Guest Column

Susan McCorkindale
Susan McCorkindale

Our guest columnist for this issue is Susan McCorkindale, an author whose refreshingly witty and self-deprecating writing style can’t help but give you something to smile about. McCorkindale is a city girl at heart who was dragged “kicking and screaming” to live on a farm in Virginia. Through her writing, she manages to embrace all of life’s ups and down, quirks and challenges, with a sense of humor that is as honest as it is irreverent.

McCorkindale’s personal experience plays heavily into her work. Her husband, Stu, was a patient at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer just over a year ago. She works every day, in life and in all of her writing, to find the silver lining in that ordeal.

McCorkindale is also the author of two memoirs: Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl, and 500 Acres and No Place to Hide: More Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl. Learn more about her at

5 Do’s and a Do-Over

5 DO'S

1. Laugh. If you can't fix it, kill it, cure it, or eradicate it from the face of the earth, you can laugh at it. And you should. It helps. It heals. It makes the whole "life's a bitch" thing more bearable. Trust me on this.

2. Love. Never miss the chance to tell someone you love them. Your mom, your kids, your spouse, the hair stylist who fixed the dye job you did yourself, the friend who de-skunked your dog so you wouldn't come home to it after a long day at the hospital. Life is short. If you love someone, tell them.

3. Listen. The little voice telling you to buy the shoes and the bag, get the Goth black manicure, and learn to ride a horse? That's the one to listen to. You can always take the shoes and the bag back, the polish will last 10 days tops, and as long as the little voice isn't suggesting your ride bareback (and if it is, I suggest you stop putting Bailey's in your breakfast coffee), go for it.

4. Leap. Maybe you've always wanted to see the Amalfi coast or try stand-up comedy. Maybe you're itching to ditch your corporate gig to run a tiki bar or write the great American novel. It doesn't matter what you want to do, just that you do it. Don't wait for the time to be right, for someone else to give you permission, or for all the pieces to be in place. The stars will never be a hundred percent aligned, so leap, as the saying goes, and build your wings on the way down.

5. Let go. Anger, guilt, resentment, perfectionism, and shame are all crippling, soul-sucking emotions. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. And for Pete's sake, stop trying to be perfect. Flaws are the new black. Pass it on.


Not laughing, loving, listening, leaping, and letting go sooner. It took my husband's illness to make me realize how precious life is, and how crucial it is to be present and thankful for each moment, even the tough ones. There's a silver lining in every cloud. We just need to look for it. I don't regret not getting to this point sooner (particularly since regret is one of those aforementioned soul-sucking, crippling emotions I urge all of us to kiss off). I'm just happy to be here now.