[Expanded & updated from the original post that appeared on this day 2 years ago today]
Driving home with my organic, soy chai latte in hand, today, I began to wonder what the critical lessons I should be teaching my daughter were.
She’s only 8, but I wanted to make sure I got my most treasured thoughts down, to capture my deepest wisdom.
So, not wanting to be late, lose my thoughts or spill my chai, I whipped out my iPhone, began to type in one hand, while steering with my knees and balancing my chai in the other (Joking, people…I actually steered with my navel, not my knees. Anyways, pretty sure my wife will be teaching my daughter how to drive).
Here’s what I came up with…
1. Never get a tattoo you can’t see. For years, I taught yoga. And, when I taught, I’d see a lot of ink all over people’s bodies. But, the thing that I really just didn’t get was tattoos in places you’ll never actually be able to see with your own eyes. The back of neck is one example. But, the bigee, the one I’d see on a solid 20% of all women who do yoga in NYC was the lower back tat. Which led me wonder, are they doing yoga to enlighten their bodies, minds and spirits…or do they just hope to get flexible enough to one day see their own ink?!
2. Never get a tattoo you can see. You love pink now. But, hey, by the time you’re really old, like 11 or 12, you might not love it at all. Heck, you might even hate it. If we stay in NYC, there’s even a good chance your favorite color with be gray (like the air and the snow). People change. We evolve. What you are breathless for today may very well leave you flat or, worse, repulsed decades later. So, if you want to pay tribute to something you know deep down in your soul will be everlasting…plant a tree.
3. Think with your brain, act with your heart. There will be a ton of things to think about, to decide as you wander through life. You can’t possibly make good decisions all the time. That’s not the point. The point is, when you reach those moments where the decisions start to really mean something, three-step the solution. Gather information, learn what you can. Step back and let it simmer. Then listen to and act upon what your heart tells you is right. Whether it was the most logical decision in hindsight doesn’t matter. You can always correct course…unless of course, you’re thinking about getting a tattoo. If so, see rules number 1 and 2.
4. Don’t smoke. When I was growing up, smoking was cool, the Marlboro Man hadn’t yet died from lung cancer. Now he has. Now we have more information. Now we know the truth. But, here’s the thing, once you start, it’s really, really hard to stop. I know, because my mom only stopped when she came home to find me and your aunt smoking in the house when we were 12 and 14 years old. We told her we’d keep doing it all the time until she stopped. And, she wasn’t even a real serious smoker. But, that’s what it took. Never start and you’ll never have to worry about quitting. Plus, I won’t have to beat the piss out the idiots who got you started. Daddy wants to stay out of the big-house.
5. Or date smokin’ hot men (or women). First, you should know, you’re not allowed to date until your married. And, only then, if you’re not still living with your mom and me. But, once you do, steer clear of the ultra-hotties, unless they are those few people who’ve grown up in a place where everyone else is so much hotter, they think they’re ugly. But, honestly, even then, if they’re super-hot and they’re too blind to know it, you’ve gotta wonder what’s going on upstairs.
People who are nice looking, cute, attractive, but not smokin’ hot need to shine by developing into better, more interesting, funnier, more respectful people. Not all do. But, at least you’ve got a better shot at having a great life with a medium hottie than a smokin’ hottie.
PS – This rule does not apply to your mother. Through a freak of genetics and a bizarre 4th grade home-ec accident, she ended up being smokin’ hot and insanely cool. I am sure much the same way you’ll be (sans the home-ec accident). If this is all a bit confusing, it’ll all make sense once you start dating…after your married and moved out of my house.
6. Give a lot, but don’t lose yourself. Maybe the coolest feeling you can get is when you give a lot, help a lot, do a lot for other people, without ever asking for anything in return. It just makes you smile inside. Cooler still is when you figure out ways to give without the other person even knowing it was you who did something nice for them. Do that as much as possible.
But, try not to define who you are by how you satisfy other peoples’ needs. You’ve still gotta be you, have your own personality, opinions, passions, ideas, creations and friendships. Because you’re worth it. So give a ton, but know it’s okay to receive, too.
Unless, of course, you’re receiving something from a boy. Boys are evil. Well, they’re cool, but in an evil kinda way. Until you find the right one…which we’ll both know once I’ve gotten the boy’s file back from uncle Tony in the FBI.
7. Do stuff because it means something. It may take you a while to figure out what doesn’t really change how you feel and what activities and people make you feel deep-down, inside out great. But, when you do, find ways to do those things and be with those people as much as possible. That’s what matters. Not how much you have, but what you do and with whom. Also, try not to use the word “whom.” Ever. It’s proper English, but, seriously, how many people who say whom do you really know…and like?
8. Ask mom for advice. If, after reading the first 7 rules you need to ask why, oy vey, we’ve got a bigger problem than I thought!
Now, here’s the thing, I was going to write down 10 rules, but by the time I hit 8, I realized my hard-fought wisdom might really benefit from the collective wisdom of all you guys…my inspired community.
So, please think for a moment and then share your rules, thoughts and wisdom in the comments below.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve probably discovered, Lord knows I need the help!
Together we can grow us a rockstar!
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