A few years ago, I formulated some simple rules for living. These don’t apply to YOU, they apply to me, to make sure that I am being the Di that I want to be. As I have recently had to invoke a couple of these rules (those of you that have heard about the Stove Experience with The Sweetie know of at least one of them), I thought that perhaps I should enlighten you as to The Rules.
Rule Number One: You Can’t Tell Anyone Anything
No, this does not mean that I try to lead a clandestine life (as you all well know). This rule comes from a conversation that I once had with a friend prior to my marriage to FW. She sat me down and tried to tell me all of the ways that I was screwing up by marrying him. At the time, I said thanks, and disregarded her words. I went ahead and married him, and of course, we all knew what happened.
A couple of years ago, at about the point that I was realizing that this friend was right, I thought of all the times in my life that someone has tried to make me learn from their mistakes, or that I have tried to “impart my wisdom” just to have it ignored, and I am irritated that others can’t learn from others. But, we all have to make our own mistakes. I can talk to you until I’m blue in the face about how I once did the Stupid Thing that you are about to do, and how you should Bloody Not Do It, but you are going to do it anyway. You have to learn the hard way. We all do.
This is not to say that I have stopped trying to give advice (I’d like to say only when asked for, but that’s not terribly true), or that I have stopped trying to get people to learn from my experiences. It’s just that I can’t be angry with THEM anymore – they had to do what they had to do, just as I have.
PS – Ruby, you were right, and I am so, so sorry that I didn’t listen to you.
Rule Number Two: Do I Want My Grandpa To See This On National Television?
Lemme tell you about my Grandpa. I was born when he was about 50, to a barely out of her teens mother, who later became a single mom. We lived with them for a while when I was a baby, and my childhood was spent in a house within walking distance of my grandparents. My grandma took care of me before and after school, and during the summers when I was growing up. My grandpa was still working in those days, but he was the Male Figure in my life. He was nothing but kind to me, but I never wanted to risk his displeasure.
When I was older, I realized that he was not only a kind man, but a very wise and self made one. He was very smart, but not schooled (he graduated from the high school that his father was principal of in Cannington, Ontario) and went on to become the head of a very large organization, that today still runs much like it did when he set it up. He knew everything about cars. He knew where to find out what you needed to know. He knew how to guide you without telling you what to do.
He wasn’t a man of many words, but when he did talk, you listened. He could tell a hell of a story, and when I think of him, I see him after telling or hearing a good one, laughing so hard that no noise comes out, and tears are streaming down his face.
I lost my Grandma four years ago, and my Grandma more than two years ago. While my grandmother was the one that gave me the unconditional love and played games with me, and snuck me treats when my mom wasn’t looking, my grandfather was the one that I set my moral compass by. He believed in working hard, loving your family, being loyal to your friends, and being a good person.
I believe that too, and try to live by those tenants every day. When I have a decision to make, I think to myself, am I ok with my Grandpa, and everyone else, knowing what I have done?
Rule Number Three: Is This The Kind of Person That I Want To Be?
I think that I’m a pretty fantastic person. I’m kind, generous, I love children and small animals….wait, is this a blog or a personals ad?
I’ve done a lot of things in my life that I’m not particularly proud of, and was for a while not a person that I wanted to be. I have done some work with myself, and for the most part, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I have also learned that “working on yourself” is not an occasional activity like car maintenance (which I suck at) but a continual process. I have to make sure that the decisions I make and the things that I do are reflective of the Di that I want to be. If I want to be a kind person, I can’t be telling my customers that they are idiots (that’s what this blog is for, gentle reader).
Rule Number Four: Don’t F—k with the IRS
Rule Number Five: Don’t F—k with the utilities
Sometimes, it’s just worth it to hire a professional. Really.