Tuesday, April 21, 2009

life's lessons

I don’t claim to be wise. Or even particularly knowledgeable. I don’t have all the answers to all, or even any, of life’s questions. But I do have a modest share of common sense. And over my 61 years I think I have arrived at a few simple conclusions and guidelines to achieving a successful and mostly happy and, certainly, a contented life.

Some simple measures for good health and reasonable longevity, and thus avoiding the burdensome weight of dependence on others, are to stay away from smoking, drinking, and the use of drugs. Eat responsibly by avoiding fatty foods and chemically enhanced manufactured foods, and consume a good share of wholesome fruits and vegetables, grains and fish. Leave something on your plate and forget dessert.

Seek holistic medical care rather than the panacea of costly and often ineffective pharmaceuticals. Exercise everyday as a way of not just maintaining bodily health, but also to reduce stress and enhance your mental outlook.

Seek work. Work hard. Do more than expected. Be efficient and look for ways to make your work more efficient. Don’t complain. Be a team player and advance the team’s goals rather than your own. You will find that you will be promoted, even put in charge. Stay humble. The descent is always faster than the rise.

No matter how gifted, intelligent, creative, erudite and special you think you are, admit that there is always someone better than you.

Be attentive to your personal grooming. Shave, bathe, and wear clean clothes. Try to stay stylish so as to appear confident and up to date in all things.

Be cheerful. Have a ready smile for all you encounter no matter their station in life. Laugh a lot. Especially at yourself.

Suffer in silence. Don’t whine or seek sympathy.

Save. Invest conservatively. Don’t gamble. Live within or below your means and you will never want for anything essential.

Read and study things of substance. Satisfy your curiosity. Constantly seek to acquire new skills.

Volunteer when you can and occasionally when you should despite the apparent hardship.

Share your toys, your tools, your expertise. Always leave some for the next guy. Give more than you take.

Remember that opinions are the currency of the self -important, worthless until sought. Save yours for another day.

Find a partner, a husband or wife, who loves you and whom you love who shares your outlook and values. Realize that that partner is truly your better half.

Teach your children the values you treasure. Teach by example not by preaching. And when the time comes to let them go, allow your children the freedom to find their way just as you did.

If you do these things, or at least make the attempt, you will own your life and be remembered for that ownership.

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