Words, a lot of words have been thrown at me from a lot of people in my life, in various volumes and with implicated importance. As I round the corner on a new decade, some of these words resonate as advice and I am grateful for the lessons.
The Golden Rule. Learned from Church and School and Mom. Enforced deeply after smacking my Brother. Yes, I try to treat everyone as I’d like to be treated, which has varying levels of difficulty depending on my amount of sleep and unreasonable ‘customer service’ folk. I feel like this rule should get back on the radar for a lot of snotty youth and public figures, just saying.
THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. All caps because that’s how I heard it, often, sometimes including Dial soap therapy. I had such a great imagination. This one stuck, so memorable that I’ve used it with my Kids, without the Dial soap, because Dial tastes just like it smells. Yuck.
Do you love him? Will you marry him? “Oh, Yes, Grandma I love him so much” always my breathless reply. Grandma listened with unbridled enthusiasm for whomever my latest crush was, be it Michael Jackson or the hoodlum from the gas station that I just had to go out with. I chose boyfriends and later friends more wisely, because if they were not good enough to discuss with Grandma, they were not good enough for me.
Observe Parenting Styles. This was the only thing I learned from Lamaze class, and it was an aside as we sat there in post-birthing-movie shock. The gist is that the way you raise your kids will not be the way your friends, relatives, or strangers raise their kids. And this is the most sensitive topic ever, especially pertaining to Grandkids. So, when that kid is acting bananas at nursery school right in front of their parents (and if there is no actual danger), you can simply observe their parenting style without needing to voice an opinion that will one-hundred percent not be received well. Of course, my kid would never act like that. Until they did. My Husband and I have evolved this to saying: “Observe Parenting Styles” before laughing whenever we see anyone acting outrageous.
There are only two people in a relationship, and if you are listening you are not one of them. Meaning you should not go beat up your friends’ boyfriend or husband. Because later those two will surely still be together or married with four kids and you may want to vacation together. See think before you speak.
You never get the time back. This was advice to myself, formed because I felt guilty about leaving work for kid events. It became more poignant as my Grandparents, Parents and In-Laws aged and became ill, because you NEVER get the time back, ever. Call your Mom, Kids.
Let it Go. Elsa and Marie Kondo are correct: no one wants your shit. Ask anyone who has cleaned out a Parents’ house. It sucks. And you may just check out before you get to that Swedish cleaning thing, so get.rid.of.it.now. Especially that fringed jacket from Chicos that just fell off a hanger in your closet. This can also apply to attitude about things that happened long past: Let it go.
Practice, Practice, Practice. This applies to everything. Writing, kindness, exercising, saving the Earth, and for me, laughing can all benefit from practice. I’m Laughing at myself because I wasted a lot of time rolling my eyes at the above before realizing that I was, indeed, practicing this advice and not just taking it under advisement.