tiny beautiful things

I just bought a book with this title, written by Cheryl Strayed of Wild fame. The bookstore clerk enthused about how much she loved it, despite sharing my dubiousness about the “self-help industrial complex.” The store gives you a bookmark with every purchase, and she quickly paged through and stuck it in. When she handed it back to me, she said “I put your bookmark at a really important part.”

Q: If you had to give one piece of advice to people in their twenties, what would it be?
A: To go to a bookstore and buy ten books of poetry and read them each five times.
Q: Why?
A: Because the truth is inside.
Q: Anything else?
A: Be about ten times more magnanimous than you believe yourself capable of being. Your life will be a hundred times better for it. This is good advice for anyone at any age, but particularly for those in their twenties.
Q: Why?
A: Because in your twenties you’re becoming who you’re going to be and so you might a well not be an asshole. Also, because it’s harder to be magnanimous when you’re in your twenties, I think, and so that’s why I’d like to remind you of it. You’re generally less humble in that decade than you’ll ever be and this lack of humility is oddly mixed with insecurity and uncertainty and fear. You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.

I don’t know that this exactly describes my twenties, but certainly it’s a tiny beautiful thing. Thanks for the reminder, bookstore clerk! Let’s be warriors for love.

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