Basic Shit I Want My Kids to Know.

(I'm still working on this stuff, too.)

1. You’re going to get zits. Wash your damn face. Soap. Water. Repeat. And keep your greasy fingers off of them! Then tough out the rest. Zits build humility and subdue superficiality. 

2. You have great insight. Your perspective is yours alone, and even if some folks seem to share it, theirs will never be 100% the same as yours. Write it down. Let it evolve. Understand that it will never be wrong and it will never be right.

3. Floss. It’s so much cheaper than fillings.

4. Let go of the things that weigh you dangerously down.

5. It’s okay if you’re the friend that always has to be the one who does the planning. Just don’t be the friend who never plans anything.

6. Be receptive. I’m not going to elaborate. Google it. And then be the first definition. (not the third definition “willing to copulate with a male")

7. Ask people what they’re most proud of.

8. Don’t get hung up on typos. You know which they’re/their/there they mean. But pay attention to your own grammar. I don't want you to loose your shit.

9. Understand the difference between subjective and objective. Your own opinions depend on it.

10. You are made of matter. You matter. If anyone ever suggests you don’t matter, it simply means they think they’re smarter than science. Remind yourself that evolution will determine their fate.

11. Keep trying foods you hate. I’m on year 3 of a budding romance with butternut squash, and year 38 of hating watermelon.

12. Drink tea with people who know how to drink tea.

13. Continually try to learn about food. How to grow it. How to store it. How to use it. How to share it. Why it’s good for you. Read labels on any products that claim to ask and answer these questions for you.

14. Color is not a food.

15. Respect the difference between cheap candy that tastes vaguely of chocolate and true, dairy-free, craft dark chocolate. One hurts your teeth and makes your throat feel like you swallowed a slug, and the other is like cuddling kittens by a warm hearth while you can’t stop giggling.

16. Aspire for more with less.

17. Try some drugs. Keep them as close to the earth as you can, and only partake among people you know and trust. Treat them like the sprinkles on top of an already scrumptious sundae. Just a perk to an already sweet life, but not a critical addition. Because no matter what you may experience while in a fuzzy stupor, life will never be better, sweeter, calmer, or more creative with drugs. Anything that comes and goes – like a high school romance or an epic night on shrooms – is not intrinsically a part of you. Don’t let it own you. But if you have a joint and you’re of a respectable, responsible age, you'd better share.

18. A fairytale is any story that says “You will be happiest if {this made up thing} happens to you.” Write your own fairytale. And be cool with alternate endings.

19. Buy black beans and brown rice in bulk and you'll have good food to eat when you're a broke ass 20 year old. Cover 1lb of black beans with cold water. Bring to a boil. Then put on a lid, turn off the heat and let it sit for an hour. Drain the old water and replace with either fresh water or with broth. Add chopped onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring back to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook covered until the beans are soft. There you have it. Basic black beans that you can make fancy, and you don't even need to own a can opener (although you should always own a can opener).

20. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." – Michael Pollan

21. Keep a journal. Feel guilty when you haven’t written in it in awhile. Then write in it. Even if it’s only a sentence.

22. Respect the fragility of life. But don’t let death paralyze you. Everything dies, energy redistributes, and you might come back as part of a sun-kissed damsel fly, or an English Walnut that ends up in the belly of a fuzzy squirrel that poops on the head of some jerkwad litterbug.

23. Learn the proper names of things. Cedar. Trillium. Cumulus. Mt. Jefferson. As you can, learn how you fit in among them.

24. Sex is as natural as eating, sleeping, and pooping. We can’t survive without any of them, but overdoing it on any of them will make you sick. Don’t be a prude. Don’t judge. Be safe. And have fun.

25. No absolutely always means no.

26. Play on a team sport. And keep doing it. I really don’t care if you’re the team captain, marvelously mediocre, or “that one kid who accidentally somehow scored a point for the other team.” Just play. Listen to your coaches. And bring your positivity with you to every practice and every game.

27. Swear sometimes. Because fuck it.

28. Don’t give in to jealousy. When it stabs you like a pokey twig straight into the bottom of your foot, snap it. Then walk on. Even in good humor,  when you say “I’m so jealous” in response to, say, a friend who just announced they’re going on a sweet vacation to the Galapagos Islands, it’s less of making them feel good about their vacation and more like you shoving your own ego in their face. It makes them feel bleh and makes you look like a selfish and whiney knucklehead, and it just gives a foothold for jealousy to spread. And then it consumes you. Snap it. If you want something bad enough to be inclined to say “I’m so jelly” (← also please don’t say that), then go out and get it. Use the opportunity to practice genuine enthusiasm for someone else – it doesn’t have to be about you and what they have that you don’t. It’s not about you, in fact. Share in their enthusiasm. You’ll get your turn.

29. Hydrogen Peroxide is a fucking miracle. Clean wounds. Disinfect your toothbrush when you drop it in the toilet. Prevent your natural fiber rug from staining when your 2 year old dumps blueberry smoothie all over it. Get a streak-free mirror. Buy it in large quantities. Use it for barter in the Trumpocalypse.

30. LOL is not a word.

31. “Interesting is a non-word.” ~ Captain Fantastic/Viggo Mortensen

32. By all accounts (that I’m aware of) Jesus was a kind, compassionate, and exemplary human. Don’t make fun of those who strive to live like he did. But be wary of those who say you’ll burn in Hell if you don’t worship him as the Son of God. Be kind and compassionate for the sake of being kind and compassionate, not because of a bribe of afterlife bliss or a threat of eternal damnation. For chrissake.

33. Own your shit.

34. For a perfect hardboiled egg:
  • Put egg in a pot.
  • Fill with cold water so that the egg is covered, plus an inch on top.
  • Bring to a boil, uncovered.
  • Let it boil for a minute. Then turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let it sit, covered, for about 15 minutes. 
  • Run with cold water or submerge in ice bath until the egg is cool to the touch.
  • Now make me some Deviled Eggs: mix together hardboiled egg yolks, enough mayonnaise and mustard to make it creamy, Worcestershire sauce, tiny splash of liquid smoke (and then probably another), salt and pepper. Scoop into egg halfs. Then sprinkle with smoked paprika. 
35. Don’t gossip.

36. Yes, your body needs protein. No, it does not have to come from meat, not even ever. If you do eat meat – seafood counts – know where it came from and be grateful. Your life is not more significant than that of a cow, an elk, or a scallop.

37. Protect your skin from the sun. (I wrote this while deep in the woods on a sunny day, next to a lake, glowing white boobies unfettered to take in some rays, failing to take my own sun-protection advice at the exact same moment as I wrote it in my journal. One week later I’m still peeling off the painful reminder of too toasty ta-tas.)

38. You’re not drinking enough water. And neither am I.

39. Understand your own motivation. Or at least question it. It’s an ongoing practice toward self-awareness, and it’s not always easy. But keep at it. Because if you find you say or do things because you hope you’ll receive validating reactions like “You do the coolest things!” or “You inspire me!”, you’ll ultimately find it unfulfilling and unsustainable. Likes, comments, shares and their future social media counterparts are simple sugars. And a diet of simple sugars will ultimately leave you sick and hungry. Be motivated by something heartier.

40. Baking Soda is like Hydrogen Peroxide’s Wonder Twin. Put some on your toothbrush and scrub into your teeth for whiter teeth. Sprinkle it in your stinky-ass shoes. Whiten the toilet bowl or enamel kitchen sink (that’s presently stained pink because you so desperately wanted dark red hair dye for the first day of school). Bake into so many delicious things. Rub it on bug bites to soothe the itch. Pour equal parts with vinegar down a clogged drain or toilet. Let it sit and bubble. Pour in hot water to flush. Clog be-gone! (unless it’s a Thomas the Tank Engine that your baby threw in the toilet, and then you’re just fucked)

41. Be wary of those who profess themselves as thought-leaders or professional motivators. They’re exploiting your vulnerability.

42. You will fall in love more than once. Revel in the process. Even if it’s as short as 5 days of hand-holding at summer camp or as long as 59 years of body-holding in the same bed. It’s one of the coolest things about being human.

43. Don’t be a goddamn gearhead or label junkie. Invest in the gadgets and gear that will help you investigate your passions and pursue adventure. Buy used when you can. Borrow if you only need it on occasion. 

44. Learn how to read maps.

45. You don’t have to travel far to be an explorer. Other people travel to be where you live so that they can be a tourist. Be a tourist in your own town, too.

46. Spend lots of time naked. And barefoot. And outdoors.

47. Don’t tattoo your face.

48. Hair grows back. Almost always.

49. Don’t kill a spider just because it’s in the same place as you.

50. Have houseplants. Water them. Keep them alive.

51. Make art for the sake of art. The sake of art is what makes art real.

52. Ask a lot of questions. Listen to the answers. My favorites usually start with Why or How.

53. Don’t buy a TV.

54. Find someone you like to sing to.

55. A full recycling bin is nothing to boast about. It’s just garbage by another name. Buy in bulk. Re-use containers. Grow your own. Don’t be a sucker. And strive for zero waste.

56. You don’t require a daily shower. But don’t be a smelly slob with poor butt-wiping habits, either.

57. Work at least one job for tips.

58. Everyone poops. Everyone farts.

59. Move your body. Often. See what it can do.

60. If you have a stove, you already have a toaster, a way to cook and re-heat food, and a way to heat water for coffee. Plug in fewer appliances.

61. Know how to drive a stick shift.

62. Own a bike. Ride it everywhere you can. Lock it up.

63. Most culturally-shared stories, like Christmas or Halloween, are the result of hundreds of years of overlapping traditions and experience. Don’t claim you know the real story better than anyone else. There’s no reason to try to be right on something that can’t be.

64. Mind your own genitals.

65. Hug like you fucking mean it. Lean in, squeeze, make solid body contact. Hugging the air around someone is like an anti-hug.

66. Shake hands with strength, confidence, and respect. No one likes a deadfish handshake.

67. Don’t stare at the clock or your phone.

68. If you ever have a job that requires you to say the same thing repeatedly, like customer service for Comcast, or state Senator, remember that your audience is hearing it for the first time. So try not to sound bored.

69. Learn how to make a fire. Then learn how to make a fire without matches or a lighter.

70. Keep a gallon of drinkable water in your car. When you have a car. When you are old enough and responsible enough to own a car that you pay for out of your bank account and can drive safely to places too far for you to ride your bike. But first, stay little.

71. You’ll learn more by listening to people who don’t agree with you.

72. Your life will continue to happen even if it’s not documented on social media. In fact, life will actually happen more often. #nofilter

73. You can’t replace a pet. (But your mom can, and you might not ever know …)

74. Mix up your own laundry detergent. This recipe will last you about a year, if not longer.
  • 4- 4oz. bars of grated Castile soap
  • 1- 78 oz. box of Borax
  • 64 oz. (2 jumbo boxes) of baking soda 
  • 3 tbl. essential oil – I like citrus or lavender
75.  Read the kinds of books that make you want to read more books.

76. Talk to me about anything. I will strive to always listen respectfully.

77.  Find a lot of reasons to wear costumes. Find friends who like to do the same.

NEW for the 2017 school year!

78. Pandora is not a musician. Listen to full albums and get to know the music as the artist intended.

79. Hug trees as often as you can.

80. Treat this world like it's the only home you'll ever have. Because it is. Advocate for its protection and well-being every chance you get. Like when you see someone with a campfire during a fire ban or near a water source. Be bold. Be brave. And tell them to cut that shit out.

I am so ridiculously proud of you.



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