Dear Human: 30 Things You Haven’t Learned About Life

Year 30 came and went, bringing—and taking—with it the irrational trepidation of aging.

While I reveled in a solid week of self-indulgent activities earlier this summer, surrounding by great friends—cocktails on rooftop patios, spontaneous road trips, and concerts under stars—I couldn’t shake the feeling that despite this celebration of what is most definitely a joyful, wonderful life something was amiss.

For one thing, if I had my 20s to live over, I’d have done things very differently.

You will never hear me flagrantly dismiss an entire decade of my life with the “no time is wasted if you learn from your experience” credo. Fouls are made, games are lost, and sometimes time truly is wasted.

In these times, I’m afraid the only lesson to learn is: DO NOT REPEAT.

If only I could have written myself a letter at birth, to be adhered to strictly during the folly-filled, young adult years to come. It would primarily amount to an invitation to live a fuller, richer life, and a plea to stop caring so much about what people think. But I’ve never been one for brevity, so here are, not so coincidentally, 30 additional instructions. I raise my proverbial glass to perfecting these over the next ten years.


Dear Human,

Welcome to this churning, spinning, pulsating earth. You will find that it can be both very beautiful and very ugly here—as can its people—but hopefully you will choose to enjoy it for its beauty rather than scorn it for its ugliness. Whichever you preference, your life will reflect.

Remember: you are here for only a short time. Find your purpose as soon as possible. Then live it.

Do not worry: you will get lost along the way. Just don’t wait for someone else to find you.

However, you will need help. Ask for it.

People will tell you to stop and smell the roses. Do it, and often. No one can enjoy them quite like you, human.

Friends come and go. Both the ones who stay and the ones who depart from your life have something to teach you.

Book clubs are better than b*tch cliques.

Others will have opinions; listen. You will have opinions; voice them tactfully.

Sometimes you’ll prove others wrong, and sometimes you will be proven wrong. Maintain grace regardless.

People will ask too much of you. Learn how to say no.

Carpe diem, even on Mondays—they consist of one seventh of your life, so seize them, too.

You’re not going to be for everyone—and that’s OK. Neither were Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, and Mother Teresa, and they still changed the world.

Don’t allow the actions of a few to destroy your faith in humanity.

You can’t please everyone and be happy. Pick one or the other.

Remember to look up every once in a while. You’ll notice clouds, sunsets, and stars; no one will appreciate these quite like you, human.

People will disappoint you. Love them anyway.

You will disappoint people. Love yourself anyway.

People will make mistakes. Forgive them.

You will make mistakes, and sometimes even repeat them. Forgive yourself.

In fact, you will fail miserably. Allow the experience to humble you.

Be kind. Always, always be kind.

Don’t invest in relationships with individuals more skilled at digital communication than basic human interactions.

The measure of a man is not in how diligently he spreads his seed, but in how well he tends his own garden.

The measure of a woman is continually being redefined. Define yourself.

People will betray your trust. Choose your tribe carefully.

People will hate you. Let them.

People will love you. Let them.

Someone will break your heart. Don’t let it harden you.

Someone will eventually find and put back together your broken pieces. Thank them.

Love your life. No one can live it quite like you, human.

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