Advice is an interesting thing. Even though I know it isn’t a good idea to offer unsolicited advice, nearly everything that follows here could be thought of as that. It’s not that I think I know better than other people (oh, maybe I do), but I have had some experience in life at this point. Here’s some advice from a grandfather from many years ago.
When I was whining about something gone wrong, he would say, “Consider it’s better than a stick in the eye.” As a child you can imagine the ugly thoughts that go along with that. I could feel the stick in my eye. It put everything in perspective.
Advice about behavior includes this: people who are selfish, grumpy, rude, self-absorbed and annoying need kindness and peacefulness the most. I learned this because when I am any of these things, kindness from others helps me change my behavior quickly and shows me an example of a better way to be.
Those same people who are selfish, grumpy, rude, self-absorbed and annoying are also my greatest teachers. They let me see how it is to be on the receiving end of bad manners, basically. So I tell myself, don’t act like that. This advice will be important to all drivers. There are always fewer jerks on the road when you leave 15 minutes earlier. I don’t know why it is, but I know it is.
For some reason, lines in the drugstore, grocery, bank, and even the post office don’t seem as slow. When you have those few extra minutes, life is just easier. Planning is important. Start early. I am one of those who believe that if I am not two minutes early, I am late … except to a party.
Here’s a thought to remember. I am the only reason I may have a bad day today. I learned this from a relative who kept that written thought posted in her home. She could look at it every day and say, “I know who my troublemaker is.” Here’s the advice – remember when you’re agitated everyone seems mean and when you’re peaceful everyone seems kind or you don’t care so much because you’re so darn peaceful.
There are two kinds of business – my business and none of my business. I don’t remember who I learned that from, but I’m pretty sure it was someone who wanted me to stay out of their business. The advice of minding your own business is sometimes really hard to do, though.
Intuition is important and one of the best sources of our own advice. It’s been referred to as women’s intuition and I believe women do analyze and see into people well. But I think many men have that also. Listen to your brain and let it help you.
And finally this advice – when pursuing a task, the difficult takes a little while and the impossible a little longer. This applies to me. As a dental hygienist, I am a science-trained person. That was my job for many years. When the opportunity arose to take on this column, I felt overwhelmed, but agreed to try it. I had no writing experience.
The truly sage advice here would be, don’t work with your husband. Some can manage it, but many cannot. Actually it started off a little rough, but has turned out well. My husband, who was editor of the Journal-Tribune at the time, decided to take me on as his student. Oh, you can imagine how that went!
We have had many discussions over the years about how I said this, when he wanted me to say that. Now after 19 years he pretty much leaves me alone, if you know what I mean. I have enjoyed telling the stories of our community and I’m always looking for a good story, so keep me in mind when you have one.
My last advice for today is, be kind to everyone around you and offer a smile to them. You will enjoy seeing that nearly everyone will smile back!
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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