Life advice: it’s one of the most valuable gifts we can give each other and lately everyone and their sister have been feeding me bits of wisdom they’ve picked up along the way.
I’m fiercely independent, the kind of person who doesn’t like people telling her what to do. But I’m also at an empty, possibility-filled crossroad. I don’t know what my future looks like. I don’t even know what next week looks like (I move to Seattle June 16th!)
So I’ve been listening to all this advice. And incredibly thankful for any drop of wisdom, assurance, or insights that others can give. It has been fascinating to hear different takes on life and how to live it. It’s been beautiful to see how many shapes hope takes.
While wedged between pungent boxes of cherries and a five foot tower of bok choy in one of Chinatown’s lively markets, an elderly woman with a red neckscarf told me I should become a flight attendant and double date Australian men with my mother (whom I should “never” say is my mother.) A very Italian butcher at Molinari’s Deli in the North Beach told me to move to San Francisco, which is “justa lika Seattle but fog nota rain!” He consequently wrote his phone number on my mozzarella and prosciutto sandwich’s white paper bag. And as one Davidson College staff member notes, “Always have a Plan B.” I’m pretty sure she wasn’t referring to the kind of Plan B that you get at CVS (which, interesting fact, was invented at Davidson College) but instead life back-up plans because she continued, “Almost nothing works out the exact way you envision it, but eventually everything does work out.”
I didn’t need to go to school; I just needed to graduate so everyone would impart their wisdom.
Some other favorite lines of advice:
“Your road is going to wind around, with many turns. Your first choice that seems so urgent right now is only the beginning, only step one.”
–P. Baker, Davidson College Faculty
“Don’t take life so seriously.”
“Stand still. Always ask why.”
“Remember to keep asking yourself, “Am I happy and am I growing?”
–Davidson College Staff
“Choose to be kind and generous. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you are tired or you don’t feel good or your partner or your kids are driving you crazy. Be kind after your boss yells at you and you feel terrible about yourself. Be kind when the waiter screws up your order at lunch, be kind when your assistant makes a mistake on the report you’ve got to turn in, and be kind when your parents do something that really, really irritates you.
Be kind to others because you will make a lot of these mistakes yourself. And, when you do make mistakes, know that you’ll want two things: For others to be kind to you, and to have the ability to find it in your heart to be kind to yourself.”
–F. Smith, Davidson College Faculty
After all this wonderful wisdom, I’m sure of one thing; I have so much more to learn.
Do you have any lines of life advice?
p.s. I’ve just returned to my kitchen and a recipe for a simple, nutrient-packed (yes! I swear!) flourless chocolate cake is on its way to you.