Years ago, a young man asked me for advice as an older man, how did I ‘DO’ life? Since then I’ve pondered that question. How did I do life?
Although everyone has to find their own way to do life, as we flip the calendar another year, I will share some of my 60-year-old man’s thoughts on the good and bad of how I’ve done MY life…so far.
- If you’re wrong, apologize. Just do it, own it and be done with it, and learn from it.
- If someone messes with you, stand up for yourself. One regret I have in my life is when a hospital director completely humiliated me in front of every coworker in my department. That should have been behind closed doors but she chose to publicly castrate me in front of a department of women and foolishly, I sat there and took it. I should have said ‘this is between me and you and nobody in this room needs to be involved.’ But I didn’t. I was totally caught off guard by her unprofessional action. I will never forget that day but I did learn from it. Call people out when they’re wrong to you. Not out of vengeance but it will give both of you a chance to grow.
- I have forgiven her heartless soul now, but I would take great joy in knowing that she had an acute and intractable diarrhea episode in a Walmart checkout lane somewhere full of every person that she has ever known.
- When it comes to parenting, and the kids keep asking ‘why’..never argue with your child or you are just another child to them and they’ll never respect you. Be the adult. Tell them ‘Because I was born first, that’s why’ and stop the conversation.
- Taken from an older man when I was young, ‘smile when you tell them to go to hell’. I’ve successfully used that with several people in my life. Should have used it on that director.
- -Don’t overuse the word ‘love’. If you love someone, tell them. But don’t just drop it around like it’s something expected. Loving every person you come into contact with would require medication.
- -Know WHY you love someone or something. It’s all good to just say ‘well because, IDK, because I do’. No. Why do you love them? You owe it to them and yourself to know this.
- -Realize that we are individually responsible for the maintenance of our bodies. I realized this a long time ago and it’s one reason that I try to eat pretty well and work out a lot. MY body is MY responsibility. Not my children’s. The more I abuse my body the bigger burden I eventually become on them. And I love my children too much to expect them to push me around in a wheelchair just because I made repeated bad choices in my life. They have their own life. Babysitting my gluttony and laziness is not why I had children. I love my children more than I love eating a whole cake.
- -Learn to pick your battles. They’re usually not that important.
- -Keep moving and learning. Find new people to connect with and learn about their lives and share yours with them.
- -Learn the art of conversation. Ask about other people’s lives and not just keep redirecting the conversation to yourself.
- -Stop listening to sad country music. Mercy, that’s enough to make a priest an alcoholic nowadays. SO. MUCH. DRAMA. Some say ‘oh country music lyrics are real life’. Colonoscopies are real life but I don’t wanna hear a song about them.
- -Realize that everyone isn’t always picking on you or setting you up. Most of the time the other person you’re skeptical of has other things to deal with. Neither you nor I, are as important as we think we are to them.
- -Give real presents to people you love. And wrap them. Gift cards are for Dirty Santa gifts or office parties.
- -Love your children. Don’t hasten them to anger. But love them as God loves us; even in our faults.
- -Don’t use the Bible, and cherry-pick certain verses, as an excuse for judgemental attitudes. Get the plank out first.
- -See the glass for the amount of water it has in it. Too empty and you’re a pessimist that nobody likes. Too full and you’re setting yourself up for failure. See life exactly for what it is. It ain’t always butterflies and bunnies.
- -Being family does not give one license to be rude to you. In fact, being family should hold us all to a higher accountability to each other.
- -Don’t believe this bunk about ‘not seeing a friend for 230 years and getting together just like nothing ever happened’. Trees die without water. And we all need trees in our lives. Reach out to your friends sometimes. I can tell you the last time I talked to one of my best friends ever. I had no idea that soon his ex-girlfriend would call me to tell me that he had been killed. Love like there is no tomorrow, because there may not be.
- -One of the most empowering gifts you’ll ever develop is the power to say ‘no’ and not feel bad.
- -Laugh. Learn to laugh if you can’t.
- -Physical activity, work or leisure, goes a long way in making a good night’s sleep. Move.
- -Turn the TV/radio/Alexa off when you’re home and listen to your world sometimes. You might be surprised at what you don’t hear.
- -Realize that almost everyone has had bad things done to them. Stop rolling around in pity if someone has done something to you. I was refused service in this very city because I was a white man. You didn’t see me on CNN whining about it. Life ain’t fair. The fair only comes around once a year. It is what it is. Put the Kleenex up and get over it.
- -Move forward and stop looking in the rearview mirror or you’ll miss the beauty of life that’s left in front of you.
- -Never stop dancing. Ever. Life is too quick to be boring. Life isn’t a dance contest but life is a beautiful long dance. Embrace it.
- -Lastly, shape your life as such to look in the mirror and love that person physically and mentally. Because if you’re not good for yourself, you can’t be any good to anyone else.
As I said, everyone has their own lives to live and this is part of how I’ve ‘done’ my life. And so far?
It’s been a wonderful life.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023!
That’s the best that I can tell about it.