It’s one thing to live. It’s another thing to live life fully. To live your best life.
Now that requires certain things. And yes, we know your kids/partner/vibrator/dog/sense of purpose and self-worth is one of them. But, let’s assume you’re all good on the kids/partner/vibrator/dog/sense of self-worth and purpose front.
Other than those things, we’re all entitled to a few simple things to really ramp up our life satisfaction. These are things without which the world might not fall apart, but it certainly becomes a whole lot shittier. There’s a little less joy in our world.
The good news is that these things are small and pretty easy to find. So go forth and make your life as kick ass as it can be.
1. A Good Pen
Preferably a large store of them, so you’re never without, but one will do. And we’re not talking a fancy MontBlanc here, people. A gel pen that flows smoothly will do.
2. The Perfect Lipstick Shade
Every girl needs that lipstick, the one that looks perfect with her skin and hair no matter if she’s dressed up or down, if she’s wearing red or baby blue, if she’s rocking jeans or nothing at all. You know the shade I mean. If you’re lucky, you have it in your stash. Maybe you have more than one for different occasions, because some of us are makeup whores and we accept and embrace that. But even when the shit hits the fan, as long as you’ve got that lipstick, everything will be okay. It’s that good.
3. A Good Pic of Your Kids — Both Digital and Analogue
You’ve got a million adorb photos of the babes on your phone and uploaded to Facebook. You need to be able to find it easily so you can flash it at strangers. But you also need the real deal, printed out and hung up. A cute pic of your kid will make you feel all warm and fuzzy nostalgic after bedtime, help you get through those bad times because they are so darn cute. Hang it up, bitch. Or stick it on an end table next to your coffee mug. So you can remember why you do this shit.
4. A Coffee Mug You Love
Because it will make you smile, every single morning, when you need it the most. When I’m sleep-deprived and stupid and feel like I can’t go on because it’s five fucking a.m. and I went to bed at two, my handmade mug with an angry face always makes me smile. Find that magic mug. Just make sure it holds a metric fuckton of coffee.
5. Just the Right Sunglasses
This goes even if you live in the Pacific Northwest, which, from what I can tell, the sun has forsaken for all time and eternity. You need the right sunglasses, the ones that frame your face the way you like, with the perfect tint that’s not too light and not too dark, which you can dress up and dress down.
6. The Perfect Throw Blanket
It’s warm. It’s fuzzy. It is, quite possibly, also wuzzy. It’s there for you when you’re perioding, when you’re PMSing, when you’re recovering from relationship woes or from that flu those germ factories you birthed passed on from preschool.
7. Your Sweetener Of Choice
I do Splenda. I’ll take Stevia in a pinch but I think it tastes metallic. My BFF loves Stevia and needs it like a drug. Another friend is a diehard, blue-packet Equal girl. A third will shiv you for her coconut sugar. And my husband says fuck all y’all and uses the real thing in raw brown form. Whatever you need, may you never be without it. Carry that shit in your purse, girlfriend.
8. Jeans That Don’t Show Your Buttcrack
OMG people, this is the 21st Century, how are we still unable to engineer jeans that don’t show my ass? May we all have at least one pair that doesn’t gape at the waist when we lean, squat, or bend. Because as moms, it’s not like we lean, squat, or bend very often.
9. Good Music
Let’s admit it: my definition (Hamilton and David Bowie) is probably very different from your definition (unless you’re into Hamilton and David Bowie). But you should always have, readily accessible, whatever you define as “good music” that you can belt out as loud as you can, from the belly and the heart and the soul.
10. Good Shoes
To you, this might be what we used to call “hooker heels”: sky-high spike pumps in some outlandish shade of red. This might mean the perfect low black heel that goes with everything. It may mean hiking boots that fit just right, or that perfect flip-flop. But whatever “good shoes” means to you, you fucking need the perfect pair.
11. The Perfect Yoga Pants
They may be old. They may be a little stretched out, but that makes them that much better. Mine have a tiny hole near the edge of the hem, and I don’t fucking care because they are perfect otherwise. We all need a pair of pants to slip into when we walk in the door, walk straight to the bedroom, shed our real clothes, and drop our bra on the bed. These are those pants. They are glorious. You love them. And they love you back.
Let’s not dissemble here. We need a Target to live our lives to the fullest. My mom lives a hour from the nearest Target and when I visit her, I sometimes think I might die from lack of the One Spot and Starbucks and seasonal kitchen towels. Sometimes I go to Target just to wander around and see what I need. I don’t need to know. Target will tell me.
It doesn’t matter what your tastes are. You need books, and you need time to read them. You need to always be in the middle of something, even in the midst of children and housework and spousing and everything else you do. Lord of the Rings. Turtles All the Way Down or Searching for Alaska or It or The Collected Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor. Books will push you, challenge you, save your soul, rise you up. Fiction or nonfiction. Biography or natural history. You fucking need it.
There’s more, of course. As a friend said, “You should always have a good car, good shoes, a good bed, a good office chair, and a good couch — that composes 95% of your life, if not more. Never skimp on those things.” He’s right, of course. But that shit’s complicated. You ever try to buy a damn mattress? Just cue up your Spotify playlist and head out to Target. Buy a mug and some pens. Your day will suddenly get 100% better.