EIGHT THINGS I KNOW
- Auntie Mame was right! "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death". Whenever possible try something new. You may like it or you may not, but the habit will introduce you to other cultures, fascinating people, an incredible world of adventure and ideas that will keep you interested in life and thinking young. There are enough museums, libraries, theaters, faires and events completely or almost free that make it possible to go around the world without going far from home. Of course if your budget and time permit, do grab a tramp steamer cruise to somewhere.
- It is never too late to have a happy childhood. Even in the midst of an adult life with its responsibilities and pressures, you can be as kind to yourself as your parents were or that you wished them to be. All children need love, security, and discipline. Get in the habit of saying, "I Love You" to yourself every morning while smiling in the mirror. It will feel silly at first, but eventually even you will come to believe it. As much as possible fill each day with reasonable goals and then get them done. If something throws a monkey wrench into your plans, then come back the next day and get it done. Repeat as necessary. If it turns out a goal is unrealistic then reshape it into a new goal so that you can let the old one go. An unfinished chore or goal will literally drive you crazy and make you miserable.
- Take A Walk To Nowhere. If at all possible, do this every day. It doesn't matter if it is around the block or a thousand mile hike, just the act of walking will slow down the pace of your life, quiet your mind, open your eyes to world around you, and give you time to assess your life's direction. Maybe that is a walk to somewhere: Your future.
- There Is Always Something Funny Going On - Try to get in the habit of smiling or laughing out loud every day if for no other reason than as you age, you will stay healthier and you will always look ten years younger than you are. Frowns carve themselves in a face in the forehead, between the eyes and in the droop of the mouth. Misery plays havoc with your immune system. Smiles and laughter use far less muscles to just make two wrinkles around your mouth and people will know just by looking at you that you spent a lifetime of joy for yourself and others. When disaster or illness strikes, as they almost surely will at some point in every life, the habit of looking toward the positive, ironic, and funny will help you recover, accept, and find happiness and serenity again.
- Should Is A Four Letter Word - A happy human being is inner directed not outward imposed. This one I stole from Robert Heinlein. It is from "Time Enough For Love" and quite frankly as someone who spent their early life always needing to please, it gave me a new take on a much happier life:
Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
There is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a burglar than it is with the leech who wants "just a few minutes of your time, please — this won't take long." Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time — and squawk for more!
So learn to say No — and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.(This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don't do it because it is "expected" of you.)
- Become A "Know It All" - For the most part, human beings are successful by being generalists: The classic "Jack of All Trades", but there is one exception to this and one only since you aren't likely to have time for more than one. Find something you genuinely love doing. You can prowl around among your interests, but pick one where you want to know everything there is to know. It can be silly or serious, it just has to be something you truly love learning, researching and doing. If you are very fortunate, you will be able to turn this into a career, but if not, it can simply be a hobby you try to explore daily. Collect coins, build model airplanes, play an instrument, crochet afghans, study medieval history. It really doesn't matter as long as it is something that interests you and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Example: Danny Kaye the entertainer sang, made movies, went on the stage, and acted as an international representative for UNICEF. That was how he made his living and did his duty to the world. But what gave both him and his friends a great deal of pleasure? He was an expert Chinese food chef and traveled with his woks and equipment in order to create dinners no matter where in the world he went.
- A Good Book Is A Good Friend - Whenever possible, slow down and read. Motion pictures, television, and computers have trained our brains to absorb information rapidly. This can be a good thing to educate or entertain, but none of these media lend themselves to imagination and creativity unless you are on the production end. A good book is a quiet conversation between you and the author. Because you are forced to form images in your mind taken from the words on the page, you must engage your imagination and experience. Some of the books you will read are casual aquaintances that you meet and pass on by. Others are good companions that you recommend to others for the pleasure of their company. Then there are the rare ones that become lifelong friends that you visit often because they engage both your mind and heart.
- If You Want To Be Liked: Be Interesting. If you Want To Be Loved: Be Interested. This idea has been around for a long time. Statements become cliches for a reason. Most of them just happen to be true. Everyone responds to the person who cares about them. They may admire the accomplishments they observe in another, but they seek out the company and approval of someone who says, "I care about you".
I'm sure that in 63 years, I might have learned something else and I may mention it in the future, but for the time being, I'm tagging a group who should read lesson 5 above:
Claire at A Little Piece of Me
Ethel at Did We Say That Out Loud
Mo at It's A Blog Eat Blog World
Matt-Man at Bagwine Ruminations I may be sorry for this one. lol
Bee at Muffin 53
Linda at Are We There Yet
Villager at The Electronic Village
The Rock Chick at Life Is Rantastic