12th (Self Help) Day of Xmas – Don’t Worry

I swear, I cannot get though a week without some sort of Fitzgerald.  I feel like this is advice he is giving his daughter, but it is almost trying to tell her to take a different path than her parents.

fitzgerald scottie

In 1933, renowned author F. Scott Fitzgerald ended a letter to his 11-year-old daughter, Scottie, with a list of things to worry about, not worry about, and simply think about. It read as follows.

(Source: F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters; Image: F. Scott Fitzgerald with his daughter, Scottie, in 1924.)

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,

Daddy

via Lists of Note.

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