Some Things I’ve Learned

Go ahead and stay up too late with friends from time to time. Sweat in 100 degree heat. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway. Read an author you disagree with. Get up before the sun rises. Talk to a therapist. Make your bed even though you don’t understand why. Don’t be stingy. Take photos wherever you go. Eat an ice cream sandwich. Laugh at weddings. Cry at them too. Look at a baby in a coffin. Listen to good music. Find songs that make you feel things. Go to live shows as often as you can. Try foods you don’t think you’ll like. Climb a mountain and invite as many friends as you can to come with you. Have another drink, but be safe. Read poetry. Try to write some, too. Pray in the shower. Walk barefoot in the summer grass. Let the dog jump into bed with you. Remember there is no such thing as a normal life. Drink a peaty Scotch, even if it’s just once. Drink tea more than that. Spend a day at the beach, let the waves push you over and tumble over you. Get a pair of shoes you like. Journal as often as you can, sometimes when you don’t want to. Skip a stone across a creek. Drive a speedboat. If you can, ride a sailboat. Walk somewhere you usually drive to. Watch the wind blow through the trees. Look at the butterflies on the flowers. Take late night bike rides with friends. Listen to others, and do what you can for them. Know your privilege and use it for good. Resist climbing ladders. Power is not what it’s cracked up to be. Don’t compare grief, and don’t measure trauma. Know what you’re good at and help others be good at it, too. But only if they want. Realize that our biology rules more of our life than we want to admit. Try not to take things personally. Give the benefit of the doubt to people’s motivations. Go to the hospital when a loved one is there. You’re gonna need your big boy/girl pants, though, so don’t forget your belt. Think about the type of person you want to be each day. Forgive yourself for falling short. Do what’s right. Love mercy. Not just for yourself, but especially when others don’t get what they deserve. Do your best to be humble. Don’t think you’re smarter than everyone. Don’t swear at the person not paying attention when the light turns green. Eat more mushrooms than beef. Don’t love stuff too much, you’ll never be satisfied. Understand to be cynical is to be wading in the shallow end of the pool. Plant lots of flowers. Don’t be scared of the bees that come. Tell someone you trust that you need help when you need it. Take a sick day for mental health when you want to. Drop out of the Olympics if necessary. Don’t make it a habit of eating with the TV on. Run a mile, just to see if you still can. If you like to run, make sure you don’t do it at the cost of the relationships around you. Sit with someone you love around a campfire and don’t say anything. Just listen to the crackle of the wood. Look at the mysterious beauty of fire. Light candles to make your house smell nice. Light more to remind you to pray for others. Give those who don’t deserve it second chances, perhaps even third or fourth chances, especially if they’re young. Give the gift of good memories to children. Be consistent. Apologize when you’re not. Don’t go to college because someone told you to. If you’re going to take out a loan, make sure its worth it. Set healthy boundaries. Drink lots of water. Hang out with elderly people and listen to their stories. Put on sunscreen. Read your kid another book. Learn that a good imagination is more important than we are taught. Tell stories. Be curious. Pay attention. Tell others about what you’ve noticed.

Published by Andrew

a ragamuffin dad planting some sequoias

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