Thursday, April 28, 2016

What life has taught me, so far

Believe in yourself.
Turn up the music, tap your foot.
Eat dessert first.

Accept that not every issue is black or white, this side of the fence or the other, right or wrong. Allow some gray to seep into your life.

Don’t be afraid of bugs, they’re smaller than you. My father used to tell me this.

Fall in love. Deeply. Passionately. Even if it doesn’t last, you’ll be a far better person for having given your heart to another.

Every year, make a list of regrets. Then do something about them.

Create happy memories.
Show interest in others.
Stay in touch with grade school pals.
Say thank you.
Send birthday cards.

Save every birthday card that you are fortunate enough to receive. Put them in a box on the top shelf of your bedroom closet. Later on, when the well of wishes dries up (and it will), you’ll appreciate the cards, and even read them.

When making a list, never have a 1 without a 2, an A without a B. It’s the golden rule of list-making, courtesy of my tenth grade history teacher.

Welcome a pet into your home. It will keep you company, and teach you to love unconditionally.

Do something nice for someone.
Do something nice for yourself.

On Sunday mornings, wake up early. Put the coffee on. Bring in the newspaper. Scramble eggs. Enjoy the day.

Learn your family history. You should know where you come from.

Give someone a hug.

Pay your bills on time.
Tell the truth. (It’s easier in the long run.)
Don’t hold a grudge.

Read old detective novels.
Never sell your Beatle records.
Keep your report cards.

Don’t nag.
Be patient. (Things take time for a reason.)
Be handy.

Attend your high school reunion (but don’t expect much).

Don’t waste money buying cheap furniture. Leave rooms empty, until you can afford to buy things that last, things that truly matter.

Bake your troubles away. A loaf of bread. A pie. Chocolate chip cookies. The calming act of mixing and kneading, sifting and stirring, will take your mind off your woes. And then you get to savor the tasty rewards. Life is heavenly…

To be continued.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The best things in life

“The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive,” said Coco Chanel.

Expensive is nice if you can afford it. I admit to splurging on a pair of shoes or a bottle of perfume. But the very best things in my life come with memories…like pistachio ice cream. When I was in elementary school, we lived around the corner from a diner-cum-ice cream shop. My mother would take me there for lunch. We’d sit in a booth and eat burgers and drink sodas and play songs on the jukebox. Then we’d get pistachio ice cream cones to eat on the way home.

The day of my high school graduation. I’d give up pistachio ice cream to have the chance to relive this day. It was a hot June afternoon. The school I attended, a two-story red brick structure from the 1940s, did not have air conditioning, so the graduation ceremony was held in the auditorium of a new school in the next town. Afterwards, my mother prepared a special family dinner to celebrate the occasion. I will never pass this way again.

Sometimes the best things in my life are the simple things, like the quiet of an early morning (the perfect time to write), or receiving and offering words of appreciation. Thank you for your help. Thank you for a job well done. Thank you for being my friend.

Have you ever had a day when everything hums along and nothing breaks, leaks, hisses, spits, or pees on the carpet? That day.

Summer cookouts in the backyard.
Reading a good book.
Staying up late.
Falling into bed after a long day.
A favorite song.

Being lucky. You know the definition of luck? It’s opportunity meeting preparation. You must prepare yourself to be lucky.

The scent of breakfast. One night, not long after I moved into my current home, I woke up at 3 a.m. The local fast-food restaurant was cooking breakfast. Eggs, bacon, toast, coffee. It was springtime, and my bedroom window was open. There must have been a zillion calories wafting in the breeze. Delicious!

And this: When you’re given another day, another chance to make things right. It’s the ultimate best thing in life.

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