perfect books are perfect

Get some sleep.

Don’t give advice.

Take care of your teeth and gums.

Don’t be afraid of anything beyond your control. Don’t be afraid, for
instance, that the building will collapse as you sleep, or that someone
you love will suddenly drop dead.

Eat an orange every morning.

Be friendly. It will help make you happy.

Raise your pulse rate to 120 beats per minute for 20 straight minutes
four or five times a week doing anything you enjoy.

Hope for everything. Expect nothing.

Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room
before you save the world. Then save the world.

Know that the desire to be perfect is probably the veiled expression
of another desire—to be loved, perhaps, or not to die.

Make eye contact with a tree.

Be skeptical about all opinions, but try to see some value in each of them.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Learn something every day. (Dzien dobre!)

Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.

Don’t stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don’t
forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm’s length
and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass ball
collection.

Be loyal.

Wear comfortable shoes.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Be kind to old people, even when they are obnoxious. When you
become old, be kind to young people. Do not throw your cane at
them when they call you Grandpa. They are your grandchildren!

Live with an animal.

Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.

If you need help, ask for it.

Cultivate good posture until it becomes natural.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Plan your day so you never have to rush.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Expect society to be defective. Then weep when you find that it is far
more defective than you imagined.

When you borrow something, return it in an even better condition.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

After dinner, wash the dishes.

Calm down.

Visit foreign countries, except those whose inhabitants have
expressed a desire to kill you.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Sing, every once in a while.

Be on time, but if you are late do not give a detailed and lengthy
excuse.

Don’t be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.

Don’t think that progress exists. It doesn’t.

Walk upstairs.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do
anything to make it impossible.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not possible, go
to another one.

If you feel tired, rest.

Grow something.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Appreciate simple pleasures, such as the pleasure of chewing, the
pleasure of warm water running down your back, the pleasure of a
cool breeze, the pleasure of falling asleep.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Learn how to stretch your muscles. Stretch them every day.

Don’t be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel even
older. Which is depressing.

Do one thing at a time.

If you burn your finger, put it in cold water immediately. If you bang
your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for twenty
minutes. You will be surprised by the curative powers of coldness and
gravity.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Be calm in a crisis. The more critical the situation, the calmer you
should be.

Enjoy sex, but don’t become obsessed with it. Except for brief periods
in your adolescence, youth, middle age, and old age.

Contemplate everything’s opposite.

If you’re struck with the fear that you’ve swum out too far in the
ocean, turn around and go back to the lifeboat.

Keep your childish self alive.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Cry every once in a while, but only when alone. Then appreciate
how much better you feel. Don’t be embarrassed about feeling better.

Do not inhale smoke.

Take a deep breath.

Do not smart off to a policeman.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Be good.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Remember beauty, which exists, and truth, which does not. Notice
that the idea of truth is just as powerful as the idea of beauty.

Stay out of jail.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.

Do not go crazy a lot. It’s a waste of time.

Read and reread great books.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

In winter, before you go to bed, humidify your bedroom.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to drink,
say, ‘Water, please.’

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Be kind to physical objects.

Beginning at age forty, get a complete ‘physical’ every few years
from a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Take out the trash.

Love life.

Use exact change.

When there’s shooting in the street, don’t go near the window.

—  Ron Padgett, How to be Perfect

And that’s what I thought love was like: perfect.
It isn’t.
I thought love was supposed to make you feel like you’re invincible.
It doesn’t.

Love’s a wreck. It’s not like what they show you in movies or  pop songs. It’s terrible.

But why am I still waiting for the one?
Because even if love doesn’t make me feel invincible, it makes me feel alive. Those short, flashes of brilliance and happiness makes me feel like everything’s worth it.

—  LA // excerpt from a book I’ll never write