Monday, August 06, 2007

Excellent Life Advice

I was thinking about Miller's new baby the other night, and mulling over what advice I'd give to Miller as a brand new mom. Then I remembered that when I was a new mom, I 1) was too exhausted to listen to other people's advice, 2) found that other people's advice often didn't work for me and my non-sleeping, championship-eating-contest baby, and 3) what do I really know anyway? Most of what I've done and still do is the result of trial and error, and it's not like that's something easy to pass along.

So then I thought, hey, I could write down Excellent Life Advice for Mabry (and my other friends' new babies) instead. She doesn't have much life experience, so it's not like she'll have many pre-existing opinions. I've been mulling that over since I hit on that idea. Obviously most of it won't be relevant for awhile, but I should probably write it down before I forget it anyway. Most of it falls under the general category of "Be prepared," but here's what I've got so far:

Excellent Life Advice, no. 1: Wear sunscreen. Okay, so I ripped that one off. Still, it's good advice. Preferably SPF 30 on your face.

Excellent Life Advice, no. 2: Carry some kleenex with you. Even if you aren't prone to runny noses (which for at least the first 15 months of your life, you will be, if William is any indication), it can serve many useful purposes. See: public bathrooms without any toilet paper.

Excellent Life Advice, no. 3: You really don't have to pretend like you know about something that you don't. For example, you're at a party, and someone starts talking about something like oh, the origination of the long-standing dispute and ensuing violence over the Kashmir region, or maybe Cajun-Thai fusion cuisine, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or say, whether the German author Gunter Grass is a complete and total sellout for acting as the voice of the post-WW II German people while secretly concealing his own involvement with the Nazis. Don't know anything about the topic at hand? Just listen. And don't be afraid to ask questions. This is one of the best ways to learn about new things. And bonus: you won't sound like a total idiot when you make a pronouncement that turns out to be completely off base.

Excellent Life Advice, no. 4: Bring water with you wherever you go. The airline industry disagrees with this ELA item, but they're stupid.

And that reminds me....

Excellent Life Advice, no. 5: Avoid the Dallas-Fort Worth airport at all costs.

Excellent Life Advice, no. 6: Know your limits. Never installed tile in your own bathroom before? Think it might be beyond your abilities? Listen to your gut. Call in the professionals before you screw something up irrevocably (or at least expensively).

Excellent Life Advice, no. 7: Believe, really believe, in something. Or someone. Maybe it's God. Maybe it's the First Amendment. Maybe it's that all people have some good in them. Maybe it's that they should never have instituted the designated hitter. Maybe it's all four. I personally do believe in all four. For further examples, see the movie "Bull Durham." But not until you're older, of course; I think it's rated R.

Excellent Life Advice, no. 8: Keep a book with you, or at least in your car or your bag. You never know when you're going to get stuck in a long line or in a waiting room.

Excellent Life Advice, no. 9: Look before you sit down. This should be fairly self-explanatory.

Excellent Life Advice, no. 10: Treat yourself occasionally. Buy yourself those Junior Mints at the movie theater, or pick up a copy of that new book you're dying to read but will have to wait months to get through the library. It's the little things in life, I think, that can really make you feel good when you really need to. Me, I like Twizzlers.

I'm sure there are lots of other lessons in life that I could impart, but hopefully I still have many more lessons to learn myself. Also, I made the colossal mistake of yes, not writing a couple down when I woke up in the middle of the night with a good idea, so I forgot them. Maybe that should be another one: keep a notebook by your bed in case you have a great idea in the middle of the night. Of course, that assumes that you are a writer and also that your handwriting is good enough in the dark that you'll be able to decipher what you wrote the next morning.

Feel free to add your own advice in the comments section...


Anonymous said...

Don't wear a Yankees cap to Fenway or a Duke t-shirt in downtown Chapel Hill;

If you want to get a cat out from under the bed, DON'T pull its tail;

Stop and think before you use an apostrophe;

Read all the Little House, Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter books;

Too much ice cream makes your tummy hurt, too many SweeTarts make your tongue hurt, and too much Tequila makes your head hurt.

natalie said...

ALL very sage advice, and a wonderful post! Me, I don't have too much advice to pass along these days - just that, when it's 110 degrees with the heat index and your husband offers to pick you up rather than have you metro and walk to your destination, graciously say, "thank you" and take him up on it.

Anonymous said...

Listen more than you talk;

Have some quiet time every day;

At least once a year, try doing something you've never done before;

Take three "brownie bites" of a new food before you decide you don't like it;

Wear red or yellow on a rainy day;

Save some money out of each paycheck -even if it's just a little;

Dance like nobody's watching;

Travel to other countries;

Ask lots of questions;


Laugh loudly and often;

Look for the best in everyone you meet;

Wear comfortable shoes except for VERY dressy occasions and be ready to kick them off when dancing;

Be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Jennifer Larson said...

Oh, this is all so good.

Here's one that I forgot: always take the opportunity to tell the people you love that you love them. I am superstitious that if I don't tell my husband "I love you" and "Be careful" before he leaves for work, something bad might happen. And I always sign off my phone calls to my family with an "I love you," no matter how long or short the conversation has been. You just never know when you might not get to tell them again.

Anonymous said...

Don't think it's cheesy or beneath you to dance to any of the songs from GREASE, whenever you hear them.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer! What a marvelous blog! Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

drink Sprite or ginger ale when you don't feel well

always be willing to help people move so that when it's your turn to move you'll have people willing to help you (moving karma)

Don't eat yellow snow

Carefully proofread all Old Navy apparel before purchasing

And Jon says, never start a land war in Asia (what movie?)


Jennifer Larson said...

"NEVER go in against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line!"

The Princess Bride, of course!