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For My 11-Year-Old Annabelle: Things to Worry About

posted Tuesday July 10th, 2012

I spotted this list on Frances’ blog a few weeks ago, and made a note to share it today, Annabelle’s 11th birthday.

Apparently F. Scott Fitzgerald’s daughter, Scottie, grew up and wrote for The New Yorker and The Washington Post — and avoided her parents’ mental illness. Sounds pretty good to me.

And so here is Fitzgerald’s advice to Scottie on her 11th birthday, in the form of a letter written in 1933, list of things to worry about (and things not to worry about).

Happy birthday, my sweet Annabelle. My advice: Don’t worry about a thing. Stay just as you are — loyal, wise, beautiful and independent. But if you insist on worrying, check out this list from one of my favorite authors.

From F. Scott Fitzgerald:

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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Tags: Filed under: birthday parties, family by Amysilverman

2 Responses to “For My 11-Year-Old Annabelle: Things to Worry About”

  1. I love this.
    Happy birthday Annabelle!

    PS. You must be talking about another Annabelle…ELEVEN? Gah! :-)

  2. I appreciate that Annabelle is one of the best things that has ever happened to Sophie. (And vice versa.)

    My DS son’s brothers “get” him better than his parents. When we parents are dead & gone, our DS kids will have loving and sensible care.

    God bless Annabelle today and every day.

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