I wrote this at Writerscafe.org a while back-around the time Little Joe was born! It is kinda cheatin', but I can copy and paste with the best of them!
We all learn things as we journey through life. Being a little past the midpoint of mine, there are some things that I want to share. I have no credentials, no expertise beyond what anyone else has, so take these things for what they're worth. These are a few things I would tell my children...if they ever cared to listen!
1. Money Matters. I know there are people out there saying that it doesn't, but it does. Having money makes things easier. When you can live day to day without worrying how to pay the mortgage, fix the car or pay for dinner, its easier. It opens the world to you, allows you to enjoy life, travel, eat well and do all the things you enjoy. There is no nobility in poverty regardless of what the monks tell you.
2. Money isn't everything. Don't define yourself by the size of your bank account, house you live in, car you drive or who's fashions you wear. Those material things that people obsess over never truly improve your life, they just become shackles that restrain your creative and spiritual side. If you spend your life collecting the latest and greatest stuff, you will never be happy. They just keep making more of it.
3. Everything in moderation. Eating, drinking, smoking and sex are all okay, as long as you don't go overboard. Having a delicious meal is great-being a glutton will kill you young. Drinking is good for the soul-drunkeness will ruin your life. If you enjoy an occasional cigar, cigarette or pipe from time to time that's fine-the Surgeon General can tell you what 2-3 packs a day will do to you.There are few things more fulfilling than a great sex life-frequently jumping into bed with various random strangers cheapens you.
4. Always be reading something. Have a book that you are reading at all times. Fiction or non-fiction doesn't matter. If you read a book a day or it takes you two months to finish doesn't matter, just have something that you pick up and read. Reading is very different from watching a movie. In a movie you are seeing and experiencing the story as the director sees it. When you read, you create your own pictures. It's exercise for your mind.
5. Take a walk. No, this is not the exercise portion of this treatise. Just put on some comfortable shoes and walk through the city, countryside, your neighborhood or along the beach. Look and listen at life around you. Let your mind wander. This is even better when holding hands with someone you care about.
6. Spirituality is divine inspiration, religion is man made. I'm not telling you what to believe in and my children can attest to that. I apologize to all the hard core church goers out there, but religion is at best a poor attempt to explain a force that is unexplainable and at its worst a means to control a group of people. Be cautious when trusting proclamations made from the pulpit, they often spring from ulterior motivation. Don't be afraid to think for yourself, you are just as qualified as they are.
7. There are more things worth dying for than there are things worth killing for. Wouldn't it be a better world if everyone understood that? Seems simple to me but if you watch the nightly news, you'll see that it is becoming more and more difficult for people to grasp.
8. Work. Work is good for the soul. Accomplish something. It matters less what it is than that you do it well.
9. Play. Play is good for the soul. Have some fun. It matters less what it is than that you enjoy playing it.
10. Laugh. Laughter is good for the soul. Find things funny. It matters less what makes you laugh than that you find humor in life.
11. Love. Love is good for the soul. Spend time with someone you love. It matters less who it is than that you allow yourself to truly love them.
12. Live. Everybody says this, but what does it mean? Life isn't the big moments, the great vacations, the big house or the expensive car. Life is all the little moments strung together. The small joke with a friend or co-worker. The movie that made you laugh or cry. Telling that special someone something significant about your day. The night out with friends. Time spent alone in contemplation. If you only live for the big things, most of your life will be wasted.
This is my list, not of the most important things but of things to consider. All of us make our lives what they will be and you may not agree with me on any of this. That's okay with me. Hmmm...maybe that's #13.....