People are always striving to be good. We are constantly told we could be better. Do you work hard, but not too hard, overshadowing your personal life? Do you give to charity, but not too much so as to look flashy? Are you close to your family? Is your relationship progressing well? You can always be thinner, better looking, more physically well and more emotionally balanced. I don’t actually know a single person who is thin, sporty, happy, a professional and does it all with eight babies and a handsome husband and yet the many, many glossy magazines that wink at us from shop shelves tell us they we can do it and not only that, we can do it in really nice lip gloss.
This piece was inspired by a post I saw on Twitter. If I had to write the rules I want to live my life by, these would be it. I shall explain them as I go. The idea of this exercise is that you read them to yourself, and hopefully follow them.
1. Be Nice
At times, you’re really not. You write many a piece and chide many a lady for spitting bile about other people but you know you do it yourself. Other people are just ridiculous at times, yes, but you know that everyone is entitled to their opinion, sense of style, political standing and point of view, yet if they don’t agree with you, you’re just going to shout at them until they do. Must work on this.
2. Don’t ever take anyone for granted
Now this bit, I know you really do try at. People can be gone in the tiniest blink of an eye, and you don’t want there to be nothing left but all the things you never said. I know you love your parents, friends, partner, Twitter buddies and colleagues, and you tell them so. They probably all think you’re mad, but you wouldn’t ever want to know that someone was gone and you never told them how much they meant.
3. You reap what you sow
If you try hard at work, you will be thanked for your efforts. If you tell your friends they can talk to you about anything they like and then not get upset when they call you at 3.00am sobbing like a baby, this is a good thing. If you never stop telling your parents how much you love them, you never need to feel like you’ve let them down. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing properly, and you will try harder to be less slap-dash.
4. You will never be ashamed of yourself
This one is a very hard one. You are a slob, you’re lazy, and you don’t exercise or eat right. But you can only like what you like. Do not chide yourself for spending all weekend sitting on the window ledge watching the world go by (you do this a lot.) Do not have a go at yourself for watching endless you tube videos of cats hiding in boxes when you “should” be writing. Too many people are ashamed of the time they spend doing nothing, but it is balm for the soul. Unplug that phone, turn off that TV, get in the bath and don’t speak to anyone for a week. It’s absolutely lovely.
5. Don’t moan about being a loner
You do get invited to places but you’re usually too lazy or too nervous to go. Stop whining- go and have a lovely time or stay at home by yourself, and be happy with whatever you decide.
6. A mistake is only a mistake if you learn nothing from it
Good sentence, I like that. Try this.
7. Let karma get people
Rather than spending hours plotting evil revenge. It isn’t healthy. The people who you think are happy because they got one over you probably aren’t. Let life give them back what they handed out, rather than cackling like a mad scientist in the light of a lamp and drawing pictures of them being blown up.
8. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all
You’ve a mouth on you for every occasion and unfortunately, it opens and goes before your brain has time to kick in. Try harder Sarah. Have a little think before you open your fat trap and offend everyone. Actually, while we are on the subject, talk less in general.
9. Take a compliment for a change
You need to stop arguing with everyone who says anything nice about you and just say “Thank you.”
10. There is no “should”
There is nothing that you “should” be doing rather than what you are doing. The people who make us happy are rarely the ones we think will- so if your taste in men is for muscle-bound, over six-foot hunks with a bank balance that could fell an elephant, and you’ve ended up with a four-foot unemployed bloke called Gary who wears a ginger wig and plays Warhammer, no one cares. If you’re happy, stop fussing and plotting and panicking, just be happy.
11. Don’t offer advice when it isn’t wanted
But do offer it when it is. Tread carefully.
12. Just accept yourself
Oh goodness me, you sound like a teen magazine. You are an overly large, orange haired, heavy footed, noisy, clumsy, podgy oaf and that is probably never going to change. In your head, you do think you will wake up one day casually looking like a film star and walking like you are guided by rails. It is probably time to accept this is never going to happen. Just be happy with what you’ve got. It could be ever so much worse and at the moment, it all functions.
13. Don’t give up easily
You do. Constantly. With everything. Must try harder.
14. Make one person smile at least once a day
I am sure you could manage this simply by strolling down the High Street. Maybe people can give you a wave if they see a large girl with hair like an orang-utan wearing a cardigan that Perez Hilton would reject as “too over the top.”
15. Some people will never change
So just leave them alone. I know you want to see the good in everyone but sometimes, it just isn’t there. Life’s tough kid. You live and learn. You know who you’ve got who is worth it, so just keep your faith in them and let the rest of it go.
16. Be grateful for what you do have
You’ve a roof over your heard and a warm place to rest your head. Some people don’t even have that.
17. Do what you know is right
This includes picking old ladies up off the floor when they face plant their shopping trolleys, listening to colleagues talk about things you couldn’t care any less about if you tried, remembering people’s birthdays, remembering when someone is having a rough time and asking after them, and swallowing your jealousy like a nasty pill and yelling “Congratulations!” when secretly you are thinking “I would like to set your hair on fire.”
18. Don’t stop learning
There is a plethora of knowledge out there. Go get it. Read, study, watch films, watch TV, listen to the radio, look up everything and praise be for IMDB. I know people say about you “It’s like living with Google!” but so what? You want to know everything about everything, so off you go.
19. Take your time
Why are you always rushing? Walk too fast, talk too fast, eat too fast. Relax for a change. Smell the roses, take your time, walk round the long way because it’s a lovely day and you could use the exercise. That’s better.
20. Stop picking at scabs, scars, moles, spots
This is just a really personal one. You know you do it so pack it in.
So those are mine. What would yours be? I would love to read them.
The picture in this post is by Philip Ferguson Jones. Isn’t it beautiful.