As part of the college application process, Tyler is writing essays on various topics. The application he’s working on now gave him the option to write on either his opinion of a current international event or the best advice he’s been given. He decided that he wasn’t so sure about voicing a strong opinion on something that could be political, and took the softer option of good advice. What’s fun for me is that it got us talking about advice in general and we had more than a three sentence discussion on it. We both agreed it was hard to think of a single sliver of advice we’ve been given that was really earth shattering, but it got me thinking. What are the little tidbits of advice that have re-surfaced in useful ways in my life? So I came up with a top ten.
10. Never pass up the opportunity to use the bathroom. I tell this to the kids all the time, but they still don’t believe me. Maybe it’s because I’m older and this body has given birth to three babies, but there’s nothing worse than wishing you’d used the restroom when you’d had the chance. Real life examples include being stuck in traffic and going out on a long run on a nature trail.
9. Eat your vegetables. Oh, how I hated that one as a kid. It wasn’t told to me as advice exactly—more like a directive, but, having grown up eating them all of my life, I’ve learned to enjoy them. Besides, you cannot take part in any healthy lifestyle or diet that does not tout the health benefits of vegetables. I’m not ashamed to say that I still wish they tasted like chocolate, though.
8. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. In food, finances and commitments. No matter how much I think I can pull it together at the time, I eventually choke when I overextend myself.
7. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I can’t say that I wake up on Monday morning overcome with excitement about my job as an Administrative Assistant. But there are many other jobs out there I’d be miserable doing. I’ve had a few of those in my past—the kind you drive to work with a knot in your stomach dreading. I would be a lousy telemarketer or collections person.
6. Never say something about somebody that you wouldn’t say to their face. It’s so hard to abide by this advice when the gossip is so juicy. But the older I get, the more I know that it’s the best policy. If in doubt that the words you say will be held in confidence or aren’t sure if what you’re saying is the whole truth, keep your mouth shut.
5. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Disclaimer: While this is great advice to live by, I find I still can be a chronic procrastinator. I am so much happier when I keep on top of things.
4. No one can ever tell you how much you’ll fall in love with your baby. I read this in the doctor’s office in a parenting magazine when I was pregnant with Tyler. Up until I’d had my own children, I hadn’t been around babies very much. But even though I knew I loved my baby before I had him, I never dreamed how deep that bond would be. From the first time I laid eyes on my babies, I knew I loved them with an all-encompassing, unique love that is mind blowing in its simplicity and depth.
3. Forgive others. Because if you don’t, it only hurts you. Bitterness is an acid that eats your soul if you let it. I’ve watched it happen to people in my life because they don’t understand that forgiving someone doesn’t mean having to condone a wrong; it only lifts the burden from the forgiver’s heart.
2. You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their waiter, tangled Christmas lights and lost luggage. Honestly I think the last two might cause a person to come to the conclusion that patience isn’t my personal best virtue. But being rude or degrading to the wait staff is a pretty good indicator of a person’s character.
1. Be kind to everyone, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Even the most seemingly “together” person has something in their life that they’re dealing with at the moment. Maybe the kind word or the smile you give them will be the one thing that day that was positive. Sometimes being kind to someone doesn’t necessarily get you ahead. I struggle with the “nice person” syndrome. But I do feel like there’s a need for more compassion in this world. I like to think it starts with me.
So what about you? Got any advice you live by? I’d love to hear about it!