Saturday, November 8, 2014

Observations from the Imperfect

I bet even Shakespeare had some bad teenage poetry in his past. Eventually, he learned a few things. We all do. Eventually.
Creek through a pasture, added here just because I like it. It's
serene. (Photo by Georgia Gramlich, 2012)
  1. When someone says, "I'm not _______," believe them the first time. Examples of this are: I'm not the marrying kind. I'm not the kind of person who stays in relationships long. I'm not ready to set a date yet. 
  2. When someone has been on the receiving end of a comment fashioned as those in #1 but still tries to convince the speaker to change, they are either trying to control the person or the situation. Run. They either have control issues and/or are woefully blind to conversational queues, or both. If you have to force it, it's not supposed to happen.
  3. One sincere "thank you" comment is enough. Continuing with a continuing series of "thank you," "oh, thank you so much," and "I just can't thank you enough" for ten minutes is overkill and frankly, becomes rather awkward.
  4. If he doesn't call, it means he doesn't want to talk. Stop creating scenarios of "maybe he's busy," or "perhaps his phone battery died," or "he may have lost my number." This is the 21st century when we have 10,000 ways of communication in any given day. If he wants to talk, he'll find way to contact you. If the phone doesn't ring, it means he's not dialing. ("He" is used generally and not gender-specifically.)
  5. It is never too late to become who you want to be. Everyone of us has taken a wrong turn on the highway of life and felt that we missed a chance at something greater. Stop saying you missed it! If it is the right thing for you, you can get there again. You may have to take a long way around to get back on that road, but it can be done if you want it bad enough. 
  6. Most people have some degree of shyness, so remember you are not alone. A simple "Hi, how are you?" is often all it takes to step out of your shy corner (and help someone else step out of theirs).
  7. Listen to understand, not to reply. Our brains are glorious machines that can formulate answers quickly. This means, you can both listen fully to what is being said and still have the split seconds it takes to form your reply after the speaker has completed his/her thought. I thoroughly believe society is suffering from a lack of listening. 
  8. Learn to take a compliment graciously. Yes, sometimes it is a bit strange to have someone comment positively about you, but responding with "oh, that's not true" can turn the conversation into and back and forth of "oh-yes-you-are-oh-no-i'm-not" which gets old fast. A gentle smile and simple "thank you" will suffice and shows that you respect the person's right to their opinion. It also will keep the compliments coming in the future, which may include a time when you really need to hear one.
  9. Keep your troubles to your close circle. With the onset of social media, many have adopted the delusion that all the world is their close circle of friends, leading them to share much too much of their troubles with the general population. If you have trouble identifying who is in your close circle of friends, it's those folks you could call at 2 a.m. to get you when you have a flat tire or those folks who will check on you directly when you are sick. Sharing your troubles outside this circle just makes you look needy.
  10. Yes, there are exceptions to #9. If your troubles -- your story -- can either be highly entertaining or highly informative to the general public, then share your story. Just be sure your intention does not include a need for sympathy or reaction.
  11. When you want something strongly enough that you cannot go another day without it, you will make it happen. Stop beating yourself up for not pursuing ideas. It may just mean that the idea just did not have a strong enough pull for you to pursue it. 
  12. Learn (or re-learn) the art of the written letter. Email, texts, Facebook messages -- all have their place in modern communication. Yet, the good old fashioned handwritten letter arriving your mailbox still gives the heart a little skip along with an instant smile to the receiver. If writing a full letter is intimidating, postcards work great, too.
  13. Be honest with yourself about life choices and don't just do what society expects you to do. If you don't want to be married, don't get married. If you want to be an artist, then don't force yourself to go to law school. If you are not drawn to be a parent, then don't procreate. If you want to live in the woods in a small cabin, then don't buy the huge house in the suburbs. Believe me, you'll be happier.
  14. Perfection does not exist. Stop trying to achieve it because you never will. Nobody cares if you don't look 16 when you are 45. Be awesomely imperfect and imperfectly awesome.
  15. Learn to enjoy the little things. A warm cup of coffee, a sunrise, reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show," a nap under a quilt your Momma made, watching clouds, or listening to music -- Notice the little things that make you happy because on your bad days, you can turn to them to keep you afloat.
  16. You cannot spend your way to happiness. While shopping, travelling, and going to events have their place, immersing yourself in these activities because you are covering up (or more likely, ignoring) something troubling in your life is a sure way to not only make yourself unhappy but also to become laden with debt. Stop trying to fill that void in yourself with stuff. 
  17. Most of what you need to know about a person can be obtained by observing and listening. Notice that speaking is not listed. That's because when you are speaking, you are not learning.
  18. Make room for something creative in your life because it truly is important. Remember how lost you got in coloring as a child? Building forts? Making paper dolls? Who told us we had to stop that? Find a creative outlet that makes you happy. Maybe you like to bake, or you enjoy working in the yard. Perhaps you like to sing with the radio or write in a journal. Wood carving? Community theater? Do something just for you. We don't expect you to be the next Picasso or Beyonce (but you could be). Just do something that is for pure enjoyment and creativity.
  19. Take a nap. It's okay. Don't be ashamed to relax and rejuvenate on a Saturday afternoon with a good old nap. You don't have to be set on "go" all the time. No one is keeping score. Of course, if you find yourself needing naps all the time, you might consider seeing a doctor, but the occasional one is yours for the taking. Enjoy.
  20. Be mindful that not everyone is like you, not everyone will like you, and you don't have to like everyone. There is no need to rant about any of it. Just remember that if everyone on this planet were exactly the same, it would be a really dull place. We're talking so m-i-n-d-n-u-m-b-i-n-g-l-y boring that dry toast would look like birthday cake.
  21. If you choose to disassociate yourself with an entire segment of the population because they share one common characteristic, you are going to miss out on some great people. People are individuals not demographics.


  1. This is awesome and filled with so much truth!!!

  2. We have just returned to the land of wifi and this list is SUCH a timely reminder. I too "thoroughly believe society is suffering from a lack of listening" and, yes indeed I am proud to stand by your "awesomely imperfect and imperfectly awesome" self. Oh, and #8 and #11, and yes yes, bring back #12! Thank you for sharing more of your wonderfully wise brilliance! (Try saying those last 3 words really fast five times over :-D)

    1. Welcome back! I hope your vacation was restful and rejuvenating. As for #12, my friend Jennifer has a postcard project that brings this idea back. I've participated four times and still write some of my writing partners. 3 weeks and 3 cards is all it takes: It's one of my favorite things to discover in the last year.

    2. I just had a quick look at Jennifer's postcard project. It's wonderful! As soon as I'm a little more caught up from our time away I will have a thorough read and get myself involved. Thank you for passing on, Rita. On the side, our trip was absolutely wonderful - there's an epic post coming!


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