Things to Worry & Not to Worry About.


{F. Scott Fitzgerald with his daughter, Scottie, in 1924. / Via}

{F. Scott Fitzgerald with his daughter, Scottie, in 1924. / Via}

F. Scott Fitzgerald has written many words that have left me feeling delightfully full and abundantly dizzy. He has carefully crafted dozens of my favorite characters and provided me with pages upon pages of lofty inspiration.

But the most memorable collection of words comes from this list of things to worry about that he attached at the end of a letter to his daughter, Scottie. He made it short and sweet and I always come back to suck all the wise nectar out of it. It leaves juicy remnants of deep thought running down my mouth and I’m always hesitant to wipe it away.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage.
Worry about cleanliness.
Worry about efficiency.
Worry about horsemanship.

Things not to worry about: 

Don’t worry about popular opinion.
Don’t worry about dolls.
Don’t worry about the past.
Don’t worry about the future.
Don’t worry about growing up.
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you.
Don’t worry about triumph.
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault.
Don’t worry about mosquitoes.
Don’t worry about flies.
Don’t worry about insects in general.
Don’t worry about parents.
Don’t worry about boys.
Don’t worry about disappointments.
Don’t worry about pleasures.
Don’t worry about satisfactions.

I encourage us all to write our own lists.

Write it in bright red lacquer and have it permanently stain the notepad in your heart. (Or scribble it down on that napkin in your purse, your choice.)

Here’s mine, to get you started:

Worry about the people that feel like home. Worry about them as if they were your sustenance; your quenched thirst, your first memory.

Worry about goodness and what it means to you. Define it for yourself, with your own secret passages and hidden text that only you can decipher.

Worry about touch. Worry about the tender mess of fingers down your back and lips pressed against your warming collarbone. Remember all the touches that left invisible indentures on your skin, the touches you can always feel.

Worry about growth. But don’t worry about growing up.

Worry about nurturing your solitude — worry about cradling it in your tired arms and resting in it until you feel strong enough to face the world again.



Worry about honesty above all things, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.

Worry about loyalty.

Worry about play. Worry about wide-eyed wonder and running barefoot through sand or snow or grass or anything that makes your toes tingle and reminds you of how truly alive you are.

Worry about your passion. Figure it out as soon as possible and drown yourself in it. This, your passion, it’ll make you impervious to life’s decay. It’ll make you indestructible.


Worry about the details — the seemingly insignificant things. Those are the important things.

Worry about what I’m sorry means to you. (For me, it means “I’ll try to do better” and/or “I wish that wouldn’t have happened.”)

Worry about how well you love. Worry about the intervals of love you set the clock of your heart to. Then break that proverbial clock because love isn’t time sensitive, love is endless. Give it out that way.




Don’t worry about goodbyes.

Don’t worry about stereotypes — you are more than your likes, your dislikes. You are a culmination of everything you have ever come in contact with. Being “typical” is inevitable and you should be able to like whatever you like, wholeheartedly, without any expectation.

Don’t for one second worry about hopelessly blasphemous beauty standards. You are a gem. You are ephemeral. There is beauty built into your bones and if you let yourself be moved by it, that’s all you’ll need.

Don’t worry about darkness. Your fevered eyes will drown it out. You are endless twilight, always glowing onward.

Don’t worry about love that isn’t true. You deserve more than sticky sweet kisses that bend into you, because their actual shape doesn’t fit yours. Don’t worry about the diluted version of anything less than love. Anything less than ripe and juicy, raw love.




Don’t worry about the weight and pull of regret. Do not let it swaddle through your mind, sopping up all that haunts you.




{Your time is limited. Worry about your aliveness.}



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