Seven Things I've Learned (mostly the hard way)

1)       You should probably not get a degree in the arts.  If you do decide to get one, go ahead and stop there.  You probably don’t need two.  I’m not saying that you don’t need to be trained to be a professional in the arts.  Generally you do.  I guess I’m saying that there’s a really slim chance you’ll have a sustainable professional career in the arts (no offense) and, if you do, it will be at the expense of a personal life – especially if you’re a woman.

OK, that’s a downer.

Look, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go for it but just, you know, have a sensible back-up plan.  A sensible one.  Get trained in something else.  Do it early.  Even if you never use it, there’s nothing wrong with the knowledge and experience you’ll gain while learning it.  But chances are you’re gonna need it.  A lot.

Except you.  You're gonna be a HUGE star on Broadway.

No.  I didn't just snort.

No I didn't.

Sorry.

 

2)    Whatever it is that you REALLY want to do, do it now.  You want to go somewhere or do something?  Do it.  It may never be affordable or convenient so don’t wait for that.  This is the only lesson on the list that I learned by doing it right.  This means that, no matter what comes next, I will always be able to tell you that I’ve been to the Anne Frank house and I’ve smoked hash in Amsterdam and was rather hilariously robbed in Galway and was threatened by a skinhead in, well, where do you think?  I got totally lost in the Swiss Alps.  And when I was in Budapest, an Iranian man pulled me into his hostel room, offered me Fanta, and asked me to be his third wife.  When I was in Japan, a Native American tribal dancer massaged my toes while I drank a drink that had the head of a poisonous snake at the bottom.   You’d be amazed how remembering stuff like that can pull you right out of the darkness.

 

3)   Don’t marry an artist.  Because don’t.

Because.  DON’T.

Seriously.

Don't.

 

4)      You cannot get your pre-baby body back without surgery.  I’m not talking about your weight.  I’m talking about ways in which your body will change and not completely return.  I’m looking at you in the eye and I'm leaning in conspiratorially and I’m saying it slowly and intensely so that you really get it and I’m hoping you’re kinda slowly nodding and maybe blushing a little and that’s OK because that way I know that you KNOW what I'm saying.

Here again, I’m not saying don’t do it.  I’m just saying, you know, knowledge is power.

 

5)      If something that is fixable gets broken, you have to fix it right away – as soon as you realize it - no excuses.  If it’s your car or your marriage or your body or your mind – whatever it is, you gotta fix it.  Because everything HAS to either get fixed or thrown away eventually and the problem is only getting worse.  And the price you will pay if you allow something fixable to become unfixable will be bigger than you could ever imagine as you sit around and wonder if you have the time or the energy or the guts to fix it now.  Got it?  For realz.

 

6)      Don’t yell at your kids.  You’ll feel horribly guilty as soon as you do.  Even when you’ve had a terrible day and you’re all alone with them and the walls are closing in and suddenly one of them semi-purposely sprays milk all over himself and the living room (this is a hypothetical, of course, because neither of my little darlings would ever hahahahahahahahaha…..yeah.)   It doesn’t matter.  It feels so big at the time but it is nothing.  It’s nothing.  Gloss over it and keep going.

 

7)      Be organized and save your receipts.*

 

*I kinda just threw that last one in because I had already written the title and I didn’t want to go back and change it and admit that after 43 years I only know 6 things.

Plus sometimes you might wanna return something.

 

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