Get stuck. Stay in one place your whole life. Always order vanilla even though the menu is four pages long. Become the type of person who sends back lattes. Save up your money for a plasma TV instead of a plane ticket. Talk a lot about things you know nothing about. Have an affair with someone you don’t even find attractive.
Refuse to forget your ex. Make it impossible for yourself to do anything without remembering that you used to do it with them. Hug your knees under the sheets and think about how safe you felt when they held you at night. Remind yourself daily of how empty you feel. Find new ways to make yourself sad.
Get drunk all the time. Consider no Saturday night, national holiday or extended happy hour complete without a vodka-induced breakdown. Graduate college but keep drinking like you’re still in it. Notice that cheap beer tastes watery and stale when you drink it alone but drink it anyway. Look at old Facebook photos wasted and wonder where everyone went.
Never drink. Never do anything that could potentially be “bad” for you. Treat your body like the temple it is and say no to carbs, yes to wheatgrass, go to bed at ten sharp and turn down cake on your birthday. Take fifteen different dietary supplements. Monitor carefully. Succumb to nothing. Miss out on everything.
Compare yourself constantly, to everyone. Allow the standards of image-obsessed, age-obsessed culture to make you feel decrepit at 25. Scroll through skinny girls on Tumblr feeling wistful and inadequate. Pull at the skin on your hipbones, stomach, and underarms in the mirror. Sigh a lot. Sigh all the time.
Don’t fall in love with anyone or anything. Put an impenetrable wall between yourself and other people. Add a fire-breathing dragon and eight yards of barbed wire. Be suspicious of everyone’s motives. Hold grudges long after you’ve forgotten what for.
Fall in love with everyone and everything. Run after the next best thing like it’s a bus you’re perpetually late for. Throw your heart into every other stranger’s hands and be genuinely surprised to be hurt. Refuse to learn. Refuse to ever learn.
I’m not saying that at some point love isn’t staying up until 2am phone calls or stealing kisses when you least expect it, or instantly falling for each other’s favorite songs because it is, or at least that’s what the lead up to it feels like, but real love, is so much more. It’s going out at 12am to get something to eat for your wife who can’t get out of bed, it’s listening to them as they explode with vulnerability on your living room couch talking about how they were only so young when their parents passed on. it’s remembering how someone likes their coffee in the morning without asking—without ever asking, it’s visiting someone in the hospital knowing the last thing you want to do is see them in that condition, it’s wanting to be with that person despite everything, the future, the past, and everything in between, it’s the intimate things that you don’t even realize involve such intimacy, but they do, in secret, like the pinky promises you two made behind your back, to love one another for always, in the time you thought you were in love, when you were actually just on your way to it.
Nothing beats this kind of intimacy, when it’s about 3am and it feels like you’re the only two people in the world. There are no words or intentions, you’re just happy lying next to each other knowing that you never want to do this with anyone else. Just to consider that you’re each, essentially, a bag of bones and organs and muscles, and yet you’re both so much more than that because you’ve found each other and suddenly everything makes so much sense.