you just need to cry…not weepy-eyes-at-the-movies-cry, but ugly, puffy-eyed, body-racking sobbing. In horrible situations, you normally won’t begin to remotely feel better until you’ve cried about it.
8. On that note, you can’t cry forever. It will sneak back up on you some days…in small moments and dark moments, and its okay to return to those feelings sometimes. But you can’t stay there forever.
9. The planned moments aren’t what you are going to remember most – the big events and outlined moments, the ones with invitations and Facebook events and months of planning. No, the spontaneous times when you jumped in the car or followed the stampede or rolled on the ground laughing hysterically – those moments will stay with you the longest.
10. Good people – and most people are inherently good – have the same goals. The same things drive them: the people they care about, providing for their family and their family’s safety. They may take different paths to achieve these goals, but most people sitting in traffic with you are worrying about the same types of things that you are.
11. There are bad people in the world though. Liars, cheaters and lazy people who selfishly smash through other people’s lives – and most bad people don’t wear signs on their foreheads or look inherently evil like Disney-villains. Bad people are charismatic and well-dressed and say all the right things at the right time…just with their fingers crossed behind their backs.
12. Eating your feelings is great. Spooning triple-chocolate-chunk ice cream into your face and engulfing an entire bag of potato chips and pizza rolls at 3am may ease the emotions at the time, but the 20 pounds you are going to gain is going to make you feel bad for ever longer.
13. Steve Jobs greatest invention connects people…a little too much. If you have Snapchat, you are going to snap something inappropriate at least once, no matter how much you said you wouldn’t. You are going to text your friends at dinner with your parents when you should be engaging with the people two feet away from you. You are going to sit for hours staring at your phone, restarting it and checking your service, waiting for that one phone call that is never going to come. Technology improves lives, but there are costs.