1. Be single.
For an extended period of time. It’s a societal warning, that phrase, “If you continue to do x,y,z, you’ll end up alone.” But solitude is never something to fear. If you never learn who you are alone, you’ll never know who you are with someone else.
2. Reenact that scene from Runaway Bride, and try every possible way to prepare an egg (as an adult you should be able to manage one of those ways on your own).
But seriously though, stuff your face with eggs. Even if it’s starting small, you’re learning to articulate “this is what I like” and “this is what I don’t like.” Eggs are also an amazing bonus topping to foods that are already delicious – like pizza, burgers, and poutine. The same goes for love, which is just a bonus on top of your life, something that is already amazing on its own. Accept this as fact.
3. Confront your regrets, head on.
Did you have expectations for yourself you never met? Were they unrealistic, innocent, or maybe just naïve? Like how the idea of becoming an astronaut seems appealing until you realize you can’t even read in the car without getting motion sick? Were they based on someone else’s value systems? Or maybe just came with a rude awakening? Like how standardized testing and it’s multiple choice questions and percentiles can make you think being good at reading makes you really special, until you realize that no one will ever pay you for it? There are lessons in regret. It is that persistent whisper in the darkest corners of your subconscious that tells you, “Dreams are allowed to change, but never really die…”
4. Get restless.
So very fucking restless. Do something bad. Rebel in whatever way feels right to you. Smoke a cigarette. Because it’s something to do. Because especially when you feel powerless, you feel the need to actively “do” something. Because you can’t just sit outside thinking to yourself “I have no fucking clue. About anything.” Lean on this crutch until you realize that nicotine-induced lightheadedness isn’t the dizzy you were trying to recreate anyway. Learn to stare out into the night sky, sometimes through tears, not knowing a goddamn thing. Let that become your mantra. I don’t know. Find peace in the truthfulness of it.
5. Chase the other highs.
The healthy ones. The things that terrify you because deep down you know you want them. So badly. Are you funny? Smart? Articulate? Musically inclined? What is the one thing you do for your own enjoyment when nobody’s looking? The one thing you would want to be really good at if it was up to you to choose. The thing someone would have to know about you to really know you. Be that one thing. Do it. Then do it in a way where you can share it with others. Put yourself out there. The world deserves it. Deserves you.
6. Learn how to say “no” again.
Rejoice in it. Get off on it. The way a toddler does when they first realize that it’s an option. Fuck fomo. Do you want to stay in and watch reality TV? Foreign films? Music videos? Do it. When you’re not interested in a second date, or a first date – say so. Don’t give out your number if you don’t want someone to call or text you. Stop worrying about hurting someone’s feelings, about bruising their ego. Rejection, when done honestly, is a demonstration of kindness. Remember this the next time you’re the one on the receiving end of this kindness, and don’t take it personally.
7. Acquaint yourself with disappointment.
Lose something you thought was permanent, but not without a fight. Acknowledge the point where you did everything you possibly could have, and then, only then – let it go. Even if it’s painful. But conversely, allow yourself to be stupefied by the things you never thought could possibly happen and did. Don’t question them or deny their existence. Accept the crazy little gifts life brings your way with open arms and an open mind. And in both the letting go of the things that weren’t meant for you and the acceptance of things that are, know – with all your heart – that you deserve to be happy. That there is no scenario in which you are ever a bad person for wanting to be so.
8. Look back a few years.
Realize how different you are now from the person you used to be. A person you hardly even recognize, as if they were a stranger, living in someone else’s skin. See the long line of skins you’ve shed along the way like a snake. Maybe you’ve been a few different people between then and now, lived a few different lives. Identify the core qualities each of those selves shared in common. The things that will always be a part of you. Recognize that right now, you, yourself, are a part of this never-ending evolution, and will continue to grow into something even more than you are at this moment. Reach for it. Allow yourself to stretch into it. That something more you are constantly in the process of becoming.