How to change the world by sitting on countertops, drinking hot cocoa, screwing calories and reading Neruda out loud.


Wake up. Don’t press snooze. Sling legs over the side of the bed. Right. Left.

Turn on music. Good, Good Music. Like First Date, New Shoes, Better Yet- Bare Foot Music. You need a life soundtrack, has anyone told you that yet?

Pick out something spectacular from your closet. Feel good in your skin. Put on an item that tells some kind of story. Always have a story to tell, just a wrist or coat sleeve away. And if that yellow sweater aint got a story yet, vow that this will be the day it comes home with one.

Wear bright cardigans on the rainy days. Rain boots on any day. And if the sun is shining and someone asks why you are clomping around in red wellies, you simply say that you Parading in Puddles of Passion Today. Offer them a flute in the Parade. A trombone or a front row spot.

Take your bag. A few bobby pins. A hair elastic as you will need one. You know you will. Remember breakfast. Greek yogurt, perhaps? Berries? Honey is good for the heart. Red Kettle. Drip Coffee. Yellow Mug. Teaspoons of Sugar Cause You Just So Sweet.

Coat. If you need it.

Walk outside.

Open doors for others. Compliment the woman at the corner. Ask yourself what a real life, human, fleshy “retweet” would look like and try it with the girl on the subway beside you. It must be one part conversation. Two parts listening. Another part learning something and telling someone else when you reach 59th street and walk the rest of the way because the air is just too good for underground travel today. Acknowledge people. Look them in the eyes. Better yet, memorize their eye color like the roots to spanish words you digested before the 8th grade test on verbs.

Research ways to be a blessing. Yes, research. Google. For starters: care packages, postcards, cookie recipes, trinkets. Call instead of texting today. Email instead of Facebooking. Use that status of yours to lift up your network. Keep the drama for your Mama and if you really listened to your Mama then you know she aint’ a Keeper of Drama. So let it go. Out the windows. Under the Doors. Let all the mean thoughts slip away with the winter that never came.

Clean. Your room. Your car. Your pocketbook. You’ll feel lighter. You will find that you don’t need all of it. Get rid of the things that hold you down. Back. Standing still in a spot that expired two years ago. If it is too hard to let go then throw a Going Away Party. Pack all the memories in a box and whisper lies to them, “You are just going on a vacation. You’ll come back soon.” Love notes without the lovers. Old shirts without the arms to wrap them in. Make room for new love notes. New shirts. New arms. Buy new doormats. New can openers.

Take time on people, as if it were the only thing you had to do today. Ask hard questions. Listen when they don’t answer. People rarely get caught in rainstorms like the movies show, save the both of you a terrible cold and kiss him by the window instead. Say stuff. Hard stuff. Mammoth stuff that won’t fit the text messages. The Kinds of Things that Tap Danced Upon the Elephants in the Room. When he asks if it is him, tell him yes.

Unless it is a no. Avoid lies. Remember feelings and how simple they are. Sad. Happy. Tired. Joyful. Like red in preschool. Like 2 x 2 in the second grade.

Drink hot chocolate. Abandon chairs to sit on counter tops. Screw the calorie count every once in a while. Find an author whose words are like truffles for you. Sit on the countertop, drinking hot cocoa, screwing calories and reading Neruda out loud.

Learn a few greek words. Make pancakes for dinner. Write your dreams down, even when you insist that you don’t have the time. Place them some place where you can see them. Draw the tree that has been heavy on your heart all morning. Since childhood. For the past few weeks. A big family. A movement of sorts. A bestseller. A college education.

Decide on one person whom you will tell about the tree. Make a coffee date.

Ask yourself: How thick is my tree? How crisp are the leaves? How high are the branches? Can I climb them? Dare I climb them?

And, when you’ve drawn the tree completely, ask the most important question of all: Will it give shade to someone else one day?

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17 Comments

Filed under Life Lessons, Uncategorized

17 responses to “How to change the world by sitting on countertops, drinking hot cocoa, screwing calories and reading Neruda out loud.

  1. Kindness counts so much more than anyone would realize. Wonderful blog! Great writing! :-)

  2. Sarah Koci Scheilz

    Love this, Hannah. Read it and put on a fun bracelet, one that tells a story. Just because :)

  3. Michelle

    THIS IS GREAT!!! thanking YOU for writing this – HAVE A BLESSED DAY! :))

  4. Brianne

    You have an uncanny ability to post exactly what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. I hope YOUR day is also this kind of wonderful.

  5. Jill

    Simply amazing. Inspirational and straight to the point. I love it.

  6. Stephanie

    There is a great wake-up-in-the-morning song that is actually called “New Shoes” ironically, by Paolo Nutini…it always starts my day off on the right note, I highly recommend it!

  7. Your gift for inspiration shows itself yet again. I am just checking in, and really enjoyed this post. In short, it is a guide to how to succeed at being the best modern woman.

    “Your choices will change the world.” Empowering, surely, though I wouldn’t have chosen Neruda. Given your wonderful sentence about Spanish roots, you can probably enjoy him in his own language, but having read Residence on Earth once upon a time, I am rather dubious about his perspective. But “Better yet, memorize their eye color like the roots to spanish words you digested before the 8th grade test on verbs” is such marvelously said advice, and true!

    On a completely unrelated note, since you advise learning a few Greek words, here are a few I’ve learned while presently reading through Fustel de Coulanges’ The Ancient City.

    -Eupatrids; these were the ancient nobility of Greece, their rights rooted in their control of the priesthood, but whose powers faded and hence fell into irrelevance as the forms of ancient religion changed, centuries before the rise of democracy we usually study.

    -Tyrants were originally the dictatorial rulers the people backed to rule instead of the Eupatrids. Though the term wasn’t originally disparaging, it is noteworthy that the difference between Kings and Tyrants was that the former claimed to rule on behalf of the ancestral gods, while the latter were mere political leaders who claimed no higher authority for their power over men.

  8. Pingback: best things i’ve read this week: week of 3.11.12 « inspiration-driven life

  9. Pingback: Link love (Powered by bay runs and afternoon tea) | Musings of an Abstract Aucklander

  10. lettersfromasomedayeditor

    This is probably my top favorite post of yours– I read it with my morning coffee and instantly felt inspired and motivated for the whole day, so thank you.

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