1. Change and stay the same. All at the same time.
2. Eat more kale.
3. Look in the mirror and say, at least twice a day no matter what the scale says or what my hair is doing: "Damn, you're lookin' good."
4. Pet the cats simultaneously. With both hands. Synchronized. They like that.
5. Write letters. Real ones. On cards that require things called stamps. To everyone and anyone who has a place in my heart. Which will require a lot of stamps.
6. Watch more sunrises.
7. Read less meaning into sunsets.
8. Ride with the Diablo Cyclists in the bay area if only to hear Jay's banter again. I've missed hearing about baseball, about music, about anything shouted into the wind at 18 mph while I'm breathless.
9. Stop obsessing about thinness and its relation to how people see me. I am more than my body. I am my soul.
10. Read my work in public more. Let my stories breathe. Let them piss people off, let them bore an audience, let them inspire. Let them live.
11. Go blonde. Natural blonde. Back to my roots, so to speak and ditch the chemical-head. I am OK just the way I am.
12. Learn to appreciate the things I hate: running on treadmills, instant oatmeal, skinny jeans, The Today Show. Somehow, these things (too) have meaning and value in the world.
13. Learn a good joke! All mine are pretty awful-- or, they are jokes I learned when I was in elementary school.
14. Sing karaoke with my dad. It's the best thing ever. I hardly do it enough.
15. Sing. Even if I'm not good at it. You don't always have to do the things you're good at. Sometimes it's important to do the things that make you happy.
16. Learn to cook one gourmet dish. The kind where you sauté things in wine and where the mushrooms must come from some obscure store. And make that meal for the most special people in my life and tell them, again and again, they are special to me. Because I hardly ever do that enough.
17. Generally, say how much I appreciate the people around me. Students, colleagues, friends and family. I've taken for granted how much I love--and need-- everyone in my life.
18. Build a community of writers. Since I moved back, all I've said is how much I miss the bay and my writer-friends there. Maybe this is my time to help writers in Reno-Tahoe come together and form a community of our own: fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Let's see what we can do.
19. Visit my bay-area writing friends. Why miss a person if you are so close?
20. Smile randomly. Even when I'm by myself. Because life is good.
21. Stop believing "I love you" is a sacred phrase. Love is not for rationing; love needs to be shared. Love is not always romantic (although it can be); love is appreciation and truth; love is the adhesive between friends and communities, between the hard stuff and ourselves. Sometimes saying "I love you" can make a bad moment OK even if you're the only one in the room and you've been crying.
22. Forgive. Forget. Move on.
23. Don't forget to dream big. You deserve it.
24. Dance around naked. With sticks. Be brave. Scream if you need to. Paint your face with mud. Life is for the living.
25. Three years ago I wrote: "My words are the arrows I lance from the fortress of my soul." (Make metaphors. Stand by them. Love them. Revise them. But never be ashamed for trying.)
26. Trust that you are enough.
27. Cry if you need to cry. Break down, wallow. Crawl on the floor. Write about it. One of the best parts of being alive is feeling it all: the highs and the lows. And if you can't feel the lows, who's to say you can appreciate the "highs"?
28. Never be that person at Starbucks with the five-minute drink order. Or, if you are, own it.
29. Plant a garden in summertime. Nothing says "happy" like a blooming flower you helped to grow.
30. Always glance back the past, but never dwell. Life is like a long distance run/ride or swim. It's what you make of the discomfort/pleasure/pain. Make the most of every moment and treasure each and all in equal measure. Because life ends too soon and wisdom comes in the journey, not the destination.
31. Never stop believing in old dreams. Never believe you are unlovable or ugly. I'm NOT.
32. Accept that all of this will change and by next year, I may not believe any of this. And that is OK.