isupportredfridays_edited-1 Join me by wearing red on red shirt Friday! Pray for my brother-in-law's safe return as well as the rest of our troops!

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Rules for Life: For the Time Capsule. If I had one.

I've become paranoid in my old age.

I'm almost 35, and well, now I have two children and I'm scared of everything.

I didn't used to be. I was the polar opposite of scared, in fact, and borderlining stupid, if we're being perfectly honest with ourselves which we are. It's a wonder I even survived my 20's with all of my stupidity but don't tell my parents that.

I used to work in news which probably made my paranoia fester just a bit (or maybe by one-billion percent) since I was always aware of the terrible things that went on in the world and even though those terrible things were often an anomaly, I knew that they did and do happen and the small statistics never helped me feel better about that (i.e. fear of sharks, lightning, etc).

But every so often something happens and it feels close to home, even if it isn't. Like hearing about a mother of two babies who was training for a 1/2 marathon who died after being hit by a car. Or hearing about the recent death of a former co-worker of mine. We were not close, but I did know of her, a beautiful, beautiful, sweet and kind person who left this world too soon.

I worry about my life sometimes when things like this remind me of how fragile and random life is but most of all I worry about my children. I thought about what I would tell them, what advice I would give them if for some terrible reason, I wouldn't be able to tell them in person. I figured I could have my little spot in this world frozen for them just in case so here it is.

I wanted my advice to be simple. But I wanted it to cover a lot of bases. All the basics, in fact. Life in general, getting along in society, and taking advantage of every wonderful moment you've been given. I hope that I will get to tell them this in person and happily pester them over and over again like the broken record moms tend to sound like, but sometimes life has other plans. So after thinking about it for a really long time, I think I've come up with it.

My Rules for Life

Rule #1:  Be nice.
I can't see how you can ever go wrong with being nice, taking the high road or doing the right thing. At the end of the day, you can be nasty, or you can suck it up and just be nice and it's your choice. Sometimes being nice is much, much harder than being nasty and sometimes it's not the popular thing to do. But in most cases (except in the case of standing up for yourself and what you believe in and even then you don't have to be nasty about it), being nice is the brave thing to do. And I don't mean the type of nice that is "saying mean things in a nice way" or being "nicely manipulative." I mean actual niceness from the depths of your being. Being nice also means doing nice things like being helpful and caring for other people if you are called on to do so and even (or especially) if you aren't. Be nice to girls. Be a gentleman. And try not to be judgemental because that's not nice. And if you were wondering, yes, there is such a thing as being too nice and there are people who might take advantage of that and for that, see rule #2 and rule #4.

Rule #2: Learn everything you can about everything.
This means yes, going to school and lots of it, as much of it as you can, really, but also being your own advocate and doing your own research. Traveling. Finding out about the world and seeing life from other perspectives and not being wrapped up in yourself. Learning everything about everything will allow you to be able to make informed, well thought out decisions (even if they are wrong, they will at the very least be informed and you will be even moreso informed by learning from your mistakes in decision making so even mistakes are a part of learning.) By learning, you will be able to sate that thirst for curiousness that you have right now. By being informed, you'll be able to read the fine print, help yourself and help other people better. You will possess knowledge and thus be able to get a job that pays well or at least pays for your basic necessities in life: food, clothing and shelter. And no one will be able to sell you a bridge. Because you will know better.

Rule #3: Try your very best to remain mugshot-free.
There are a lot of reasons for this one, but mainly I mean this for the big ones, the following: not stealing, hurting other people, drunk driving or any other illegal activities (and a lot of this can fall under rule #1 too). It also means not hanging out with anyone who does any of these things because that will get you thrown into jail too (see rule #4). There are secondary consequences of going to jail, too. It'll make life in general more difficult and you will pay for it in many, many other ways. You will have a hard time getting a job, going to the school you want and honestly, a lot of chicks don't like a guy who's been in jail anyway. It's expensive, it's not a great thing to have on a resume and let's not even discuss what goes on in there (I've heard that it's not just a bunch of dudes getting along swimmingly.) It just gets plain messy. So do try your very best not to have a mugshot. M'kay? Plus when you have a mugshot it ends up on the internet in some database and you really don't want that floating around either. These are usually pictures that are taken at your lowest point with your hair all mussed up and your eyes all baggy and scary-looking. And while we're at it, there are all those other weird technology ways to end up in jail through texting and the internet and whatnot and perhaps by the time you read this there will be special nodes for your head that you'll be able to think about something and make it happen, so if you do have those things, remain within the moral codes of all that too. M'kay? And ps. There are those few times where standing up for what you believe in or doing the right thing could land you in jail too so I guess this would be my only exception to rule #3 but still try your very best to avoid jail if at all possible.

NOTE: For a more broad approach to these simple life rules, there are 10 rules that are readily available via the Bible and as part of rule #2, the research and learning bit, you should read this in its entirety one day but for now we'll talk about the 10 Commandments at the level we are able to and I will discuss them with you while I am here and hope that you will carry those with you for as long as you both shall live.

There wasn't going to be a rule #4 but as I was writing this I realized this was equally important in living a full and happy life and so here it is.

Rule #4: Surround yourself with nice people. I hate to tell you this but sometimes there are mean or negative people out there and you can give them a chance and try to change them or their opinion (because you're trying to follow rule #1) but as much as you want to they likely won't change and you can spend your life trying. You can also spend your life trying to fit in with them, but true friends will accept you no matter what so you won't have to spend your life trying to fit in with true friends and you'll know who they are pretty quickly. It is ok to say goodbye to people who make life difficult for you, stress you out or make you unhappy and if you must be around them for whatever reason, it is ok for you to just take them in small doses. In the end, try to keep yourself surrounded by people who love you, who make you happy, and by people who got your back and will defend you and support you no matter what (and also by people who try to follow the aforementioned rules themselves by playing nice, being well-informed or at least logical, and by not going to jail.)

Well I believe that covers all the basics, the rules of living happily within society, being fed and clothed and just.

As I look at you running around in your underwear and diaper pretending that you're at the beach, I wish I could just tell you life would forever be like it is right now, happy and fun with the most devastating thing in your world being how fast (or slow) mom can get your snack for you.

But you'll grow up and things will get a little more complicated and it will all begin with your first pimple.

I truly believe that if you follow my 4 little principles, you'll be ok. No matter how tough it gets.

And if you don't, that's ok. I will love you anyway.

But I'm not bailing you out of jail.

* * *
What are your rules and what do you want to pass down to your children? Have you ever considered writing a letter or a post or doing a video with it?


deegarretson said...

Great post! The description in your second paragraph could have been me. The only thing I can think to add is: When bad things happen, remember you can overcome them, if you give yourself time and ask for help when you need it.

Dawn said...

Amazingly wonderful! (there are 10 rules that are readily available via the Bible) So true!

Loved this post, makes me think of maybe jotting something down for my legacy as well if I were to leave this earth too early.

It really makes you think, doesn't it? I'm not afraid of death or dying, but AM very afraid of leaving my kids without a mom. So universal!

Saretta said...

I love your rules, and agree with them all. I have never thought about writing my values down for my sons, but I try to communicate them in everything I do and in what behavior I expect of them.

Roo said...

I love this post so much. Great rules and advice for our little people who, unfortunately, won't be little forever.

Post a Comment

Talk to me goose!

(ps. I love responding and if you have your email set on your blogger profile I can!)

My Favorite Quotes

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." - Bill Cosby

I tri because one day I didn't believe in myself. And then one day I did.

"I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist." - Jack London

Some people think it's holding on that makes one strong- sometimes it's letting go.

"Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History."- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Live life PASSIONATELY, laugh OUT LOUD, love UNCONDITIONALLY. - from my spoon rest.

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." - Ferdinand Foch