Life’s Other Great Lessons
Before we moved from Paris a few years ago, I struggled with how to say goodbye to all the wonderful people who had touched my heart during the seven years I lived in Texas. As someone who has had to move away from loved ones many times over the course of my marriage, I have learned the importance of a good farewell. I have become quite good at tying up loose ends and preparing to start a new life in a completely different part of the county. Saying goodbye to special friends, however, doesn’t get any easier with practice.
The “Fab 4,” Ellie, Raegan, Maddy and Allison, took my creative writing class when they were in 5th grade. And then they took another class in 6th grade, and we squeezed in one last class before I moved when they were in 7th. I grew to love this group of extraordinarily dynamic, gifted, creative and fun young ladies. Leaving the Fab4 was hard–I felt like they were a little bit “mine,” and I was sad that I was going to miss out on watching them grow into the fabulous women I know they’ll be. All four girls are bright, talented, caring and full of joy. They are all, without a doubt, good people. They are surrounded by lots of friends and family who love them a big bunch. Bottom line: they’re going to be just fine. In fact, they’ll be better than fine; they’ll be brilliant.
Just to be sure, though, I decided I needed to give them some last bits of advice–things I wished someone had told me when I was their age. That list, “Life’s Other Great Lessons,” still hangs on the front of my fridge. I see it every time I fill my water glass or reach for an egg. So do my kids. It’s a good reminder of things I want my own kids to know, too; kind of like a “to do” list of things I need to make sure I teach them.
Life’s Other Great Lessons
1. When painting a room yellow, choose carefully–even the lightest yellow on the color strip can be shocking!
2. If you’re given the chance to study abroad–do it–it’s a luxury that may never come around again.
3. Unless you are a morning person, scheduling a Monday-Friday 8am math class in your first semester of college is probably not a good idea.
4. Keep a journal.
5. It’s okay to change your mind–don’t be afraid to say, “I thought this was going to be perfect for me, but it’s really not working out.”
6. Tell people how you feel about them–I have never regretted telling someone I care about them, but I have regretted NOT telling someone.
7. Thank you notes are important.
8. Every now and then, weed your friendship garden.
10. Learn how to cook.
11. If you dream of living abroad, joining the peace corps or doing a mission, do it while you’re young. As soon as “adult life and responsibilities” pile up, it’s harder to work this in.
12. Dream BIG.
13. If you are given a choice between receiving a “thing,” or an “experience,” try the experience.
14. Don’t wear uncomfortable shoes.
15. Good posture and good eye contact are more important than what you are wearing or what your hair looks like.
16. Being overly emotional is okay–just as long as it’s overly happy when you’re in public. Save overly angry for a more private venue.
17. It’s not always the destination–sometimes the journey is the very best part.
18. It’s always worth taking the extra time to be kind or helpful.
19. Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut.
20. There’s no shame in asking for help.
Of course, after I wrote the list, I thought of at least a dozen other things I wish I had added. I’m not worried, though. I know they’re in great hands. The sky’s the limit for the Fab 4.
PS I’m counting the days until I get to see some of the Fab4 in June–yahoo!
Pink advice photos from (here)