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...