Lighten up, little Emily!
Back-to-school: What advice would you give?
On a recent sunny afternoon drive young/old grandson Lennon called out an unexpected question: “What are your regrets?” I laughed, “Ooh, good question! And a big topic. Where’s my list? Uh, I should watch the road now.”
So while thinking about my old “roads,” here’s Stuff I Wish I Had Known and Still Work on (yes, complete with show-tunes and cliches — but they’re true):
*Studying books, movies and “real” people can prevent a whole lotta Life-pain.
*Speaking of reading, the Book of Proverbs is jaw-droppingly wise about us humans. And do memorize quotations, as Andrew Lewis High School teachers Walter Robinson and Sandra Simpson Phaup “encouraged” us to do (I still have a list of ones she wrote daily on her blackboard). Literature and even lyrics can work for you.
*Stand up straight; your spine will thank you later. And stand for something; the world may thank you. (Or not — but you’ll know you did the right thing.)
*Alas, Life ain’t fair. (Said Roanoke College’s many-titled Stephanie Garst, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”)
*But almost anything can change. Think: Things turn out OK in the end; if things aren’t OK, then it isn’t the end. And worrying doesn’t help a danged thing. Ask: Is there any action to take now? If not, “turn it over.”
*Bullying: not cool anywhere. “We are all God’s children, and we should all be treated that way,” RC President Mike Maxey said to Elderscholars in his “last lecture” (a series started by students inspired by the late Randy Pausch).
*From recently retired RC Chaplain Paul Henrickson at the same venue: “Life is not a spectator sport.” So have at it in the real world (3-D all the time).
*Nourish and care for your body. Get enough sleep (research shows it makes studying “stick” in your brain — like finalizing a DVD).
*Fear not (duh, we’re not talking about doing bad stuff). Or at least act that way (like Anna whistling a happy tune in “The King and I”). It’s why I admire son-in-law Mario: He’s unafraid to try repairs — say, dashing from a YouTube video to a driveway full of car parts (a door! Electric-boards! The steering column!).
*And smile. Learn Charlie Chaplin’s song, or even John Prine’s “Illegal Smile.” Be grateful we’re not in a refugee camp or Syria or Egypt or you-name-it. Don’t be this grim grade-school girl in the photo. Oh, Mama said, “your face will freeze.” Yeah, it did; I should’ve checked the occasional mirror. Now smiling hurts, and even when I’m happy, it doesn’t register on my face. (Mama wins again.)
*When all else fails, pretend you are British: “Keep calm and carry on.”
P.S. What advice would you give to students? Email email@example.com.