21 Maxims For My Girlfriend On Her Birthday
1. Go on squandering your youth and your talent. Don’t be frightened off—doing so will make it into a mature force.
2. Go on Doing It, but give some thought to follow-up techniques to ensure that you’ll be able to keep on Doing It until you no longer want to.
3. Taking 100 as your starting point, you’re already 79 years old.
4. Don’t think you’ve missed out on the moon and the stars, on the sound of footsteps in a deserted valley—you’ll encounter these things of nature in your own good time.
5. Life’s no big deal, but dying’s no great shakes either.
6. By all means, take pleasure as your measure in everything you do. You should also make an appropriate appreciation of pain—a profounder form of pleasure.
7. Madness should not be a state of mind but a way of living.
8. True madness is solitary and secret—no one should know about it, and nor should you speak about it.
9. Your only rule of thumb for moderation is whether or not you’ve been annihilated. Anything else is superfluous.
10. Balance between men and women is not all that important. It is only a stairway to one’s self.
11. Take matter to heart, and put spirit beyond the flesh. This will bring you peace of mind.
12. Believe that there is truth on this earth and that no one has a monopoly on it—least of all other people.
13. Fight to think a little more simply, to live a little more simply—that way you’ll save yourself a lot of wear and tear.
14. Start making friendships that will last you a lifetime.
15. Keep on loving, keep on doubting, keep on with all your current moods because there is nothing else apart from these.
16. Take appropriate care of your genitals. They often herald changes in your life, so ensure their sensitivity and health.
17. Loneliness is insoluble—don’t kid yourself into thinking you can find a way to solve it. Loneliness is not a problem, and so for that reason—
18. Treat loneliness as if it were another person inside of you.
19. Nothing to do? Then clean up your room.
20. Be brave. Bravery means fighting to keep the truth before you in any situation and not to be scared off by it.
21. Move on gradually to your twenty-second year.
— Jin Haishu, translated by Simon Patton