Once upon a time starts now. Sniff out your dreams. Follow the scent. Be emptied. Be filled. Don’t tolerate bad behavior. Disengage when necessary. Don’t internalize criticism. Shrug and walk away. Be a woman. Be a child. Be a boy. Be a friend. Write. Play. Laugh. Mourn with others. Share grief. Sleep on the floor once in a while. Lose your way. Breathe deep, even if it is cold. Don’t be afraid of envy or sabotage–the most successful people deal with it every day. Cook. Play. Jump. Don’t live in a pigeonhole. If a place is too small for you, get the hell out. If you don’t have to be where you don’t want to be, don’t be. Be gracious. Forgive. If you are not welcome, don’t stay. Go somewhere better. No one can stop you from flying. The grass is greener over there. Work. If it gives you your identity, be fulfilled. If the city can’t contain you, go to the next. If the silence is deafening, plunge into the noise. Celebrate. If love is unrequited, you are still alive. Their eyes don’t see you, but you still exist. They are unable to create you. You are already created. You will be constantly created. Dance.Get wet. Be prepared for rejection. Write an unacceptance speech. If you search long enough, search like you lost a diamond ring and a cell phone with Orlando Bloom’s number on it, there will be a place you belong. The world needs compassion. Grieve well. Grief cultivates compassion. Grace will show you the way. Be pleased. Awestruck. Never lose the wonder. Climb the top of mountains, stand on a ledge. Feel your knees shake and your bowels churn, your skin scrunch up in goosebumps, heart pick up speed with adrenalin. Be bold. Fearless. Make mistakes. Feel the freedom of failure. Be young. Be old. Be small. Write a story. Be a story. Check off your list one by one. Leave people behind. Meet new people. Learn how to say “tasty” in Dutch with your hands. Cherish the messy bits. Relationships are the messy bits. Have a slumber party. Drink champagne. Listen to cheesy boybands. Laugh your ass off. ROFL in real life in your best friend’s room. Take an art history class. You’d be glad you did. Be dangerous. Say yes. Say no. Say no more than you say yes to people. Say yes more than you say no to experiences. Go rock-climbing. Scar your hands. Get blisters on your feet. Get freckles. Forget about being a hand model or Vogue posterchild. Eat. Play the saddest music on your guitar. Learn a new language. Or three. Share your wealth once in your life. Adopt. Sponsor a child. Make a wish. Remember what it was like to be hungry and scared. Give thanks and accept the gift. Don’t feel bad about not paying it back. Be consumed with contentment. Be faced with death. Bounce when you walk. Be ready for war, catastrophe. When it comes, you will not know exactly what to do, but you can say I told you so.
Till then, you have nothing to do but live.
Dedicated to the brilliant brilliant women in my life.
Singapore, Nov 2010