A friend of mine described herself this way a few months back, and I thought it was awesome. She was making a point that she’s old enough and wise enough to make decisions for herself without having to ask anyone’s permission. I loved it, and I was kind of jealous. Even at 44, I’ve always kind of felt like a kid in a grown-up’s world. Maybe it’s because I’m the youngest of my five siblings or that for the longest time at work, I was the youngest person (and usually the only girl) in most every meeting room. Lord knows that hasn’t happened in a while, but that feeling of being a little girl in a big man’s world stuck.

Then I saw this picture of myself:


Oh my god.  I, Patti Carr Cocciolo, am a grown-ass woman! I’m wearing makeup, and real clothes, instead of yoga pants. I’m holding a cocktail and sporting some kind of statement earring.  And the truth is, I’m more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ever been. The combination of my age, my partner, my family, my friends and my yoga has gotten me here. And I’ve learned more than a few things along the way. So in the spirit of helping other grown-ass women (and men) come into their own, here’s some of what I’ve figured out, over lo these many years:


  1. Whenever possible, choose travel over stuff. Travel broadens your perspective and makes your heart soar in ways nothing else can. 
  2. Never stop learning. Take a class whenever you have the chance.  It makes you a better person, and it keeps your neurons happy.    
  3. Read. As much as humanly possible.    
  4. It’s not about how good it tastes right now. It’s about how it will make you feel in an hour or two or twenty-four.    
  5. In the words of Nora Ephron, practice “the religion of Get Over It.”
  6. Take care of your marriage, because one day, God willing, your children will leave.
  7. To paraphrase the wise words of my college roommate, spend your life with the people who make you laugh. Walk away from the ones who make you cry.
  8.  Do yoga.
  9. Call your mother. Better yet, go see her.
  10. Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exBEFCiWyW0 It’s not about washing off the pesticides anymore – the seeds are the pesticides now, so the poison is throughout so-called “conventional” produce:
  11. Choose high quality friends. Then hold on to them for dear life.
  12. Buy the pretty underwear and wear it every day.
  13. When you get up from an airplane seat, if you need to use a seat for balance, use the one you are vacating, not the one in front of you with the person in it.
  14. If you need to the help of a seat to stand up on an airplane, please see #8.
  15. Life is too short for cheap shoes. Or tacky handbags.
  16. Sponsor daily dance parties in your kitchen during homework time, even if you are the only one who actually dances.
  17. Take your clothes to the dry cleaner in a re-useable, cloth garment bag. The cleaners will happily put your clean clothes in there time and time again. If everyone did this one, small thing, imagine how much plastic we could eliminate. Boom.
  18. It’s okay to be 90% vegetarian and 10% bacon.
  19. Make out more.
  20. Squeeze your children all the time. I mean ALL the time. Even if it makes them crazy, it will be the good crazy, the all-loved-up crazy, AKA the crazy the world needs more of.

There you go. Twenty pieces of somewhat random wisdom. Take from this list what you want, and then add to it. I have to say, it's kind of a fun exercise. What would your top twenty pieces of wisdom be? Hmmm....


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