1. Stay in bed. Hunker down under the covers. Read Sheila Heti’s How Should A Person Be? and highlight the passages that you feel specifically apply to your life. Eat too many cookies. Let your cat lick your face clean, but stop her when she tries to groom your eyebrows.
2. Practice your humble-yet-flattered face in the mirror. Smile with genuine warmth, but look down bashfully. Shrug nonchalantly and say thank you, then quickly change the subject. Remind yourself that this is what you should be doing when people compliment you, instead of rolling your eyes and making a self-deprecating joke.
3. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t turn on the news. Don’t read any articles whose headlines contain the words government, statistics or attachment parenting
4. Make a list of potential titles for the memoir that you might someday write, e.g. My Heart Is An Autumn Garage, Everything Is Overrated, or The Blunder Years. Wonder why no one appreciates your clever Salinger references or your hilarious puns.
5. Write a letter to Simone de Beauvoir that begins,
I wish you were still alive so that you could teach me to do my hair like yours. You always looked great.
Listen, I’m sorry Camus was such a dick to you, but let’s be honest, between him and Sartre, he was the better writer.
6. Look at pictures of baby otters:
Or else this picture of a kitten cuddling a potato:
7. Make a list of underused words that you love, and pledge to include them more often in your everyday vocabulary. These words might include bivouack, erstwhile, mawkish, hullaballoo, skullduggery, caterwaul, quotidian, skedaddle, peripatetic, zeitgeist.
8. Resist the urge to think about the future, dissect your failings or re-evaluate your life choices.
9. Invite your sister over. Drink fancy tea together. Watch Stand By Me and discuss what it would be like to a) live in 1950s America, b) have testicles, and c) discover a giant leech attached to said testicles.
10. Allow yourself wallow in whatever form of misery you currently feel like indulging in, for example self-pity, hopelessness or despair. Sure, your pain is self-inflicted, wallowing won’t help anybody, and you should just buck up and do something productive, but let’s be honest: that’s not going to happen today. And giving yourself permission to feel like crap is better than being angry at yourself for feeling bad, and also still feeling bad.
11. Hide your favourite pants, which now smell of gin, olives and regret, at the bottom of the laundry basket so that you don’t have to gag every time you walk by them.
12. Read your old journals. Marvel that your twenty-year-old self wrote the following:
This is the kind of love where you can be sitting watching a movie with someone and look over at them only to find them looking back at you, and you know in that instant that they were going to say exactly what you were going to say, so that in the end no actual words have to be exchanged. Maybe it’s not the most exciting kind of love, but sometimes it’s all that we’ve got.
If you can’t make it good or beautiful, at least make it interesting.
I’m lonely here, and I’m not tough enough for this neighbourhood – its inhabitants can see right through my translucent skin to my uncertain heart.
13. Swear that you will never, ever drink again.