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Promise #5: To Let Oneself Off the Hook
I was raised Irish Catholic. Guilt and I, we're like this. There are so few situations in life where I don't wish I had handled something differently, or better, or where I don't play back a decision in my head over and over. Maybe this is why I made a particular friend. She's blonde and beautiful and from California. She was eating quinoa before the rest of us even knew how to pronounce it. I met her through an old job, and whenever I would come into work, frazzled, stressing out about some bad choice I'd made, she'd softly say, "Be good to yourself. Let yourself off the hook." She has no idea how often I hear her voice in my head repeating those words, and how many times they have saved me.

J. Courtney Sullivan is the author of the novels The Engagements (now out in paperback), Maine and Commencement.