1. That one stupid thing you said two years ago that has somehow become your favorite subject with which to torture yourself while trying to fall asleep. No one remembers it but you, no one cares, and you’re wasting your time over an imaginary problem.
2. What the “cool kids” from high school are doing now that you’re not trapped in a building with them on a regular basis. While you might get a fleeting moment of joy knowing that your bullies are now living lackluster lives, getting married at 23 and working at their dad’s mattress factory, holding onto that vendetta will do nothing.
3. What the “cool kids” of adulthood — aka the people with nice jobs and J Crew cardigans — think of you. If they don’t like you because you’re not working at a PR firm and going to spin class three times a week, that’s just your cross to bear.
4. Not being able to spend money on certain things that other people can spend money on. If you don’t have the budget for Sunday brunch or bedroom furniture that isn’t IKEA, that’s just the way it is.
5. The idea that what you can and can’t afford to pay for at any given moment says anything about you as a human being, because it absolutely doesn’t.
6. The time someone said something nasty about your appearance amidst a thousand people giving you compliments that you dismiss because you have a tendency to only believe the negative stuff. It doesn’t matter how many times someone says you have a nice smile, all it takes is one offhand comment about you showing a lot of gums, and you’ll never smile again.
7. The fight you had with a sibling that somehow got blown up into something completely insane and disproportional to the initial dispute, just because you’re both proud and immature and don’t talk regularly enough. Siblings are too easy to fight with because they know us so intimately and we imagine they’ll always be there — but they’re human like anyone else, and deserve compassion.
8. The minor resentments you hold towards your parents. They’re not perfect, but if they did a pretty good job and tried their best, there’s no reason to grind an axe all through your best years together. (I still catch myself feeling a flare up of rage that my sister got a nice car with good amenities, while I was stuck with a 4-speed 1994 Toyota Tercel that had a tape deck, no air conditioner, and was seafoam green.)
9. Any real concern over the number of friends you have. It’s not a contest, and even if it was, it certainly wouldn’t be won in quantity.
10. The ex of yours who left you in a really unsatisfying, really hurtful way. Most of us have been cheated on, or dumped via text/email, or found out through the friend group that it was over. It’s almost a rite of passage at this point to come in such close contact with an unrepentant asshole, and as our dads would say, it builds character.
11. The parts of your appearance you can’t change without invasive surgery. You can either spend every night Googling “rhinoplasty cost state by state” and fawning over before and after pictures, or you can accept that some imperfections are just part of life as a human being.
12. What someone is going to think when you unfriend them on Facebook. If they were irrelevant enough to remove, they are irrelevant enough not to devote precious time to their opinion.
13. Whether or not someone you’re interested in has the same tastes as you in music or movies. If we learned anything from 500 Days of Summer, aside from the fact that Joseph Gordon Levitt looks like a delicious little mancrumpet in sweater vests, it’s that things like “worldview,” “emotional communication,” and “trust” are more important than liking The Shins.
14. Whether or not someone deems your interests shallow or superficial. Enjoy those manicures and those lattes and that bejeweled sweater, because life is way too short to hold out on pleasure for the opinions of others.
15. How many “likes” and comments you get on your various social media posts. If the plebes don’t get your flawless, highbrow humor, fuck ’em.
16. How much debt you have. It’s a reality, it doesn’t make you who you are, and all you can do is be smart and diligent about it going forward.
17. The number on the scale, because obsessing over it and believing that it’s inextricably linked with your value as a human being is not going to make those Oreos have any fewer calories.
18. What someone said about you behind your back that one time, years ago. You don’t even talk to that person anymore, come on, what in the world is their stale ass opinion doing in your brain anymore?
19. Whether or not you’re single, because making it your whole life’s purpose and 3/4ths of your overall personality is not going to get you cuddled any faster.
20. The friendships that dissolved for natural and unavoidable reasons. You can’t carry that guilt around you, because just like romantic relationships are not always meant to last a lifetime, platonic relationships can be just as subject to change and circumstance.
21. What you’re attracted to. You can spend your whole life trying to pretend like you don’t like that one really specific type, but you’re going to end up dating dude after dude that looks like Crispin Glover. Might as well accept it now.