Find a job or a series of jobs that keeps you working 70% of your waking hours. Oscillate between resenting your boss and believing they’re your One True Savior, your only salvation in a wasteland of unemployment. Kiss up. Look sharp. Learn how to brew coffee. Learn how to make copies. Learn all of the ctrl+ shortcuts that will impress your coworkers and eliminate unnecessary keystrokes. When Monday morning arrives and every inch of your body is resisting another day of tedium, imagine yourself in your childhood home. Imagine your mother, wandering in and out of your bedroom without knocking and insisting that your door remains open when your boyfriend comes to visit. Get up and go to work.
Put on a few pounds at Thanksgiving and wait for them to magically melt off of your frame the way they always do. Wait forever. Come to the terrifying realization that your body requires maintenance now, like a car or a trophy wife. Begrudgingly accept your weight loss challenge. Confront your problem areas with hippie exercises, like kegels and laughter. When given the option to take an elevator, take the stairs. Assure yourself that you’ll undoubtedly get stuck between floors with someone who whistles. Pretend there’s a fire, always. Take the stairs, always. Run, don’t walk.
Buy a plant and a puppy and valiantly try to keep them alive. Give them names — Petunia for the plant and Peter for the dog, or vice versa. Give them pep talks and play them classical music to stimulate their growth, the way you’re certain your mother should’ve done when you were in the womb. Play Bach. Play Chopin. Play the Marie Antoinette soundtrack because you were born in the 80s and obsessing over that album just comes with the territory. When you come home from work one day to find your plant has died and your puppy has destroyed some Very Important Pair of shoes, think of your friends who have already committed to raising a child for the next eighteen years and cut your losses.
Date the wrong people so that you can identify the right people. Offer to pay even when you’re three days shy of going broke. Split the bill. Consult Groupon. Cancel dates at the last minute because your boss needs you. Google “Stockholm Syndome.” Edit your OKCupid profile. Take a selfie. Instagram it. Sleep next to your laptop and kiss it Good Morning when the sun peeks through your window. On days when your love life resembles a film student’s final project, call the youngest divorced person you know and listen to them vent. Express your deepest sympathies.
Invest in gold. Invest in silverware. Invest in pots and pans of various sizes and a mop that doesn’t spray soap-water at the push of a button. Have a dinner party and let your guests restock your liquor cabinet with affordable red wine. Learn to be bold in the kitchen. Cook something you saw your mom cook once. Bake something you saw in an instructional YouTube video. Replicate something you saw on the Food Network and when it tastes a bit cold in the middle, spit it out and convince yourself to try again. Try again.