When I was 11

11 was a tough year for me. I didn't know it yet, but my parents were on the verge of divorce, I was taking on my first lead role in a Shakespearean play (Viola, Twelfth Night, Rebel Shakespeare Company, Masconomet Park, Manchester-by-the-sea), and a new boy entered Manchester Elementary's class whom I was very taken with.

When Scottie Fitzgerald (F. Scott's daughter) was 11 in 1933, she received a letter from her dad, telling her what she should be worrying about, and what wasn't so necessary to worry about. I'll bet she took it with a grain of salt--what 11 year old would take the ramblings of a parent seriously?

I look at this now, and it looks nobel.

(Source: F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters)

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

Things to think about: 

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love,



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