So I thought I’d take a break from writing about writing by taking a stab at what I think some life lessons may be. Despite my slight aversion to the latest onslaught of numbered lists that are flooding social media, I offer you my 10 ways to live life. I would love to hear what you think…I’m going for a walk.
1. Accept that life isn’t easy…so don’t try to make it harder. The sooner you realize that many things in life are out of your control, from the weather to the ending of a good movie to the amount of traffic on a bustling highway, the happier you will be. Our lives are spattered with challenges and pitfalls so why make it harder by resisting those things you cannot change?
2. Listen more, talk less. You can learn so much more if you pause and listen. Meditating does not mean you need to sit with your legs crossed and your palms facing upward while you hum surrounded by candles. It can mean listening to the chatter of small children; listening to the shrill melody of morning birds; listening to the wise and weathered advice of a senior citizen; listening to the rhythmic sleeping of the one you love; and most of all, listening to what people have to say…because you don’t know everything.
3. Be kind to yourself and others. Complaining and speaking ill of others will never lead to the road to happiness. It might make you feel better temporarily, but sooner or later the resentment festers inside you like mold in a dark, damp crevice. Avoid making self-deprecating comments too because they not only damage you, but they can also create a negative image and model for your children.
4. Care for an animal. You’ll be happy you did, and there’s no better way to fully understand unconditional love.
5. Stop expecting. You are only in control of your own actions so avoid expecting others to behave and act the way you’d like them to. You don’t have the right to tell others how to live, but you do have the right to leave and live the way you choose.
6. Realize that there are many ways to be successful. Success doesn’t simply mean having a six-figure income, a bulging mortgage and the shower of attention by many. Success can come in the form of having the courage to leave a bad situation or making a profound impact on the life of another.
7. Ask for help. Avoid being so egocentric that you think you can or need to do this all on your own. Besides, showing someone you need their help can be so rewarding for that person.
8. Use technology less. In this modern age, everything has become so convenient. We even have refrigerators that can take a photo of the contents inside! Make a list, soak up a scene with your eyes, ears and nose…and get outside! Thoreau knew what he was talking about!
9. Read…and write! The more you read, the better you will write…and the better you will feel. The words of others have been known to inspire many so keep a pen handy while reading your book. You don’t need to be Shakespeare to feel the cathartic effects of reading and writing.
10. Realize that life can’t be neatly encapsulated in 10 easy steps.