I come from a seriously reproductively-challenged family. I was unable to have kids; I adopted my (now ex-) husband’s daughter shortly after our marriage. My mom had just two – pretty amazing for someone of Italian ancestry, but she had a terrible time getting and staying pregnant. My paternal grandmother had only one kid – my dad. My mom’s mom had a “bonus baby” very late in life, to add to her other three, but she was the anomaly in our family. The other females in my fam just weren’t fertile.
So I had only one kid to raise. Her dad and I were always working, and there never seemed to be much time to lay down any Rules of Life. We flew by the seat of our khakis (him) and pantyhose (me). Eventually, we divorced, time flew like the wind and now my daughter is in her thirties. And I’ve still never actually given her anything close to life rules.
In the event that she one day has a daughter of her own, I thought I’d rectify that.
I give you, Life Rules For My Granddaughter (and my daughter, if it’s not too late):
- Rethink that toe ring. Or thumb ring. (Eeeeew!)
- Don’t get tattooed. Yes, I know everyone has them, including your Granny, but it’s where no one can see it, she had her other one removed, and if she could have afforded it, she’d have had the first one removed, too. (It’s very expensive and time-consuming to remove a tattoo – far more than what you pay for one.)
- Try not to hate. Be tolerant! We are all different and have the right to be. Judge people only individually. Call out hate when you see it. There is a lot of ignorance in this world and it causes SO much hatred. Be the better (wo)man.
- Become educated and value education. This does not always mean a college degree, but it’s a good foundation. But realize it is VITAL to keep learning throughout your life. There is no such thing as useless knowledge. Maintain a curious mind and keep educating yourself.
- READ! Become literate. Learn to spell, learn proper grammar. Write if it moves you. The world had lost so much of this! Plus reading is a wonderful way to educate yourself, not to mention is just a lovely thing in and of itself. If I couldn’t read, I’d rather be dead. Seriously.
- Learn how to support yourself. Husbands come and go. Bills come and stay. God bless the child who’s got her own, baby.
- START SAVING FOR RETIREMENT WITH YOUR FIRST FULL-TIME PAYCHECK! I can’t stress this one enough, honey. I KNOW retirement seems like light-years away – and it is – but I’m tellin’ you, it’ll sneak up on you so fast your head will spin. People are living longer and longer. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money at first. It just has to be consistent. Ask any old fart their biggest regret and this will be in the Top 2, trust me. Outliving your money SUCKS! You don’t wanna have to be working at 65 or 70, unless you want to.
- Marry a man who really loves you – who has your back, is your partner in crime, your soul-mammal. If he ain’t – don’t walk down that aisle! It may take some time, but he’s out there somewhere. You’ll know, don’t worry. Listen to that little voice in your head. Marriage is always a crapshoot, so try and weed out the crap.
- Learn how to be comfortable living alone. Because even if you marry (once, twice, thrice!), it’s likely you’ll end up alone one day after they all croak. Not to be morbid, just realistic. But even if you live alone, you won’t be lonely, if you’ve got a few good friends, some family and a few good men to date. Just don’t fear being alone. There’s peace and solace in it.
- Trust your instincts. Again, really nothing more than paying heed to that feeling inside that’s telling you to be careful, slow down, be aware. My dad used to tell me and my brother every time we left the house to “Be aware!” Hone those instincts. The world is full of nuts and opportunists. Good people, too – but you’ve got to learn how to tell the difference. It if feels wrong, it IS. Escape!
- Embrace your beauty, your individual appearance. Don’t compare yourself to other women. As a sign once said in a London tube station, “Be yourself – everyone else is taken!” Always do what YOU want to, in terms of how you look. Dress as you wish, wear your hair as you want, pile on makeup, modestly apply or wear none. There is no “fashion” – there is only what you think looks good on YOU. (Have you ever seen your Granny in short hair? And you never will! Why – because I like it long-ish and always have.)
- Embrace and be the steward of your womanhood. Once you reach the age of consent, consent as you see fit, while of course protecting yourself, mentally and physically, including your reproductive health. I’m not recommending you be the town harlot, but sex is an important part of life if you so-choose. If you feel a man is worthy of you, and what you are doing is consentual – great! Just always remember to RESPECT YOURSELF, especially in sexual endeavors. Don’t EVER do anything that feels wrong, and don’t ever let anyone force you into anything. The creepy feelings the next day just aren’t worth it.
- Be brave. It gets easier the more you do it.
- Be kind. The world has more than enough bitches.
- Live outside of your own problems. That is, find a cause to work for or support that’s important to you. Give what you can afford, in time and/or money. Just understand there’s a big world out there with a shitload of problems that could use your help.
- Don’t say “I Can’t” – challenge yourself. Eleanor Roosevelt (Google her) said, “You must do the thing you think you cannnot do.” That’s why she was our greatest First Lady.
- I know it’s corny, but really try to see the glass as half-full, not half-empty. Practice positive thinking. People would SO rather be around an upbeat person than a mope. And remember, my darling – half of those people are men!
If I think of anything else, I’ll text you. Or mind-meld with you. Or however the hell we’ll be communicating in the future.
I sure hope we get to meet one day.
Love – Your Crazy Grandma Michelle
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