When she turned 61, Anne Lamott decided to “take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.” It is a seriously good distillation of decades of living from the author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

Here’s a tonifying excerpt — with our favorites bold-faced. (You can read the whole thing here.):

All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here…It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.

Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. 

Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. (See #1 again.) …Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table.

Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings…The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, “Help!” And then buckle up…

Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up.

Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this. If you are in a wheelchair, you must do chair exercises. Every single doctor on earth will tell you this, so don’t go by what I say.

Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to… Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk.


With thanks to Susan Dworski for alerting us!!

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