Life Tidbits: Learning As I Go

First off, thank you. For making this life so much damn fun. I wake up every day insanely excited to hang out with you. You give life a true purpose and allow it to be one incredible adventure after another. There is nothing on this earth I wouldn’t do for any of you. It is an unbelievable feeling and one I hope you get to experience someday. 

I want you to have the best of everything but mostly these things: the best education and the best adventures. And I don’t mean the most glamourous or expensive on either. I mean the most genuine, the most fun, and the ones that let you find out who you are. And give you some big old space to try a bunch of stuff out (legal and safe-ish stuff…at least on most please), make big mistakes and have big finishes. I am still learning who I am, and will be for years. We grow and change and learn. I want you to have a strong sense of self and purpose and confidence, but never enough to lead you believe you are done learning. About anything – yourself, the world around you, or what you are capable of. So, all that said…here you go. 

Be kind. Not because you have to, or because it is a buzz word or people tell you you should. Really just be kind. To people that deserve it and those that don’t. You never know what kind of day someone had, or what they are wrestling with. No matter if they don’t show you the same kindness. Especially in high school. Be nice to every damn person in high school, popular or unpopular, athlete or artist, loud or quiet, because man alive that one you won’t regret they come out of the woodwork later. This world is filled with lots of people but not enough genuinely nice ones.

Always ask people about themselves. This one is passed on from Grandpa and it has stood as some of the best advice I could ever get and pass along. People generally want to talk about their own lives. So keep asking questions. Plus if you are anything like me you will hate forced social gatherings and asking people questions can get you through one and make you look like a true rockstar. Along those lines don’t pile your plate insanely high with appetizers. Go back for seconds instead (unless it is crab cakes…you take as many as you can pile of those). 

Take the backroad. Or anything that runs along water. This one is totally cliche but worth including. It will take you longer and you can’t go as fast but relax, open the window, and suck all that good juju in (probably bugs too if you are near water). Life will wait for the extra few minutes it takes and it will be well worth it. Chase when you were three you used to ask me all the time to open your window from the backseat. It would be 20 degrees out and you would say “Hey Mummy, can you open the window it’s pretty nice out.” I always did. Fresh air is therapeutic no matter what the temperature. Mommy gulps as much in as possible on a daily basis so she doesn’t go crazy pants.

Put the phone down. I should have taken my own advice so much earlier on this. Goodness knows what technology will be available in your lives. I read somewhere that on the playground a parent would miss on average 32 interactions with their child because they were looking at the phone. It’s true – I counted and I remind myself all the time. There is nothing more important than you three. Whether you are sliding down the fireman’s pole for the first time at the park or walking across the stage at graduation. Always look up. 

Save as draft. Sleep on a hard decision or when you are crazy mad. As tempting as it might be to lose it on someone or some thing. Write it…save it…but don’t send it. This also goes for politics. Be as political as you want. But don’t post that crap online. 

Figure it out. This applies to everything. A toy or a huge project or life decision. Break it apart, take it apart, investigate. In general people don’t do this. They play it safe or have someone do it for them. Take the time and try. It’s a pretty cool feeling when you figure it out.

Look at the moon. Try to do this every night or at least as often as you can. These days you like to reach up and stretch and tell me you can’t quite reach it but you try. There is nothing sweeter than this image. Looking at the night sky somehow resets you, at least for a few seconds, and makes you realize things will all shake out okay.

Manners, please. Always. Please, thank you, hold doors, be the first to offer your hand to shake. Make it a strong shake. Ask how you can help. On the days you have too much of your own stuff to do and you are stressed about it help someone out anyway. 

Take the trip, try the thing. Especially in your teens and 20’s spend every dime you can and travel. Learn how to navigate an airport, a new country, your own country. Some of my best memories are taking the eight hour car ride to spend a few hours in a new place. Don’t make an excuse to stay home. Everything good takes effort and the effort is worth it. The more people I meet the more I realize this is the minority mindset.

But also, save. Take money out of every paycheck before you see it and put it aside. Even if it is only $10. Don’t get a credit card. You will ignore this, do it anyway, and regret it. But I just had to say it. So at least just get one with a $5K limit.

Listen for the little things. Remember them. Write them down if you have to. Birthdays, the kind of coffee or ice cream someone likes, what they were doing that was important to them that week you can ask about. Do kind gestures. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, just things that show thought. It will get you friendships, it will help you in jobs, it will get you respect and it will get you the best people in your life. 

Thank you notes. I am sorry….not a fan favorite to write. But just get them out of the way and do them and send them (and remember it is still fun to get them).

I love you. More than I could ever write or express. Never ever question that, argue that, or forget that. Please. And thank you.

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