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  • The truth is this: I don’t know what to tell you to do differently.

    You will wait to get married, wait to have a baby, stay married for at least 20 years, have a child that will make you verklempt nearly every day, get books published, enjoy music and art and travel and food and friends. You will drive cars you like. You will get insomnia, but you'll recover; be patient. You will have a devastating back surgery and get cancer, too. (Don’t worry! It’s just a little cancer. That day you miss taking your daughter to see Bob Schneider because you’re in the ER for a spastic esophagus? Smart move.)

    You will make mistakes: You’ll get hysterical at a supermarket in Lake Powell, Arizona, when your daughter goes missing. Don’t do that; she just saw her dad and ran to him. You’ll say something to a friend that you can never take back. We all do. You'll try to shave your legs after your surgical staples are removed. Don't do it. You’ll take a job that sucks the soul out of you. Don’t do that, either, but we all do that, too.

    Remember four years ago when you were writing death poetry in your closet? You knew then that you weren’t the cheerful type, but you’re not the morbid, maudlin type, either. You practically invented what will come to be known as Bitchy Resting Face. So you’re going to designate a special place in hell for the people who tell you to smile.

    But the truth is also this: Smile lines look better on you at 40 than frown lines do at 51. And smiling is good exercise. (Get more of it.)

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