Mom’s tips & truths for life.

Hey Four!

I thought that I’d try to lighten things up a bit. So rather than get all deep, I am going to try and just and share some basic advice that can be read all at once or skimmed and scanned. Some of this I learned from my family/friends/teachers and other things I have picked up from attending leadership workshops and from my own variety of readings. The more that I wrote, the easier these came. Suddenly I am aware that there is a lot of advice knocking around in my noggin that I wish I would have paid attention to my whole life. There is a lot here, as I would type a little, take a break, and then while doing some house stuff something else would pop in my thoughts. These are not in any particular order, just as they come to me.

  1. People can’t read your mind, and shouldn’t be expected to. Communicate clearly.
  2. Junk food makes you feel like garbage. Eat to live, don’t live to eat. Food is fuel, so treat your body like a very expensive car and only put high quality energy in it.
  3. Make eye contact, offer firm handshakes, and smile. These are subtle important first impressions.
  4. Be friendly and kind to everyone – even people you don’t know. The world is a rough place and your friendliness may make a huge, positive impact on someone’s day and it didn’t cost you any effort.
  5. Always say please and thank-you. It is a common courtesy.
  6. When you fail to carry an umbrella and/or you decide to wash a car, it will rain.
  7. Don’t take chances with funky smelling food past the expiration date. Your nose knows it smells bad as part of thousands of years of evolution where your distant ancestors ate something bad and got very sick. There is a metaphor in this.
  8. You may have youth and vitality, but it doesn’t last forever, so be respectful of your young body and wear sunscreen, lift with your legs, and don’t do risky, stupid things like dive head-first off a cliff into water that you are not sure is deep enough. That dive-head first bit is also another metaphor for life.
  9. Don’t smoke. It will take years off your life, age your skin and voice, make you and the things around you stink, and create a habit that is expensive and hard to kick.
  10. Love your veggies. If you can reach for a veggie snack first, do it…the payoff will be great health.
  11. Do not gossip. Even The Bible warns about this. It makes you come across mean and spiteful. Beware of even just being around gossip too. People who gossip will often be gossiped about too. It is just bad taste.
  12. Don’t see people with only your eyes as that is blind. Learn to let go of shallow judgements and give all people a chance. Your open nature will bring more amazing people into your world and your life will be the richer for it.
  13. Learn something musical. If you can sing and/or play an instrument you will open up a new realm of emotional expression and an experience that is unique to music alone. Humans have been musical as long as they have been linguistic…for a good reason.
  14. Unplug…unplug…unplug. You will be immersed in a world of instant everything. Life is not instant. Unplug and teach yourself a different rhythm. Quiet patience is a valuable virtue.
  15. Good handwriting is worth it. As we type and text more, fewer people have nice handwriting, so in making sure yours is nice you will stand out – especially to employers.
  16. Use proper grammar and correct spelling. Again, with autocorrect and text lingo, people come across as uneducated even when they have a college degree. Use “your” and “you’re ”; “there”, “their”, and “they’re”; and “its”, “it’s”, correctly. Learn to spell tricky words correctly for yourself and not rely on autocorrect as it won’t catch everything.
  17. Always be working on reading a book. Books, while entertaining, keep your brain sharp as they require the effort of reading, comprehension, and your imagination.
  18. Write timely “thank you” notes (with good handwriting) and send them snail mail as that is a classy gesture that shows your are a grateful person.
  19. Chivalry is not dead, and good deeds are not limited to damsels in distress. If you see someone you can help – help. This may be an elderly person trying to carry something, a person being picked on, or a distressed animal.
  20. Tell the truth. Allowing yourself to get away with little white lies is a slippery slope into a web of falsehood where you can ruin your relationships and reputation.
  21. Drink water…lots of water keeps you healthy.
  22. Don’t drink stuff full of chemicals….it will rot your guts over time.
  23. Good hygiene is a non-negotiable. It keeps you healthy and makes sure no one around you gets grossed out (toss back to that valuable first impression thing too).
  24. Beware of social media. It can be a nice part of your interaction with the world, but it is not real interaction. When you are around people who have come to see you and spend time with you, give them your attention. Your online world will not fall apart because you are not glued to your phone.
  25. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes observing everything around you and practice seeing details big and small.
  26. Save money…there is always going to be a rainy day, so have that savings for things you can not foresee. You also may not want to work forever, so save now so you can rest and enjoy life later.
  27. Learn to cook and bake. Having a mastery over food preparation will keep your diet diverse and fresh. Your friends and family will appreciate having your dishes as part of their traditions.
  28. Keep your home clean and organized. When you keep up with little tasks on a regular basis your abode will not go to decay and become plagued with overwhelming projects.
  29. Spending time with a cat or dog is time well spent. Studies show petting a dog or cat can reduce blood pressure.
  30. Learn to fix things for yourself, and know when a project should be handled by a professional.
  31. Get enough sleep. Know what is considered the healthy recommended range of shut-eye and strive for that as it is just as important as eating well and exercising. Sleep is necessary.
  32. Be good listener. That means you are giving your full attention to a person. It also doesn’t mean that you need to do anything more than listen.
  33. If you borrow money, even just a little, repay it in a timely manner.
  34. Recognize when you are wrong and when you say “I’m sorry” mean it by not doing that thing again.
  35. Have a journal and use it from time to time, for the highlights and the struggles of your life. Being able to see how far you’ve come can be a very powerful tool for reflection.
  36. Learn how to appreciate, understand, and analyze poetry. Then write a poem.
  37. Meditate. Just breathe in and out and let everything melt away.
  38. You can not change a person, they are who they are. People are not projects, they are just as complicated, awesome, and unique as you are.
  39. You are guaranteed to make mistakes; learn from them and practice forgiving yourself and letting go of things from your past that can weigh you down and cloud the way you see the world as you go forward.
  40. If you find yourself irritated about some trait in someone else, take a close look in the mirror. Science says we are drawn to faults in others that we fail to acknowledge in ourselves.
  41. Volunteer and donate. Practice philanthropy because you feel good about doing so and you have been blessed to be able to do so. It will keep your life in perspective.
  42. You will never have had enough time with your grandparents. You will not realize that until it is too late, so give them as much time as you can.
  43. Pick your battles, you can not take on every problem all at once and not all problems are worth the battle. Your time and energy are precious so use them wisely.
  44. Don’t procrastinate too many things too often. Getting things done feels really good. If you keep a to-do list, enjoy crossing things off.
  45. Learn the art of surrender. Simply ball up your fists and squeeze tight for 30 seconds, then release. Doesn’t that release feel good? Your thoughts and feelings can be like that. You can’t always be in control, so knowing how to and actually surrendering is good.
  46. Everything in moderation. Enough said.
  47. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help, especially when you are the most afraid to (which is when you may need it the most). If you get into a sticky situation, get help rather than maybe get hurt.
  48. Drive safely no matter what. Even if you think you are a better driver than others, the roadways are shared, and your destination is no more crucial than anyone else’s. And for that matter…don’t text and drive…don’t do it!
  49. Crying is okay. Sometimes it can make you feel better.
  50. Raging? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Science has shown that a brain full of the chemicals our body releases when we are raging is not a sane brain. So, practice taking a time-out and letting those chemicals get out of your system so you can think straight.
  51. Leave the world a better place by the good efforts and deeds you accumulate over your lifetime. Leave the world a better place by simply not littering.
  52. Tend a garden or nurture a plant. It is amazing to see things grow.
  53. When you are angry and yell thinking to be heard, no one remembers your words they only recall that you lost your shit (“could not maintain your composure”).
  54. Life is not fair, but that doesn’t mean you should not always try. Even when the odds are against you, you still might win.
  55. What goes around comes around. Be careful of what karma you put out in the world.
  56. Play. It is important to find fun in your day and to forever remain a kid at heart.
  57. Beware of following a crowd. Think for yourself. As I read somewhere be more afraid of a wolf that leads an army of sheep versus an army of wolves headed by a sheep.
  58. Even when we (your parents) annoy, embarrass, and limit you we will always love you. Sometimes tough love is tough, but it is always love.
  59. Live life fully, boldly, and passionately.
  60. As Emerson said (and as cats do), Live Life in the Sunshine. I just really like that one and when I see Mittens snuggled in a fur puddle warmed by sunshine, what can be better than that?
  61. Your good health is worth more than anything in your life. Period. Don’t procrastinate doctor visits as this is a time where medicine can do so much for people, and believe that your doctors have always heard something way more gross and strange than anything you may be afraid to tell them…so tell them.
  62. The body you were born with is perfect just as it is. You may have a big nose, or maybe you get a scar from a sport, and one day you will age. This is all normal and you should not compare and compete with unrealistic media stereotypes as they are mostly unattainable. Maintain good health and accept yourself flaws, flab, balding head and whatever may come.
  63. You can not fully love someone else until you love yourself. Love is so special, so you need to bring a complete self to the relationship as love will not fix you or make you better. That is co-dependency. Already have a healthy relationship with yourself in order to have a strong relationship with another.
  64. There is great value in being comfortable with being alone. Everyone needs alone time. You need to set some time aside to be alone, it is healthy.
  65. Time is like a river. Once you have put your hand in to touch the water you can never touch that same water again as it has flowed past. This is why time is so valuable. Dole out how you spend you time very wisely as you never get it back.
  66. Material wealth and superfluous possessions will not make you happier or healthier. Some of the happiest people live the most simple of lives.
  67. Obsessing on achieving happiness almost guarantees you will never have it. Can you see this vicious circle? You live in a box, you want a shack; you live in a shack, you want a house; you live in a house, you want a mansion; you live in a mansion, you want a vacation home…and so on. If you constantly seek the next level you will never be happy.
  68. Your trophies and success stories will not matter on your death bed. All that matters are the relationships you made and the lives you touched.
  69. You and everyone you love are temporary. We all die and we can’t know when, so make the most of the people who matter. Telling them is great, showing them is even better.
  70. Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as You Wish Done Unto Yourself.

Okay, baby boy. That is enough for now…probably more than enough. We have pretty snow and now the temperature is going to take a dive bomb as we suffer an incoming Polar Vortex. I am waiting to hear from the doctor if I will be released back to part time office work. I would like to get to do that, but I also want to be very careful of all the time we spent just getting you to here. I will continue to follow her orders and hope that you are doing okay in there.


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