In the last year, I've re-entered the musical theater universe, had my first theatrical review (for Parade--see sidebar), been to the Outer Banks, met new cousins, made new friends, learned a lot, read a lot. It's been a good year.
So, since it's been four years, I feel qualified to give y'all a little advice.
It's really not new advice, but I think we should all hear it again from time to time.
Really enjoy your life. Every single day of it. Even when you have to go to work and deal with intractable issues, and you'd much rather be drinking a mai tai on Maui. You are alive. You get another day to be with the people you love and to experience a life that goes way, way too fast.
Sure we all have bad days. But don't make it a habit, OK? Do the things you love. Set goals and met them. Do things you think are just way out there. You love to draw, but you're terrible? So what? Do it anyway. Take classes and get better. Sing in the shower. Swing on swing sets. Do the things that make you happy.
Pray. Go to church. Get in touch with God, if you're not. I don't care where you go, but go. "The Lord has done great things for us/ we are filled with joy." If your eyes are open to a gorgeous rose, a pretty sunset, the happy face of a baby, life is a lot better. Trust me. Beauty is everywhere. We just have to be looking for it.
Wear colors that make you happy. Eat chocolate, or whatever you really, really like, every once in awhile. Bake some bread. Travel! Go places you want to go, even if it's just somewhere in your state that you've never seen.
Spend time with your family. In the end, they're the only ones that are sort of guaranteed to be sticking around.
Read Jane. Yes, it will make you happy (and I had to put that in.).
Celebrate every single birthday you have. This is very important. Getting older is not a bad thing. It's a great thing. Look at all you have done! I have this CHristmas memories book I got a few years ago. In it, it has places for parties, presents, decorations, etc., for each year. But it also has a page of "What happened this year". I write down everything--big national events, things like who got married and who was born, shows I was in, great movies I saw....and it helps me remember all the great times I have. Keeping a journal is another great way to do this.
Spend time with your friends. Remember that no one on their deathbed said, "Wow, I wish I would've worked more!" Smile. Say "Good morning" to your co-workers. Say thank you to waiters at restaurants. Hold the door open for others. Splash through a fountain barefoot.
Really, though, just enjoy the ride. It's over way too soon.