Thursday, July 21, 2016

MY TWENTY-TWO THINGS - REDUX

I wrote this a couple of years ago, but it is apparently a favorite, so here it is again. :)

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These are things I've learned the hard way; and I have lots of personal experience with hard times  - either those that came upon me beyond my control, or those I thrust upon myself. Some of these are things I learned to avoid the latter situation. The rest of them help me cope with the former.

I write these as a reminder to MYSELF! Here we go.

1.    You cannot change people. You can give advice when asked, and/or lend a hand; but, only they can change themselves or their circumstances - OR, as my grandmother used to say "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

2.    Who cares what other people think? This includes relatives and friends (who may or may not be actual friends). What matters is that you are real, true to yourself, that you respect others, and that you have ethics, honor and integrity. Everything else is strictly your own business and not subject to the transitory and subjective opinions of others. Be your own person. March to the beat of your own drummer. Believe in yourself.

3.    Labels are BS - and damaging. This is nothing more than laziness in place of getting to know people, and/or working to truly understand them. Don't label people, or allow them to label you. We are all far more complex than *any* label. This includes name-calling - see #'s 2, 7, 9 and 17 in this list.

4.    Age is a label - get over it. Saying "I'm old" is a useless, negative, self-limiting, complete waste of the time you have here (this includes people in their twenties who I hear saying this). Stop it, already! How many times you've ridden this water-logged rock around the homestar is irrelevant, since everyone's ride is different. Some people make the most of their ride, while others just piss and moan about how many orbits they've made and how "old" they are. In other words, your mileage may vary - and it may vary according to your ATTITUDE!

5.    You were sent here to do something in particular. Whatever it is, it's important - *whatever it is*! Do it. Don't waste the gifts the Big Guy gave you and don't let others judge how you use them; just make yourself useful.

6.    Find the positive perspective in everything. It's there - find it! Sometimes this is difficult; but, it is always beneficial - and the benefit inures mostly to YOU.

7.    Be courteous - especially in dicey situations where you want to tell someone off; or as Mama used to say "never sink to the level of your adversary", or "don't dignify an insult or bad behavior with a response"; or "consider the source." This doesn't mean you have to suck up to someone nasty. It means keep your dignity. Take the high road. Obviously, courtesy in other situations is easy - do that, too.

8.    When dealing with a negative, difficult, unpleasant, or just downright bad person, remember this:  they were an innocent, defenseless baby once. Somebody screwed that up for them. Try to keep that in mind. It doesn't mean they aren't responsible for themselves or their actions. They are. Keep it in mind anyway - for YOUR sake.

9.    Harsh words galvanize others against you, and your objectives. You will not convince others of the error of their ways with haranguing and criticism. I don't care how great the cause, being obnoxious is not the way to champion it. Intelligent, carefully chosen words make it easier for them to change their course as you wish; or, as Grandma used to say: "you can draw more flies with honey than you can with vinegar."

10.    Trends are BS. Instead do what works best for you and if it happens to coincide with a trend, then so be it. Be classy, tasteful, and courteous. First impressions *do* count no matter what trends may dictate. Be a trend setter, not a follower.

11.    All publicity is *not* good publicity, unless you care nothing for your dignity, honor and integrity - in which case you are a prostitute of some kind or another (yes, it's harsh - but, if you are selling your honor cheaply, then I rest my case). The means to an end *does* matter as much as the end itself. There will come a day when your dignity, honor and integrity will matter absolutely. Make sure you still have all of them when that day arrives. It may be they are the only things that will save you in that moment.

12.    Some people are not your friends. Period. Each of us probably has only a small set of people who are true friends. All the others are mere friendly acquaintances. Your true friends will show their mettle by being with you in your struggles and adversity, and not just in your successes. That is the crucible. Heed it!

13.    If you want to keep a confidence, then don't tell *anyone* - not even someone you trust. They also trust someone else, who trusts someone else. Before you know it, 42 people know the confidence you promised to keep. Your word is your bond. Learn to keep your lips ZIPPED. Anything else is ego and foolishness - an attempt to show off what you know. Honor and integrity show better.

14.    Be the friend you want to have, the person you would admire, the hero to whom you would look. Be that person, and you will find yourself in the company of like people.

15.    Life isn't fair and no one owes you a living. Get over it and get busy.

16.    The past is done. Get over that, too. Use what you learned from it, but don't drag it around behind you like worn out luggage. It's heavy and it looks bad.

17.    If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all (Grandma hammered this one home!). When you do open your mouth, be honest - not cruel, rude, or tactless - just honest. Sometimes saying nothing is the only way to be honest without cruelty or rudeness - take heed of that. BTW, this means no lies and/or gossip. Got it?

18.    Don't procrastinate. Get off your rear parts and do it now! Here's Grandma again: "make hay while the sun shines." In other words, later might be too late. It could be raining - you can't make hay then. Do it NOW!
                       
19.    Life is short - remember that in dealing with family, friends - everybody and everything.

20.    Life is long - remember that in dealing with family friends - everybody and everything.

21.    Smile whether you feel like it or not. After a few seconds, you begin to feel it more, and then you ARE smiling - and other people will be, too. You have now started a chain reaction of epic positive proportions; and you have turned your OWN day around.

22.    Everyone has crap days. It will pass. Gut up. Get through it. See #21 above. The only difference between winners and losers is that winners get up when they fall down - and they keep getting up. Every time. Without fail. So, get up already!

I need to tattoo most of these on my forehead, except I don't think I have room. :) So, I'll just read it here and keep reminding myself.

It isn't easy (on the front end) to live this way. It's easier to lie down, wallow in things, give into base behavior, and go nowhere and achieve nothing. Unfortunately, the back end of that is - well, it's the back end of *something*!

It's also lonely, miserable and ultimately the most difficult path a person can choose.

So, I plan to do my best to remember these things, because hard work on the front end brings great rewards down the road.

Polla filia,
J.F.

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