The Commerce Journal

Opinion

October 16, 2013

Harris: Listing a few things I’ve learned along the way

COMMERCE — I had a birthday relatively recently, and I decided to see if I could think of any things I might have learned in the past lots of years that I’ve lived.

The truth is, the list is shorter than I wish it might have been. Further, there’s probably nobody who will read this who will give a rat’s ear. My contemporaries will just nod and murmur, “Umm hmm. Been there. Done that.” Younger folks will just roll their eyes and hope they never get old enough to be that silly.

Still, for better or worse, here are a few things I have picked up along the way.

1. Nobody really cares WHY you did something; they only care that you did it. If they don’t like it, no matter that you did it for your sainted mother, you’re doomed. If they do like it, no matter that the devil made you do it, you’re gold.

2. One failure negates 50 successes. But one spectacular success wipes out all failures. It’s unfair, but that’s how it is.

3. If you have five good, true friends in your life, you’re way ahead of the game. Don’t let go of them.

4. Children are invaluable and worth anything you sacrifice for them — up to a point. Beyond the point, rethink it, or you’ll ruin the kid.

5. Romantic love is frequently overrated. Devoted love is frequently underrated.

6. Sorry, Barbra, but people who need people are not the luckiest people in the world. Needy people are a pain in the doofer.

7. Some people are not going to like you. Period. No point in losing sleep over it.

8. Ambrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary: Positive = Mistaken at the top of one’s voice.

9. Never suppress a generous impulse.

10. Grandchildren love you when nobody else does. Spoil the little boogers.

11. Senility is not limited to the very old. I know some senile 30-year-olds.

12. It’s almost a given that the person—student, employee, acquaintance—for whom you extend yourself the most, for whom you cut the most slack—that will be the first person to stab you in the back. Don’t give up on people because of them. I have seldom been sorry for a kind act; I’ve almost always been sorry for a mean-spirited one.

13. My grandfather used to say that people didn’t change for the worse as they got older; they just no longer cared enough to cover up their real selves. It makes sense to me. I was a cranky YOUNG woman, too.

14. Regret is the most wasted of emotions. Learn from your errors and move on. Waking up at 3 a.m. to pine over your mistakes only ruins your night.

15. The race may not be to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.

16. If you get a chance to tell a teacher that he/she made a difference in your life, DO IT. Teachers never hear that enough.

17. If you can afford it, and if you are not allergic, having a pet is a good idea. When you talk to yourself, you can pretend you’re talking to the dog.

Dr. June Harris is a retired A&M-Commerce professor. Her column appears monthly.

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