Old men are fond of giving good advice, to console themselves for no longer being in a position to give bad examples.
— Francois la Rochefoucauld
I’ve been holding on to this for a little while now, since Lyrically first did it back in April, and I thought I’d go ahead and share it with you now. Remember this spoken word “song” that was popular about 10 years ago (maybe longer)? The words are taken from an imagined commencement address written by a Chicago Tribune writer. Lyrically gave her take on it, and commenters offered some suggestions as well, and I started my own list with the intent to share it here. And here we are.
Never leave home without Chapstick. When the world gets to be too much, spend time with people under the age of 5. Try to laugh at something every day. Sing, whenever, wherever, even if it’s only to yourself. Life is too short to eat fat-free cheese. Read for pleasure – it’s the best way to learn new things and expand your vocabulary. Own a cat, especially if you live alone; it helps to have something to take care of. Always buy what kids are selling at card tables on their front lawns. Smile at strangers – it doesn’t cost anything and it might brighten someone’s day. Always bring socks or stockings with you when you go shoe shopping (otherwise, you’ll end up like me, with multiple pairs of shoes that are *just* too big). Diet Dr. Pepper is the only diet soda that really does taste like the original. When you move to a new neighborhood, find the local public library and get a card as soon as you can. Learn to drive stick. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – how else are you supposed to get the answers? Get unlimited text messaging on your cell phone.
Never wear open-toed shoes without painting your toenails. When making macaroni and cheese from a box, mix the milk with the cheese powder first, and then add it to the macaroni. Floss – your dentist is right (and my dentist is hot!). Be friends with your siblings. Always try to be fair, even when fighting. Don’t let kind things go unsaid. Get to know your grandparents. Recycle, recycle, recycle. Send thank you notes; especially these days, you’ll stand out from the rest, and it’s just the right thing to do. You are never alone, even when you feel like you are. Study abroad in college – you won’t be sorry. Read the newspaper. Learn to love a sport, it’s a great way to connect with strangers. Don’t play games with people’s hearts – be honest about your feelings. Go places by yourself; you don’t always need a wingman. Make your bed every day – it takes 2 minutes and makes a huge difference. Credit cards are not worth the trouble; avoid them if you can. Exercise is good for your body and your mind – make it a habit, but find something you love to do.
Go to therapy – where else can you find someone who’ll listen to you for an hour and not expect to talk about themselves in return? When someone asks you to be in their wedding, only say yes if you can honestly stand up for the relationship. Take lots of pictures. Shave your underarms in both directions; you’ll get a closer, longer lasting shave. The only way you won’t get what you want is if you stop trying to get it. Eat breakfast every day. Never stay with someone who doesn’t believe in you. Follow through when you say you’re going to do something. Share what you have with others, whether it’s money, time, talent, wisdom, or friendship. Be someone’s secret admirer.
So there you go. What’s your advice?