What I Wish I’d Known (in homage to Nora Ephron)

It’s better to be interesting than impeccable.

 

If you’re lucky to live long enough, you’ll see it again — but it will cost you more the second time. Examples: Bob Dylan, the Musée d’Orsay, the revival of the Broadway musical, childhood toys and vinyl albums happened upon at antique stores.

 

The person she was at twenty-five is the very same person she is at forty-five — but now she just has slightly more expensive shoes in her closet.

 

Don’t give too much of yourself away. You are not common.

 

Stretching is no joke.

 

Social media isn’t getting you more exposure.

 

Let him make you breakfast. Eat it naked in bed with him.

 

Time is far better spent in the devouring of novels, than in tubs of popcorn at forgettable summer blockbusters.

 

No one is sane. Especially you. So stop trying so hard.

 

Waterproof mascara has its cons.

 

Don’t sleep so far away from him.

 

People who say “I don’t judge” are most assuredly doing so — at precisely the time they’re uttering that very sentence.

 

Let the saleswoman fit you properly for a bra.

 

White zinfandel and port give the worst hangovers.

 

The dishes can wait.

 

You don’t have to vacuum if you have dimmer switches.

 

No one is happy all of the time, no matter what their voicemail message sounds like, what their Christmas letter says, or how clean their car interior is.

 

Don’t lend people any amount of money greater than twenty dollars, unless it’s a matter of life and death. Otherwise, it shifts the balance of things.

 

People who have no regrets are delusional liars.

 

White upholstery and young children are a bad mix. Upholster everything in chocolate brown, and let them build forts and bounce in knee socks.

 

You were far prettier than you ever realized.

 

You will have nothing to show for a half-hour spent with your wet hair, a round hairbrush and a nozzle hair dryer, once you step out the door into a humid August morning.

 

Read a few books about pregnancy. Read none about menopause.

 

There’s no end date on the parenting gig. Ever.

 

A cluster of candles in a softly-lit room is a woman’s best accessory.

 

Wear what makes you appear trust-worthy, wise and touchable.

 

You’ll own the room if you order scotch instead of white wine.

 

Get in the pictures more often. Even if you’re ten pounds heavier than you want to be, even if you don’t like your haircut, or even if you haven’t put on makeup yet. They won’t notice any of that when they discover those pictures of you after you’re gone. They’ll just feel your love around them a little bit more, and say how beautiful you look.

 

No one will ever love you in the way that your mother does. Your father loves you, but not in the same way that your mother does.

 

Dogs are problematic and messy and worth it. So are children.

 

Flirt more. Let life fall more sweetly in love with you.

 

Take off one item of jewelry before you go out to the party.

 

When you find the right shade of red lipstick that suits you, buy as many tubes of it as you can possibly afford. And then buy two more.

 

Stick with the instrument lessons.

 

It doesn’t matter if they’re first or second cousins.

 

There’s no shame in believing that they have to earn it. That’s not arrogance. That’s self-preservation.

 

Ask your grandmother or mother to make your favorite dish, pie or cookie for as long she’s able. Stay in the kitchen with her while she sifts and stirs. You will never replicate the exact texture, taste or aroma — but each time you cook with her, you will more deeply imprint the sensory memory, and it will then be more easily conjured and comforting to you, when the loss of the dish — and of her — clutches you in the randomness of subway commutes, and in drives late at night on the highway.

 

Love them anyway.

 

Love yourself a whole lot more.

 

New York City outlives everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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