Wednesday Wisdom

Sometimes I feel like the set of World Book encyclopedias in my basement – and no, not blue with gold edges. I’m a font of useful information I’m unable to share. At least with the people in my circle. Such is the lot of the parent. Such is the lot of the middle-aged woman. Few want to hear what we have to say.

Grammarly asks that I pluralize, so, parents and women. Grammarly’s not much for personal style.

Something happens when we turn forty. You get a party, and then the younger crowd assigns you to irrelevance. The under-thirty set is pretty sure we have no correct ideas about anything, especially things new or tech related. One of the kiddos staying with me saw her eyebrow crawl halfway to her nape when she tried to bullshit me on something smartphone related and found to her chagrin, no sale.

We’re not nearly as slow and ignorant as young people suspect.

And I could definitely take them in an arm wrestle.

Arm wrestling is like tug-of-war –
not nearly as much fun in real life.

I probably owe my parents an apology. I definitely owe them one over the movies. I remember recommending this film and that one as I moved through my twenties and thirties. Love stories, action-adventures, mysteries, science fiction – I’m a generalist save for slashers. I don’t watch those unless the adverts are liars (“Life” with Jake Gyllenhaal, I’m looking at you). They were rarely interested, however. I didn’t get it. How could they miss the chance to see such great shows? Plus, popcorn.

My son’s girlfriend suggests movies to me sometimes, as does my lovely thirty-something neighbour. I read the reviews and occasionally catch a trailer. But I’ve discovered why my parents weren’t all that interested in my suggestions from back in the day – when it comes to these movies and shows, I’ve already seen them, or variations thereof. I know how they’ll play out, and I know how they’ll end.

I don’t need to watch them to be bored, I’m there already.

Was the dialogue always that cringe?

I would’ve loved this at nineteen.

I suspect that’s why I’m more drawn to comedies of late – it doesn’t matter if you know the story if you get some feel-good laughs.

Hollywood et al aren’t nearly as creative as they’d like you to believe. That I know for sure. They’re too invested in the bottom line to make interesting or art, most of the time.

O’Jays, 1973

I learned something recently – don’t keep your cucumbers in the fridge, unless they’re cut up. In that case, cover them with a damp paper towel. They last longer – refresh the towel daily. And wring it out – you’re not making a pool. Tomatoes live on the counter too. I guess you can teach a middle-aged dog new tricks.

A little blue cheese dressing, and yum!

Don’t toss the milk, yogurt, meat, or canned goods if the “best before” date is posted. The dates are a little bit about quality control, but mostly about making sure you buy more stuff. That’s one of the problems of building a world around consumer capitalism – you need people to consume.

Ditto most medications, though check with a pharmacist if you’re nervous. Mostly, the efficacy starts to get less, so your pain pill may last two hours instead of four. Possibly. Or not. Money is the goal here too.

There is no world in which smoking is a good thing. Smoking sucks. You don’t look cool. You look like someone who’s playing with lung cancer. Plus, you smell. I know you don’t think so, but that’s because you’ve gone nose-blind. That smell lingers for hours, and the older it gets, the worse it gets. Washing your hands helps, as would smoking naked so it doesn’t get into your clothes.

At the end of the day, smoking is giving already rich people money in order to get wrinkles, dark spots, and diseases. I know my money could’ve been better spent. And although I now smell good, I’m aware that my lungs are an unhappy mess and my lip wrinkles are an aging-forever.

The best time to quit smoking was when you started, but the second-best time is now.

Used is fine. Stop buying into the cult of the new. Thrift. Reuse. Repurpose. Stop making rich people richer by buying crap you don’t need. You can’t buy happiness. I’ve gone into debt trying and all I succeeded in doing was proving Dr. Suess correct – “maybe [happiness], he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe [happiness], perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Dr. Suess

Take care of your teeth. You’ll miss them when they’re gone. Skipping the dentist is a false economy. And floss. Yes, it’s annoying, and yes, it makes a big difference.

And get the oil change. It’s not that much and your car will thank you by running better and lasting longer.

“In God we trust, all others pay cash.” Do you remember that sign? It was more common when paying by cheque was a thing. Debit cards do away with the need to trust one’s customers. The money’s there or it isn’t, and no one leaves with unpaid stuff unless they’re stealing.

Trust is also necessary in personal relationships. Take your time with it. Don’t blindly trust without reservations from the first moment. It’s tempting because we want and need connection, but trust needs to be built on solid ground. That takes learning about someone. It’s not instant.

Don’t steal. Don’t drive drunk. Don’t live a selfish life. Don’t risk arrest or jail, especially over something stupid. A record can make travel an impossibility.

Don’t hurt animals. Don’t hurt people.

Walk lightly on the earth.

Take only what you need.

Read. Read a lot, about everything. Read things you don’t agree with. Read things you dislike. Be a well-rounded person instead of deciding to stay scared and small. Talk about the things you’ve read and the ideas you have. Communication is our special skill – don’t let it slip away in a sea of soundbites and likes.

Be brave. Be fierce. The consequences are almost never as bad as you think they’ll be.

Stand up for what’s right even if it puts you in conflict with friends and family. Be true to who you are and who you want to be.

Give up justifications. Learn to say, “I’m sorry.” Learn to say, “I made a mistake.” We’re people, not PR first – give up on spin.

We get one shot at this life. Do your best. Let go of regret.

I should probably listen to myself more.

Brené Brown – I sprinkle her on everything.

header credit – me, via Canva


15 thoughts on “Wednesday Wisdom

  1. Aww these are great! I especially identified with the one about the younger folks. When I had a career, I used to be so annoyed with how they would be on the job for only a month before they had all the ideas on how to “improve” things without even fully understanding the process.

    Liked by 1 person

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