Wednesday, January 28, 2015

13 Things I learned the hard way

     Taking a quick self-survey, I notice that I repeat certain mistakes. Either I am not a fast learner, or there are far too many trivial details sloshing in my brain that need more immediate attention.
     I’ll share what I’ve conquered so far.

    1. Back up. Back up. Back up your computer.

     I keep a standing date with my hard drive on Sunday nights. In the meantime, I multi-task and socialize with the nobility on Downton Abbey while folding laundry like the downstairs staff.
   Being proactive spares me the aggravation of losing important files and valuable time.

     2. Don’t buy the cheap model of anything despite what the salesman says to persuade you otherwise.  

     He’ll tell you that you will never figure out all the bells and whistles on the higher end product anyhow. Would he use that identical sales pitch on a 20-year old? I doubt it.    
    Unfortunately, either choice falls apart at about the same time anyhow. At least I have had lots of fascinating features to play with for the duration.  

     3. Save for a rainy day.

    How foolish I was in my youth, and it took a rude awakening to get my habits under control. I am sure that I can count others in my boat.
     Still, it scares me when I hear about families living with massive credit card debt all in the name of living the good life. One thing I know for sure: they haven’t figured out what qualifies as “a good life.”

     4. Nothing in life is free

 I am not talking about peace, joy and love here. Those are the great intangibles we all should be striving to attain for a better quality of existence.
    I mean those gimmicks to get you to buy into a timeshare by offering a “free” three-night stay at a luxurious resort are a sales pitch plain and simple. Or, buy this item and get a complimentary set of knives that you’ll throw into the back of the drawer after one attempt at hacking through a tomato.

     5. You don’t have to finish a book.

     I either self-imposed that rule as a kid, or perhaps, a well-meaning teacher told me, “ finish what you start.”
     I am comfortable reading several books at a time, and in cases, I glean needed information, and close the covers. Then again, I have read many chapters into a novel and decided that I didn’t think that it is worth my time. No regrets.

     6. Observe carefully before pulling into a long unfamiliar driveway.

    You could get stuck where the snow drifts over, or blocked in, and it won’t be easy coming back down the path. It doesn’t matter if you drive the latest AWD vehicle. Notice how emergency vehicles do it, and follow their lead.

     7. Take an issue and handle it at the proper moment.

    Avoidance never works. Ever. You can’t sweep problems under the rug and hope they will miraculously go away. You will never have everyone liking you all the time anyhow, and if you fear that you will hurt someone’s feelings, well, come on.
    Admit it if you are wrong. You can learn well from your mistakes with an open mind.
     Stand your ground if you are right. Don’t expect others to rally around you, though. It can be lonely out there on the front line.
    By all means, compromise if the stakes are not high and the situation does not warrant a lengthy battle.

     8. Plaids and strips do work together.

     I love watching the creative approach to dress from my teenage friends, and often the glittery silver Ugg boots compliment striped tights and a polka dot mini skirt perfectly.
     Let yourself go a bit in your choice of color combinations this week and free yourself from rules of dress.

     9. The plastic wrapping in cereal boxes and on cosmetic items is meant to cause stress and a few choice words. I'm not even mentioning opening paper milk or cream cartons as those will double the grunts from you.
     Keep a pair of scissors handy, and for goodness sakes, don’t use the sewing shears or you’ll never hear the end of the scolding lecture.
     It’s not worth ruining your day over such a trivial matter. There are bigger fish to fry.

     10. A watched pot never boils.

     In and out of the kitchen, stop waiting and think about what you can do in the meantime.
     Things are happening and you are not privy to the bigger picture. You have to trust a bit on the outcomes. It is unwise to manipulate and control situations.

     11. Inconveniences come at the worst times, and suddenly, too.

     It depends on your attitude, and if your intuition tells you that there is a reason to pay attention to the person or situation and drop what you are doing, then you may well handle interruptions well.

     12. If you live in the country, expect to share it with wildlife.

     Contain your outside garbage and take your bird feeders down when bears come out of hibernation. Take photos of your “neighbors” in the natural beauty of their backyards. Treat each other with respect.

     13. My best company is myself. 

     It requires a conscious effort. Once you invest in liking yourself, you have a better capability for facing the challenges of tomorrow and developing deeper friendships.

     Someone jokingly told me that they never make the same mistake twice. It’s more like five or six times. That sounds about right.