27 ways to be an (even) better person.

1. Maintain a vigorous sense of perspective. 99.9% of the things that seem absolutely urgent, completely infuriating, massively critical & totally MANDATORY won’t matter (to you, or the universe) in 100 years. Or even 100 days.

2. If your country is at war with another nation, make a concerted effort to be able to identify that nation on a map.

3. Learn to sit comfortably in silence.

4. Don’t go to life-altering concerts and spend the entire time peering through your smartphone & filming the proceedings.

5. When your mom wants to take your picture, let her. Even if you feel bloated, oily or disheveled. She doesn’t care. She loves you. Don’t harsh her mellow.

6. Pay attention to nuance.

7. Reign in the impulse to ‘fix’ everyone. Experiment with listening, nodding & not fixing.

8. Don’t be one of those people who is perpetually tardy, never has enough cash, chronically undertips, or straight-up flakes out. Just don’t.

9. Come bearing gifts. A bottle of wine. A potted orchid. Homemade currant-lemon scones. Genuine compliments.

10. Hand-written thank you notes. Always, always, always.

11. Don’t ignore (or lie to) volunteer fundraisers on street corners. Make eye contact. Be a human being. Tell them, “no, thank you.” Or my personal catch-all, “I respect the work you’re doing, but I prefer not to make financial decisions on street corners.”

12. Don’t whip out your smartphone for a surreptitious whirl through your incoming feed, when you’re socializing with (actual!) human beings. Who showered, dressed up & migrated across city blocks to be with you.

13. Know your limits. But transcend your limitations.

14. If you can’t remember the last book you read (because it was in junior high, and you just read the Cliffs Notes anyway) this is a problem. Remedy it.

15. Memorize (or write) one really good, solid toast. For weddings, bar mitzvahs & quinceaƱeras. Or impromptu celebrations.

16. Stop calling people ‘retarded,’ when you mean ‘dim-witted.’

And if you slip up once or twice, express profound remorse. Thrice in one evening? Slap yourself across the face. Grandly & forcefully.

17. Don’t assume you’ll be on ‘the list’ when your friend has a event, or that you’ll eat for free at their cafe, or that you’ll get a stack of free books from their launch party. Pay. Pay double. Show up. Be supportive.

18. Be KINDER than seems necessary. And more GENEROUS than seems reasonable.

19. Don’t say you will, if you won’t.

20. Don’t leave cruel, irrationally mean-spirited comments on perfectly lovely blogs. If something dramatically irks you, craft an elegant, respectful email. Get it all out of your system. And then delete it. You’ve got far more important things to do, no?

21. Learn how to pronounce the names of unfamiliar vegetables.

22. Keep it classy.

23. Get to the bottom of your Jealousy. Don’t be oblivious to your insecurities (or desires).

24. Make no secret of your disappointment, if indeed you have been gravely disappointed. But create a ‘teachable moment’ out of your distaste. Be vocal, and constructive.

25. Have an OPINION. It’s SO refreshing!

26. Treat the elderly with a combination of respect, awe & fascination. Ask questions. Lean into the stories.

27. Leave everything — apartments, national parks, people’s hearts — in better condition than you found them.