We’re all human. We’ve all experienced our fair share of issues or doubts at times, and have at one point or the other been the sharer or recipient of a little life advice – solicited or otherwise. Some of these little nuggets are decent and reasonable, some so obvious as to soon have been forgotten, some so off you begin to question how the bearer successfully survives each 24 hour period, and then there occasionally comes along those words that are so completely unforgettable they forever shape who we are. And we all have at the very least a couple of those things that have stuck with us over the years, that helped to mold us into the humans we are today; things that have shaped our lives or made them better in some way.
You may have taken yours from books, television, friends, a teacher – whomever. My favourites all came from my family; people who I admire and love, who are liked and respected by all who have the pleasure of meeting them. One or two may come across a little rougher sounding than they should, but that’s just how we sometimes sound in my family.
“Just ask. The worse they can say is no.” – My mom. This has practically become my personal mantra. You can ask and be denied, and your life will not change for the better or worse. But what if the answer is yes?
“Just remember, nobody is better than you. But you’re no better than anybody else.” – My dad. Whenever I’ve needed it. A little rough edged reminder that we’re all equal. And I think about this almost daily.
“If you have to go to the washroom you ask once to be polite and respectful. If the teacher tells you no, you then get up and go anyway. If there are any problems, you call me.” – A lesson I learned in grade 1, returning home to tell my father about a poor boy who had soiled his pants in class after being refused leave to ‘go’. Follow the rules and have courtesy and respect, but do what you need to do, when it is right to do so. I learned my parents trusted my judgment and had my back and would stand up for me.
“You never, ever start a fight. But you damn well finish it.” – My dad again. Don’t cause trouble. But when it comes to you, stand up for yourself, and don’t let the ubiquitous ‘them’ beat you. Now that I’m no longer a little ruffian farm girl I no longer take it to mean in the context of physical altercation, but in all other aspects of my life. I’ve also learned to only engage in those battles worth winning. If they’re not, then they’re more annoyances than troubles, and are just a drain on your efforts and energy.
“Everybody is replaceable.” – My grandpa (RIP). It was usually a stern warning against me for the avarice, capriciousness and lack of ambition I *apparently* had in abundance when I was a moody teenage girl. Since I’m very confident he loved me anyhow, I try to reflect it in all other aspects of my life. In my personal relationships the other person/s may be replaceable, but so am I. So if that person is worth staying for, then you need to also work at being worth staying for. At work there is always someone out there perfectly as capable of, or better at, doing your job, and if you don’t uphold your end of the bargain, they will be. It also made me conscious of just how precarious our positions and status really are.
“Make the bed as soon as you get up. You’ll be happier when you come home to it. Fill the sink with hot water and soap and work on the dishes as you’re cooking. You’ll have no clean up and can relax after dinner.” – Unsolicited cleaning advice from my mother. And every time I’ve ever followed this advice, she’s been 100% right. And still, I rarely do either.
“Go into environmental studies. That’s the next hot thing.” – My grandpa again, from about as far back as the eighties through to when he recently passed, giving me unsolicited career advice. Should’ve listened to him.
“We don’t care what you’re doing so long as you’re happy.” – My parents. All of my life, through to when I, a couple of years ago, asked in a bad winter’s depressive state if they were proud of me. I once owned a home on the lake, owned multiple boats, vehicles, even a gold fireplace. I now rent a small apartment, work three less jobs, and am MUCH happier living a more manageable, simpler life. Being the loving, supportive parents that everyone deserves to have.
Any words of wisdom any of you have ever received and want to share? Any that have stuck in your consciousness and affect the actions you take and decisions you make on a regular basis? Any of your own to share?