Yesterday, while we were sorting through things to get ready to move my Korean son in law found an old notebook of mine. He liked what he found. It was something I wrote called, “Rules for a happy life.” I began writing things down that I knew were true because of my experiences in life. I had several pages of things. My son in law told me I needed to put it on my blog because he loved what he saw, but there was just too much for one blog. He told me I needed only about ten or twelve and to explain each one, but I had about close to eighty. I decided that perhaps what I should do is give a limited amount of my rules for a happy life everyday, and that way you guys get them anyway, so here goes:
- Don’t panic. I learned this lesson from swimming. I worked as a lifeguard, and this principle works in every other walk of life too. If you are trying to swim, to be a good swimmer, you have to learn to relax and just float in the water or you will sink and drown. It is that way with anything in life. You just don’t let things get you upset. Remain in control and just put one foot in front of the other, have patience and relax, and it will work out.
- Everything is hard before it gets easy. I learned this lesson from all the languages I have learned. To learn a language, you have to really apply yourself in the beginning, but after you have applied yourself, it gets easier and easier. After a while, you are speaking naturally like a native speaker. It just takes time to get there. This works for everything else you want to do too If you change countries, culture shock is hard, but don’t give, and it gets better. If you wanted to learn anything, it might seem really hard, but don’t give up because you will learn it. If you have had an operation and have to get back on your feet and try walking again, it is hard. However, take the first step, and then the second, and eventually, you will be walking well again. Even if you pass out in the beginning, get up and keep trying. This comes from a lady who has been through the mill with her health. I have been unable to walk twice in my life, but I walk without a wheel chair and without a walker, even without a cane. If the house is dirty, just start cleaning, and after a while, the cleaning gets easier because it isn’t as dirty as before, etc.
- Never give up. If you give up, you won’t accomplish. It is very tempting when the task is hard or big, but if you don’t give up, you will accomplish. I have a son with dyslexia. We didn’t know why he was having so much trouble learning to read. However, I am an English professor, and I really understand the importance of reading. When I was out from school on vacation one summer when he was small. I decided he was going to read. We got up in the morning, worked at it for four hours, ate lunch, then worked at it four more hours. All summer long, I pushed myself and my son hard because I knew he had to learn to read. He learned to read. However, he continued to have trouble, so I ended up taking him to an eye doctor thinking he might need glasses. The doctor looked at his eyes and said, “This boy will never learn to read. There are just too many really bad things wrong with his eyes, and on top of all that, he has dyslexia.” I told the doctor he could already ready, but he struggled. They said it was a miracle because he wasn’t meant to read. I didn’t give up, and we accomplished a miracle. He is a teacher today.
- Life is what is happening when you re making plans. You struggle and struggle thinking you are making plans for the future, but you don’t realize while you are struggling that you are living life right now. We look for Heaven and we should. We should prepare ourselves for Heaven, but in the meantime, we are living right here. We make plans to buy a house and save money, but in the meantime, we still have to eat and have a place to live. We go to school so we can get a good job, but we still need to take care of the here and now. Don’t neglect the people around you. Don’t neglect to eat your meals.
- If you want to accomplish something, make a plan. Just in case that plan doesn’t work, make a back up plan. Just in case that plan doesn’t work have even a third back up plan. I met a man who always had plan A, plan B, and plan C., and that is what he called them. He made up his mind that no matter what, he was going to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish. He planned before he ever began. If one way didn’t work he tried something else. He said it usually worked the first time around, but if it wasn’t working, he tried plan B and it worked. He had never had to go to plan C. but it was always there in case he needed it. I watched him work, and his philosophy worked. I adopted his idea because it was a good one.
- Cake is better with icing. Okay, if you read my blog, you will know I am a cook and I have put some cooking blogs out, but this is not just about cake. If you have a friend, it is better to have a good friend. If you have a chair, it is better to have a comfortable chair. If you have a cake, it is good, but can be a bit dry without icing. If you have a decent car, it is better to have one with a heater in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.. The basics work, but to put a little something on it to make it better makes life even better.
- Things works better when you pull together. If you pick up a stick and try to break it, it isn’t too hard to break. However, if you put two or three sticks together and try to break them, it is much harder to break them. If a family stays together, they can protect and take care of one another, but if one person is out there alone, the world could easily crush them. If you are a Christian, you are stronger in being able to do good things and stay close to God if you go to church every Sunday and make Christian friends. We can help one another. If a group of people puts their money together, they can accomplish more than just one person with the money that one person has.
- “Do something, even if it is wrong.” This is something my dad used to say. If you don’t do anything, you don’t live. If you do something and it happens to be wrong, at least you learned something. If you just lay in bed and never move, you get bed sores. If you move around, your body is healthier. It is hard to think that you have made a mistake, but at least you tried and you can go on and do better.
- Stability pays off. I have two degrees in English. People have told me that makes me much more desirable as a teacher than someone who has a B. A. in one subject and a Masters in something else. I stayed in the same field. After that, the more English classes I teach, the more experience I have as an English teacher, the more people want me to teach. It came to the point many years ago that I didn’t have to look for a job if I needed one. People just heard about me and called me. I stayed in the same field. I have spent my life traveling from country to country. It wasn’t my choice. However, I became an expert on how to enter a country and cope. If I stay in one place a long time, I am able to save money. However you look at it, staying with one thing for a long time pays.
- Don’t be wish washy. Know who you are inside. Decide who you are, and do what you know is right. People respect you more. If you are always changing your opinion, people can’t trust you. If you are a Christian, be a Christian with all your heart. Don’t let yourself be constantly falling off the wagon. Look at your goal and go toward it. If you want to get a degree, get that degree. Don’t keep dropping out of school. Don’t keep changing your major. Don’t say one thing and do another. Let your word be backed up with actions. If you love someone, love them completely. Don’t take advantage of them because that isn’t love. It is selfishness. Don’t look around at other people. Get on the path and stay there. Be right and do right. You will get respect and appreciation.
Ten rules for a happy life is enough for one blog. I will give you more later. I am 64 years old. I have lived for a while, and I am happy. I have friends everywhere. I’m dong fine and have a great family. My life is just what I need it to be. I hope yours is too.