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    16 Things F. Scott Fitzgerald Doesn't Want You To Worry About

    In 1933, Fitzgerald wrote an adorable letter to his daughter, who was away at camp. In it, he provided the secret to happiness.

    The following is a letter F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his 11-year-old daughter when she was at camp. Prepare yourself for great wisdom...

    Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    August 8, 1933

    Dear Pie:

    I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.

    All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare's in which the line occurs "Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds."

    Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up a Saturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me "Pappy" again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?

    I will arrange the camp bill.

    Halfwit, I will conclude.

    Things to worry about:

    Worry about courage

    Worry about Cleanliness

    Worry about efficiency

    Worry about horsemanship

    Worry about. . .

    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,


    P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. "Egg Fitzgerald." How would you like that to go through life with — "Eggie Fitzgerald" or "Bad Egg Fitzgerald" or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear to God I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?

    Love anyhow.

    Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    Letter via Letters of Note.

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