10 Rules to Live by – Part II (coblogged with Mary Ellen)

If you missed part one, here it is. Mary Ellen joined me for Part II and blogged the same rules on her blog. Read her version here.

  1. “Childlike wonderment is essential.”
    This statement made by my new boss is the rule that inspired Part II. I was working at my new job, trying my best to be useful, when my boss walks into the lab and announces very matter-of-factly, “It’s snowing!” and then he left to go outside. We all scurried and put on our coats to go see the snow. Now when I say snow, I mean Texas flurries that don’t stick. (I heard it stuck in Houston though that same day!) We stood underneath the awning and watched in quiet wonderment. Suddenly, Boss states, “Let’s go get some,” and he walked out into the “snow” and stood facing upward with his eyes closed. He said very authoritatively, “Childhood wonderment is essential, guys.” What a wonderful way of summing up something I strive for daily. Not but a minute later, he announces that it’s time to go back to work.

    So transitory that moment but it really calls to attention something I find, well, essential in life. Childlike wonderment. I’ve been around a lot of children in my life with all the babysitting and work I’ve done with them and the one thing I truly appreciate about kids is their amazement of things that snooty adults take for granted. The world ceases to be magical when you don’t let yourself be moved by the little miracles. Like snow.

  2. Sometimes having the last word isn’t a sign of winning. Everyone knows the picture of a stubborn donkey and his owner yanking and beating on him to try and get him to budge. Arguing with a human jackass is exactly like that. At least donkeys eventually get tired and move. Human jackasses might move away, but they won’t change their mind. You don’t want to argue with a Jackass. There are no winners in the argument. I know the last word is highly coveted by everyone, myself included, but a rule I try to live by is when it’s becoming clear that you’re arguing with a jackass, it’s in your best interest to cease. A Jackass is not only someone with a limited perspective, but someone who is also vehement in not expanding his view and not acknowledging there is more to be said and discussed. Someone with blinders on and whose argument could be broken down to a repetitive, “HEE HAW, HEE HAW.” Repeat. There are no winners when arguing with a Jackass.
  3. Blog about the stuff that you want to remember and not the stuff you don’t want to remember. This is pretty self-explanatory. I don’t always succeed in doing this and it’s taken me YEARS (I’ve been doing this since high school!) to come to where I am now, but I’ve made it my personal policy to not blog things I don’t want to remember.
  4. Sometimes you just gotta sit on the floor. I actually had notes for 10 Rules to Live by Part II in my notation notebook from earlier on the day when I told Mary Ellen about this blog post. I had a full day of shopping with Brandi and was so exhausted that I could not move to the couch from the floor and definitely could not will myself to walk to my purse and pull out the notebook to get the rest of my rules. I only remembered “Child like wonderment is essential.” So Mary Ellen worked with me and that’s how we decided it would be fun to come up with nine more and then blog the same ten individually on our blogs. My sitting on the floor became a rule. Sometimes, you have to grant yourself permission to take a load off and veg where ever you may be. In my case, it was the floor.
  5. Be careful what you wish for. I like the idea that the universe gives you what you want. If you play your cards right, don’t piss off too many people, the Universe will conspire to grant you your deepest desires. (I think I first got this notion off of Paulo Coelho.) I don’t know if I actually believe that the Universe has an agenda, but I do believe that sometimes the world works in a funny way and actually gives you what you want. That can be scary! Wanting the wrong person, the wrong job, the wrong crowd of friends… Worse, what if you wanted a mullet? And you got it? See what I mean? Be careful what you wish for.
  6. Best friends are essential. So you’re probably thinking, BLAH BLAH BLAH. Best friends are wonderful. Yada yada yada. There are a lot of obvious benefits of having best friends. You have a go to person, a confidant, etc. However, I think it’s also important to realize how important best friends are in your own personal development. We grow into the people we are because our loved ones give us the security and confidence to do so. They do this by guiding, reprimanding, not judging, encouraging, and supporting. When we screw up and are given the opportunity to grow and better ourselves, they don’t let us get away without at least a knowng guilt inducing glance or a long lecture. Most importantly, they have your back.
  7. When things go down the shitter, pamper yourself. The good thing about shitty times and shitty moods is that one of your first goals is to try to feel better. Depending on the catastrophe and your budget, this can range from a home manicures, a cup of hot chocolate, truffles, a weekend trip, a new book, a jigsaw puzzle. (Welcome to my comfort toolbox.)
  8. Don’t wait for growing up to get easier. It doesn’t get easier! Enjoy today!
  9. Appreciate your body. I know in 20 years I’m going to miss what I have now. Positive self-image is not only hard to achieve these days, but also once achieved you can’t just sit back and relax. It’s always going to be a work in progress. We’re fish swimming against the current of airbrushed models and impossible, unattainable, highly publicized social standards of beauty. It’s important to step back a little, dim the lighting, and gaze lovingly at your body. We’re going to miss what we have when we’re older. Knowing that, shouldn’t we try to appreciate it while we have it?
  10. Don’t use other people to define yourself. I knew a girl once who went to college on an autumn day wearing flip flops. In class, she noticed everyone was wearing closed toed shoes. I asked if her feet were cold and she said she was just fine. What bothered her was that she stood out and didn’t “fit in.” Mind you, she was 23 at the time. She actually drove home from college to put on different shoes and went back. She missed out on a lot of lecture time to just pacify her anxiety of being different. This was just one example of all the ways she tried to emulate everyone around her in hopes she could find something that was her. There’s nothing wrong with being inspired, but there’s a reason why the saying goes, “Imitation is suicide.” It’s important to get to know yourself. It’s important to be authentic.
  11. Photos taken from and by my talented friend, Thomas.