Thursday, July 3, 2014

Twelve Things We Know but May Sometimes Forget

  1. RSVP: The initials stand for the French phrase “Répondez, s'il vous plaît," which literally means, "reply please."   Whether we can OR cannot attend an event, when asked to RSVP, it is right and courteous to do so.  The host is counting on each invitee's response to aid in planning a pleasurable experience for self and guests. With the prevalence of Evite and social media event apps, this has become so much easier -with just a click of a button.  If you receive an old-fashioned paper and ink invitation, remember to RSVP… and within the allotted time. 
  2. Tip wait staff and others in service industries whether the service is good or less than stellar.  It is how the majority of them make their living here in the USA.  Don’t penalize them for a bad day, poor manners or being in a position for which they are ill-suited. (see #6)Just as we would never skip out on the check, let's not skip out on the tip. Reward above-the-call-of-duty service with more than the minimum.  Emily Post would be proud.
  3. Use turn signals as a matter of law, safety and public service.  A simple push up or down of the little stick on the steering column could drastically reduce the number of people who are irritated before they get to work, making them more capable of remembering to do the next thing on this list.
  4.  Make eye contact and say “Good morning” or “Hello” upon entering a space where there are other people, especially people that are seen every day like one's housemates, co-workers and neighbors.  It puts everyone in a good mood and usually brings about more positive interactions throughout the day.
  5. Say “Thank You” when someone holds the door open or demonstrates any other act of kindness and courtesy.  Also, saying please will usually get a lot more done and with much better attitudes.
  6. Everyone makes mistakes.  Most of the time, people are doing the best they can.  There is not a person one will meet who is not dealing with or thinking about something.  Grace is not just something to say over a meal.  It is a attitude extended when someone does something we would have done differently or better (at least in our opinion).
  7. Never say “Never!”.  If one lives long enough, it becomes more evident that it all eventually comes to pass if not in your life, in someone else’s. Kids make their own choices and sometimes those choices are mistakes.  Companies downsize.  Couples disagree.  Friends fight.  Feelings change... for better and for worse.  No life is bullet-proof. Nonetheless, every life can be really good and full especially if we keep an open mind and an open heart to what things may come.
  8. Listen when others are speaking.  We are all developing a permanent bend in our necks from staring at electronic devices even during conversations with people who matter.  Guilty as charged.  Listen to hear and understand, not to respond. Listen completely.  Listen with your whole body.  Listening well is a sure-fire way to bring connection and spur on relationships.  Maybe that's why we have two ears that do not close and one mouth that does.
  9. Be grateful for what you have.  The late Dale Carnegie would like to remind us all “Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is wanting what you get.” To get in the habit of practicing gratitude, write down at least three new things to be grateful for each day.
  10. Learn something new everyday.  Every person we interact with and every experience in which we find ourselves offers something for us to learn.  Be a good student of life.  There are no grades, but there are definitely rewards!
  11. There are very few real grown-ups.  Sorry if you didn’t already know this.  We are all making this thing up as we go.  Some people are just a little more confident in their experiments than others.  You might already know that even they are not as confident and sure of themselves as they may seem to you. Don't be insecure. "Comparison is the thief of joy.", said Teddy Roosevelt. We are doing just fine.  And if not, we will do it better as we know better. We are all trying to figure out this thing called life and how to live it well without breaking anything or anyone.
  12. The best of life is now.  The evidence is in the pictures we take, the books we read, the notes we scribble in our journals and the appointments in our calendars, the things we do for free and the people we spend our time with. Look at pictures from 10 years ago.  I bet the sweet memories will freely flow. "Today" will be 10 years ago before you know it.  It is the best of life- NOW.  A word of encouragement, however: I am learning that life is best enjoyed in real time, not only in photographs. So put the camera down and carpe diem!
  - Andrea


  1. These are great observations to live by. I especially love the quote "Comparison is the thief of joy" I am guilty of that pitfall, especially when it comes to those who have consistant financial stability. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.


    1. Thanks for responding, Barbara! These thoughts are definitely first for me. The idea for this writing piece came about when a friend received limited responses to her request to RSVP for a party she was throwing, and this after repeated reminders. I started wondering what are other things that we know but neglect to do or think about it our daily lives. I solicited some ideas from family and friends and voila! It was a great exercise in reflecting on our knowledge and making sure our actions match!