Things To Worry About, Things Not To Worry About

As we talked about yesterday, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s letter to his daughter has all sorts of fatherly and Stoic wisdom (from a man who has loved and lost and suffered many setbacks of his own making). The best of the letter is the list of items he gave to young Frances about what she should and shouldn’t worry about. He wrote:

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.

Not a bad list whether it was from the year 33 AD or 1933 or 2017. Except for maybe the horsemanship thing.

(You can read more of Fitzgerald’s letters and advice and private struggles to turn his life around in the wonderful book The Crack Up, which was edited and published by his friend Edmund Wilson)