Woman writing in a journal
Credit: Meredith Heuer

I recently met a woman at a party who was just lovely and warm and had the nicest smile imaginable. We immediately hit it off, and I hope we become friends. One thing about her that I noticed (but did not hold against her) was that she has that (dare I say, mostly female) habit of apologizing too much. I’m sure you know people who apologize too much; we all do. Who apologize as a way of being extra-nice, I suppose. I recognize this type because I used to be an over-apologizer.

This afternoon I was contemplating my huge e-mail in-box and remembered that I got an e-mail a few weeks back from a student at the university that I’d attended. I don’t know her, and she is looking for career advice. Ordinarily I would begin my reply to such an e-mail with an apology (“I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply...”) but I decided that I’m not going to start the e-mail with an apology; maybe I am just cranky this afternoon, but perhaps she should just be glad that I, a total stranger, am replying at all.

Which brings me to this post.

Advice I Wish I Could Give My Younger Self

  1. Stop apologizing so much.
  2. Appreciate how you look right now. It’s a lot better than you think.
  3. Understand that sometimes boys are just clueless. They are not being intentionally clueless to hurt your feelings.
  4. One cupcake/donut/piece of candy is not really that important.
  5. If you have to ask yourself whether you should have one more drink, the answer is probably no.
  6. If you think everybody is looking at you, you’re wrong.
  7. No matter how much you love your parents, they probably love you more.
  8. Sometimes doing the right thing is embarrassing and not cool. Get over that.
  9. When you are arguing with someone, yelling rarely accomplishes anything.
  10. Many of the smartest people are the best listeners.
  11. Waterproof mascara is not worth the hassle of taking it off.
  12. Just because you hated a book at age 20 does not mean you will hate it at age 40.
  13. Arguing with your boyfriend after 10 p.m. is just completely counterproductive.
  14. There is no substitute for a cake made from scratch.
  15. Be careful when stating your opinion because it might change tomorrow.