The everyday wisdom of Amy Poehler’s ‘Yes Please’

I’ve grown up on Amy Poehler, cracking up to her characters on Saturday Night Live and embracing her portrayal of the witty and wonderful Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. Reading her debut Yes Please (which was released last week but for which reviews are still rolling in) is like reading a book written by one of your favorite family members. There are certain moments you remember occurring (shout out to the Bronx Beat sketch on SNL!) and many more that you never knew about, but are stoked to see included.

Yes Please is chock full of incredible wisdom from a truly funny lady. I found myself highlighting a lot of it in the hopes that I could apply that knowledge to my own chaotic life choices as a twenty-something.

In no particular order, here are 15 of my favorite life lessons from Amy. You may have your own favorite quote or two so feel free to comment. I’d love to hear yours too.

1. “Going from crying to laughing fast and hard happens maybe five times in your life and that extreme right turn is the reason why we are alive, and I believe it extends our life by many years.”

2. “You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing. That is what I know.”

3. “I think we should stop asking people in their twenties what they ‘want to do’ and start asking them what they don’t want to do. Instead of asking students to ‘declare their major’ we should ask students to ‘list what they will do anything to avoid.’ It just makes a lot more sense.”

4. “Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier.”

5. “It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate.”

6. “Any painful experience makes you see things differently. It also reminds you of the simple truths that we purposely forget every day or else we would never get out of bed. Things like, nothing lasts forever and relationships can end. The best that can happen is you learn a little more about what you can handle and you stay soft through the pain.”

7. “Adventure and danger can be good for your heart and soul.”

8. “A word about apologizing: it’s hard to do it without digging yourself in deeper. It’s also scary and that’s why we avoid the pain. We want so badly to plead our case and tell our story. The bad news is everyone has a story. Everyone has a version of how things went down and how they participated. It’s hard to untangle facts and feelings.”

9. (On sex advice for girls.) “Keep your virginity for as long as you can, until it starts to feel weird to you. Then just get it over with. Try not to have your first time be in a car.”

10. (On sex advice for guys.) “Be nice, tell your woman she is hot, never shame her, and never hurt her.”

11. “Women are mighty.”

12. “You will never climb Career Mountain and get to the top and shout, ‘I made it!’ You will rarely feel done or complete or even successful.”

13. “Remember, your career is a bad boyfriend. It likes it when you don’t depend on it. It will reward you every time you don’t act needy. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you. If your career is a bad boyfriend, it is healthy to remember you can always leave and go sleep with somebody else.”

14. “Doing something together is often more fun than doing it alone.”

15. “Life is crunchy and complicated and all the more delicious.”

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