Nowadays I am continually amazed by how much I still have to learn. So today, as a reminder to myself that I have absorbed a few life lessons along the way, I offer some informal rules to live by.
Life is short. Use the good china.
If the shoe fits, buy it in every color.
Nothing tastes better than a peach from the farmers' market.
It's essential to have at least one guilty-pleasure TV show. If you are in sales or marketing, you get to call this market research.
The only way to keep your weight under control is to exercise. A lot.
No matter how old you are, in 10 years you'll wish you looked as good as you do now.
The best way to heal your inner child is to be the parent you wish you'd had.
Life is too short for bad beer.
It expands your humanity to know another language. (This has not been enough to impel me to actually learn another language, but I know that I should.)
Ditto for playing an instrument.
Put something in your 401 (k) or 403 (b) account every week, no matter how little money you have, even if it just $5. Trust me.
When in doubt, do the kind thing,
Share a milkshake or malt with your child.
If you succeed half the time you try something important, remember: Batting 500 is great. Even Ty Cobb, who holds the record for MLB lifetime batting average, hit just 366.
A house is not a home without books and music.
It is okay to make a pie crust in the food processor. (Pulse 1¼ c. flour with a generous pinch of salt and a palm full of sugar. Gradually add one cubed stick of cold butter, followed by ¼ c ice water. You're welcome.)
Invest in a snow-blower.
Go to your reunion. You will either rekindle old friendships or feel relieved to have dodged a bullet.
Buy locally. Support family-owned businesses in your community.
Write a letter to your parents telling them how great they are for Mother/Fathers Day. It's all they want.
On your deathbed, you are unlikely to most regret that you got a B+ instead of an A- in that class. Let it go.
Someday, you won't be able to recall the details of the crisis that's causing you anguish today. Let that go, too.
The most important decision you'll ever make is who you choose to spend your life with. Choose someone who will be a haven instead of part of the storm.
Sometimes life is like jumping off the high dive: You just have to do what's next before you think about it too much and psych yourself out.
You need at least one old, close friend who can help you retrieve the breadcrumbs of your life's journey. Cherish her.
*Note: This column is modeled after a popular column by Pulitzer Prize-winner Mary Schmich ("Wear sunscreen"), which offered tidbits of common sense wisdom.