Normal is just a setting on a dryer. Go ahead and be yourself. If you want to shout or wear mismatched socks or clothes that aren’t in style, do it. Whatever the “normal standards” are today, they’re really sort of a suggested guideline for the loudest group you’re around. If you want to make snow angels in your gym shorts, go for it. If you want to join the chess club at school but your friend tells you that would be “social suicide,” dump the friend and join the club. Those popular kids will be working at your Fortune 500 company that you’re able to set up later in life thanks to your ability to play the market 4 moves ahead. Do what is in YOUR best interest and not what is in the best interest of your friends for the next 4 years.

Get to know yourself and like yourself while you’re young. Enjoy your own company and don’t be afraid to be alone. Getting to like you early on is a huge thing that many adults don’t quite accomplish. It also makes you comfortable when no one else is around. Most introverts live for some time away from others. It’s hard for them to be around lots of other people without a few hours to decompress. The introverts I know seem to be more comfortable in their own skin and tend to not feel lonely when they’re alone. Extroverts, like me, we seem to be more comfortable in public but when we’re alone we’re the ones who tend to feel lonely. Probably because we don’t have anyone around to impress or talk to. But if we learn to be comfortable with ourselves when no one else is around, we’d probably be less likely to be filling those anti-anxiety prescriptions. If all of us, Extroverts and Introverts alike, take the time to find 3 things daily that we LIKE about ourselves at an early age, we’d be less likely to shame our own bodies and minds and thus less likely to body-shame or IQ-shame those around us. Love starts with the self, people. Learn to love you.

Childbirth hurts and even after you see the baby, you remember. You choose to push it to the back of your mind so that you don’t hate your kid. But your vagina still twinges with residual memory-pain when you think back to your trip to the hospital on that lovely day of your child’s birth. But it’s a worthwhile hurt that you should endure anyway because kids are just amazing. (Until they’re teenagers and then all bets are off—some days. But keep talking to your teenagers because even though it seems like they don’t listen to you, they actually do and they’re going to make amazing adults one day.)

Being famous isn’t really important if your fame is simply because your name or face is recognized on tv or the internet simply for some stupid stunt, vine, or sex tape that was intentionally or unintentionally uploaded. When your sexcapades are released online and that is your ticket to becoming a household name, that is INFAMY not FAME. There is a difference. Infamy is the bad kind of publicity and is usually associated with some type of scandalous or degrading behavior. Fame is where your name or face is associated with some type of talent or good kind of publicity in which you earn your fame because of your being a good singer, gymnast, kind person, Nobel Prize winner, etc. If we strive for fame, let’s make sure we earn it and not just get our names out there for giving on-camera hand jobs and then hoping to get into the movie business once everyone recognizes us.

Boob sweat stinks like wet dog if you wear the wrong bra. Make sure that you find a bra that has at least SOME cotton content in the cup area and not strictly double layered nylon. ESPECIALLY if you’re wearing said bra for workouts. How do I know this? Well, certainly not because someone took the time to advise me. *sniff* I digress.

Be kind. Before you jump all up in somebody’s kool aid because they were rude to you at the store, school or work, try to take a few seconds to be understanding. Maybe that person is used to only hearing complaints and yells at you before you even explain that you only wanted to know the bus number for your kid’s route. If you start out your sentence with something along the lines of, “I know your job must not be easy, what with all the anxious parents who call to complain about overcrowded and late buses. I just wanted to let you know that you guys are doing a great job over here. Also, we had some confusion as to which bus my son is supposed to ride. Would you be the right person to help me figure out where his stop is?” ¬†Something as simple as recognizing the stress that a bus coordinator goes through on a daily basis and verbalizing appreciation for the work that they do, is a kindness that can turn that person’s day around AND make your request a pleasant one. We all hear that whole “Kill them with kindness” adage all the time and most of us tend to think that shoving someone into oncoming traffic would be so much quicker. If we instead of “killing with kindness” we attempt to “be kind,” probably 1/2 of the disagreements we encounter on a daily basis would probably not happen. So, you know, BE KIND.

Menopause sucks. It sucks for both men and women. For women, the usual- hormonal changes, night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, slowing of the libido or hyper-speeding of the libido, wiry hairs growing out of our chins and less leg-shaving. For men, your life is going to change greatly. Remember how the whole PMS thing drove you insane a few years back? Well, buy thermal underwear, some thick socks, and KY jelly. Your wife is about to set that thermostat on the air conditioner to about 67 degrees (in the winter) and wrap the whole thing with concertina wire and dare you to adjust it. Just don your woolen sweater and nod at her pleasantly while telling her how pretty she is. You’re gonna be just fine.

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