Photo: Alice Oglethorpe/Courtesy of Wild Lilac Inc
1. Learn to take care of yourself.
It used to be that your mother would bring you to the pediatrician for a back-to-school physical and buy you the Barbie of your choice immediately afterward. But now it's time to take charge of your own health. Granted, nobody wants to hear the doctor say, "Miss Kogan, your blood appears to be composed entirely of Ambien and Splenda," but better to hear it and change it than to end up being mistaken for Keith Richards's craggier older sister. Finish reading this article, grab your phone, and go schedule a mammogram, colonoscopy and dental cleaning.
2. Embrace confrontation.
Why is expressing anger so deeply uncomfortable for adult women? Instead we'll toss out a lacerating barb, sigh, sulk and eat vast quantities of potato products. Don't get me wrong: I'd be all for burying one's rage if that were an effective way to make it go away, but driving your feelings underground only forces them to pop back up bigger and uglier, usually at an inappropriate time and place. One minute you're running an errand; the next, a Costco security guard has confiscated your 48 rolls of Cottonelle and escorted you to the parking lot...but perhaps I've said too much.
3. Figure out what you need, and ask for it.
Repeat after me: "Darling, it would mean more to me than words can possibly say if you'd stop leaving an empty cardboard tube where the toilet paper should be—oh, and by the way, we're no longer welcome at Costco."
4. Quit blaming your mother for everything that's wrong in your life...
even if she felt compelled to save a few bucks by trimming your bangs herself, systematically destroying all that was ever good and decent in your world.
5. Two words: club soda.
The time to stop drinking is before you start to find the podiatrist who got rid of your cousin's plantar wart charming.
6. Have a little perspective, please.
Iran is about a year away from nuclear capability, food labels are frightening, schools are dangerous and there's talk of Hollywood actually making Taken 3. I'd be worried for you if you weren't at least a little bit scared. But to quote the brilliant philosopher Elmer Fudd, "Be bwave, widdoe wabbit." It's one thing to acknowledge your anxieties; it's quite another to reject sushi, air travel and a perfectly decent pit bull because you choose to let your anxieties rule you. Not every single grown-up is capable of facing every single fear, but the only thing you accomplish by hiding under the bed is discovering how bad you are at vacuuming under the bed.
More Life Advice from Lisa Kogan
From the June 2013 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!