I saw something circulating through my Facebook feed this week that made me stop and think.
“Comment one total random piece of advice that has helped you in the past.”
I read comments advising friends on everything from being smart by investing in renters’ insurance to being strong and knowing “this too shall pass” and even not to “fry bacon without a shirt on,” which, hey, I can’t disagree with that one.
It inspired me to think about some life lessons I’ve learned that may help somebody else if I pass them on.
1. First is always best, better known as “FAB.”
This is a piece of advice my mama and I came up with and have always relied on. Whether it’s something as simple as where to go for lunch or something as serious as which car to buy, it’s something we live by pretty seriously. It’s essentially the same thing as trusting your gut. When you’re making decision, big or small, go back to the very first hunch you ever had about the situation and stick to that. I remember being in school taking a multiple-choice test and flipping from A to B and then remembering the “FAB” rule and sticking to A. Nine times out of 10, my gut was right.
2. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry.
I don’t know how many times I have to remind myself this piece of advice before grocery shopping, but man, it is a bad idea to set foot in a grocery store on an empty stomach. If you’re at Walmart, it’s not so bad because at least the prices are a bit lower, but try walking into Publix hungry and you’ll leave with an empty bank account, a still-empty stomach and grocery bags full of Lord knows what. And while I’m on the subject, don’t go to the grocery store without a list either. It’s just a bad idea. You’re gonna end up buying way more than you need and spending too much money.
3. Learn to say “no.”
Although it’s something I’ve gotten better at in my 20s, it’s still hard for me to do. Whether it it’s simply offering to help someone with something, or when I was in high school working two jobs and running a photography business and still always agreeing to cover a co-worker’s shift, I kinda hate to admit I’ve always been a “yes-girl.” Now, having a chronic illness and typically working overtime each week, I have learned how important it is to say no. Whether it’s pacing yourself with your work or telling your friends you just can’t hang out this weekend due to pure exhaustion or being too busy with something else, sometimes you just have to say “no.” Set your priorities straight and have the strength to take care of yourself because at the end of the day, you have to be your own No. 1.
4. Don’t let fear hold you back.
It’s easy for anyone to say “don’t be scared, just go for it,” but it’s harder for one to actually do. Being an anxiety-ridden girl, I will be the first to admit I have let fear hold me back more times than I can count on both my fingers and toes. However, I’m a work in progress. I am learning to do things that scare me because as uncomfortable as it may be, the best things happen just outside your comfort zone. Step outside of it every now and then and you’ll see I’m right.
5. Nothing good happens after midnight.
Whenever I was in high school, my curfew was midnight. I begged and begged Mama to extend it to 12:30 a.m. because I lived in the small town of Union Springs, which was at least 45 minutes or an hour away from all my friends. My argument was by the time I drove all the way there and hung out for a while, it was already time to go because I’d have to drive all the way home. Mama, being the wonderful woman she is, decided to throw me a bone and let me have it. The couple times my curfew was 12:30 a.m., bad things happened. The first was shortly after I turned 16 and got my first car. It was a red 2000 Honda Accord and I loved it to pieces. Her name was Loretta (a tribute to Loretta Lynn, of course). I was out one night heading home and bam, I hit my first deer. I’d had the car less than a month and ended up with a dent on my hood I had until the time that car died. The second thing that happened scared me enough to beg Mama to change my curfew back to midnight. I was several hundred feet from pulling up to the house when I noticed the stop sign by my house had been spray painted with a giant five on it. Those who know me know that’s my unlucky number and how many bad things have happened to me associated with the number. Moral of the story, if it’s midnight, you better be in bed asleep or something bad just might happen.
6. Slow down.
To quote one of my favorite movies, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I’m still trying to figure out how in the world it’s April 2019 but that’s truly just time moving fast as it does. For several months, I’ve been so busy I haven’t slowed down to smell the dang roses and definitely haven’t taken a moment to appreciate all I have. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of work and life in general, but it’s just as easy to take a minute and slow down to enjoy this life and all the good that comes with it. Don’t be too busy for your family, friends or yourself. Just slow down, and remember to breathe.
If I had more space, I’d tell you to wear sunscreen, don’t buy off-brand cheese or aluminum foil (those are two things you’ve just gotta splurge on for the real brand, trust me) and much more, but I’ve gotta stop somewhere. Hopefully you’ll take something from my words of 24-year-old “wisdom” and be inspired to think of some of your own. Life can be messy and crazy but there’s always something you can do to make it better. Whether it’s trusting your gut or taking time to slow down, I hope you take my advice.
Santana Wood is the design editor at The Outlook, who is also a big fan of The Beatles if you didn’t get the reference in her headline.