I am squarely in the middle of my life and it’s been kind of like walking into the wrong room, wondering “why am I in this room?” and then finding the door locked behind me. We are in this room now. We must make it work.

I’ve helpfully collected some cheerful advice for you, tiny suggestions to help you make friends with this crap room. I miss the rooms before, I think, but I can’t remember much about them.

Now, to the helpful tips —

  • Take a four-mile bike ride over mostly flat terrain to and from the liquor store and carry bottles of wine home in your backpack. Weight training and aerobics.
  • Once a week, go to the farm and walk to the raspberry field farthest from your car. The extra few minutes of walking will offset the butter in the breakfast bars you make.
  • Chocolate. Only the darkest and I’m pretty sure you can have as much as you want. It’s also really good if you melt it with butter and cream and slather it all over a buttermilk chocolate cake.
  • Bitters. Secret and ancient, made with botanical matter, this medicine makes sugar and champagne so much better. And it’s good for you.
  • Yoga. There’s something about enrobing oneself in stretchy fabrics and twisting into odd postures while a lithe young woman yells, “Beautiful!” over a soundtrack of techno chant, that makes you feel as if you are marginally athletic and making good choices.
  • Sex. Whatever that means to you, I’m pretty sure it’s healthy.
  • Walk the dog. It has to be done anyway, those 200 steps count.
  • Sleep. Whenever, wherever you want, for as long as the gods of aging will allow.
  • Make your own limoncello. It’s an activity, it’s loaded with vitamin C, and it teaches patience.
  • Put farm fresh onions and/or sauerkraut on all of your hot dogs.
  • Join that charming local bread share, the one with the artisanal loaves made with organic, farmer-ground flour, sourdough starters and stuff. It’s a wonderful vehicle for things like butter and goat cheese and melted chocolate and, because it’s local and wholesome, it’s good for you.
  • Aperol. Who knew?
  • Salute the sun in the morning and put your legs up the wall at night. See yoga above.
  • Marijuana. It’s medicinal. I’m guessing.
  • Tennis. Two-court, multi-bounce, no serve tennis. With beverages.
  • One brazil nut per day. This is very important, selenium or something.
  • Stop reading plans, lists, hacks, and how-to’s. Except this one. Bookmark this one.

Lisa Renee is a poet and essayist living near a big lake in New York. You can find her writing on Medium, and in Exposition Review, HuffPost Australia, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and Eastern Iowa Review. She is also managing editor of nonfiction at daCunha. 

Watch this

Remembering: Katherine Johnson