#1 — Quit your job, sell your house, buy a little camper, and drive around with Foxy. You’ll probably stay in the US, but the Canadian border is right there so be sure to keep both your passport and her vaccination papers in the glove box. A Scamp would be ideal, but a teardrop trailer is probably more realistic for towing behind the Subaru (get a trailer hitch installed, btw). I wonder if grizzly bears can rip the door off a camper? You need to stay in campgrounds that have actual bathroom facilities, because you require running water and a mirror in which to apply your $100 eye cream. Don’t sell that long leash at your yard sale next month, because when you sit in your lawn chair drinking boxed wine, Foxy will need to be tied to a tree so she doesn’t chase a rabbit and get eaten by a grizzly bear. Oh, and buy a lawn chair.
#2 — Train for a marathon. You’re 33-years old, for crying out loud, and your knees will only get worse. It’s now or never. It’s okay to start slow. Tomorrow morning go run a mile, and just build up from there. Never mind that running a mile sounds like torture, let alone 26.2. Achievement is more important than anything else, and think about how good your butt will look.
#3 — Move back to Seattle and get a Masters in Counseling. Maybe you would be good at it! You care about people, and all you ever want to do is talk about feelings anyway.
[searches 98103 in Zillow, loses all hope]
#4 — Never mind, you can’t pay money to go back to school. You need to make money. Stay where you are and throw everything you can into retirement. You’ve been doing that for years, but that financial guy says you’re behind — because don’t you have any concept of inflation?
#5 — Wait a second, don’t worry about money. Trust God. Birds of the air, lilies of the field. (But I really do want that $100 eye cream.)
#6 — Get a puppy. Foxy needs her very own dog.
#7 — Have a baby. There are lots of ways — just google it.
#8 — Move back to Nashville and do life with all of your old friends. It’s hotter than literal hell in the summer, and yeah there were those cockroaches and the possum that frequented your apartment on Music Row, but there are no better people on earth than your friends in Tennessee. What’s more important than relationships, anyway?
[searches 37206 in Zillow, loses all hope]
#9 — Do the Whole30.
#10 — Write more songs for one of the three recording projects you have in mind. Actually, just choose which one you want to make, and do it. DO IT. It’s so important that you be writing, creating, making, Annie. You’ve somehow allowed yourself to believe that writing isn’t something you’re qualified to do, and here I am, your better self, begging you to do whatever it takes to throw yourself into these songs. Please do it.
[prays that she can do it]
#11 — You should probably fall in love, never mind that you’re really bad at falling in love. Let’s skip this for now, maybe circle back later.
#12 — Minnesota isn’t bad, you know. Just be present. Be here now. Explore. Invite people over for dinner. Wallpaper the stairwell, and maybe get new kitchen cabinets at some point. One day you can build a garage, but only after you save enough to pay cash.
#13 — Go work for Dave Ramsey?
#14 — Move into your mom’s basement. Just regroup. If you didn’t have a mortgage, you could afford to do more yoga.
#15 — I’m loving the baby idea. Could the baby sleep in a teardrop trailer?
#16 — Colorado is the best. Move back to Denver and who cares what your job is as long as you’re able to get to the mountains every weekend.
[searches 80211 in Zillow, loses all hope]
#17 — Stop making plans and just go with the flow.
#18 — Don’t let your life pass you by.
#19 — Trust God, but tie your camel.
#20 — Get quiet. Listen. Go on a walk every morning and every night. Be kind. Be honest. Forgive. Forgive. Even yourself, forgive. Do your best. Don’t be afraid. Remember that you’re hemmed in, behind and before — and that somewhere in the jumble of Christmas lights, there’s still a straight line.