1. Everything changes. Change is not bad. Do not be afraid of change. Do not be afraid to change.
2. Never let jealousy or insecurity ruin a friendship. You will regret it.
3. Always be kinder and more generous than you think is possible. You will not regret it.
4. Remember there is a wide, wide world out there. Get outside your own world, even when it is uncomfortable.
5. Friendships will change. People will come and go. That's not always in your control.
6. But when you can, make a big effort to keep your friends. Make an effort even when it is hard. And it will be hard.
7. You have the freedom to change your attitude. You have the freedom to change your mind. You even have the freedom to change the way you act. But don't forget that freedom does not exist in isolation—whatever you choose will affect the people around you.
8. Swallow your pride and say sorry. Admit you are wrong even if you feel just a twinge of wrongness.
9. Open your ears—and your heart—when people have feedback for you, even when it is painful to hear. Especially when it is painful to hear. Do not cut your friends out when they are correcting you. Your friends—the good ones—are probably right.
10. Stay curious. About people. About the world. Keep moving down the paths you have stumbled into, and go deep, burrowing as far as you can. This is the richness of the world.
11. Stay in community, even when you want out. This will save you. Reach out for help when you need it. Reach out to just one person when you feel you have no community.
12. Don't be afraid of being uncomfortable. Notice the discomfort. Stay there.
13. Stop being afraid of losing people, of losing a place, a position, a title. You are not entitled to anything. Unto you things are given and unto you things are taken away. It may be no less painful to accept this fact, but try. Do not attempt to preempt loss. You cannot defend yourself against it. Do not live less daringly, less courageously, for the sake of safety. Do not be afraid. Fear ruins many things; fear will cause your heart to waste away.
14. Help others. Be brave. Playing it cool serves no one. Your heart grows larger when you act out of love. Not the other way around.
15. Don't waste your time convincing people that you are worth loving. You are already loved.
16. Pray. Journal. Keep writing. Just keep on writing. Fight to keep writing. Work hard, but love people more than you love your work.
"So you protected yourself and loved small. Picked the tiniest stars out of the sky to own; lay down with head twisted in order to see the loved one over the rim of the trench before you slept. Stole shy glances at her between the trees at chain-up. Glass blades, salamanders, spiders, woodpeckers, beetles, a kingdom of ants. Anything bigger wouldn't do. A woman, a child, a brother - a big love like that would split you wide open in Alfred, Georgia. He knew exactly what she meant: to get to a place where you could love anything you chose - not to need permission for desire - well now, THAT was freedom."-Toni Morrison, Beloved
"Can one be so gifted and yet so impervious to the presence of things? It seems one can. Some people are incapable of perceiving in the object of their contemplation the very thing that gives it its intrinsic life and breath, and they spend their entire lives conversing about mankind as if they were robots, and about things as though they have no soul and must be reduced to what can be said about them—all at the whim of their own subjective inspiration."-Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of a Hedgehog