Lessons from life
During my long life, I have learned that what people say and what they
do are often light years apart. As a result, I have learned to place
more credence in what people do than in what they say. I have learned
we cannot center around anything. We can center on and revolve around.
I have learned a great deal about language usage, for language is our
I’ve learned that egotistical people have a positive trait. They don’t
gossip about others because they talk mostly about themselves. I’ve
learned to judge people by how they treat those whose names are under
them on the organizational chart. I’ve learned that most of what I’ve
worried about in life has not come to pass. I know my friends will not
get excited about my small victories, nor will they have sleepless
nights because of my failures. I’ve learned there can be a wide chasm
between reputation and character. I’ve learned that people who mangle
the language can be quite brilliant in other fields, so when we become
linguistic snobs, we tend to display our own ignorance about humans
and their complexities.
My mother could size up a person’s character within the first ten
minutes after meeting the person. I could not and still cannot, but I
can conjugate any verb and talk about dangling modifiers and split
infinitives until my listeners go to sleep. My mother could not, but
her skills were far more valuable than mine. I've learned then that we
should not judge people because they use double negatives.
I’ve learned that old age is partly attitude, for I know 40-year-olds
who fret about aging and 90-year-olds who are still filled with
enthusiasm. I’ve learned no one should ask a woman how old she is.
When she’s really old, she’ll brag about her age. My mother taught me
that because whenever we were near strangers, she would tell them how
old she was. This began when she reached 80. She lived to be 92.
Some people have lots of money. I think of them as wealthy. People who
enjoy good health, good friends, enough money to meet their needs, and
a home filled with love are rich. Life has taught me that being rich
is better than being wealthy. Life has also taught me that envy is a
terrible human trait because it hides behind an insincere smile and a
I’ve learned I should enter my kitchen only when I want a drink of
water or when I’m simply passing through to get to the exit door.
After all, that's what we're doing every day, just passing through
life to get to the exit door. I’ve learned that journalists leave a
space around the dash, but English majors and book editors do not.
I’ve learned that it’s no wonder most people dislike language rules,
otherwise known as grammar.
Freddie Flealoader was a mixed-breed dog we rescued. He grew old and
had a mild stroke that resulted in a drooping mouth and smaller right
eye. With the vet’s help, though, he recovered. Freddie did not know
he was old, or if he did, he didn't dwell on it. When he went for
walks, he became fascinated with something as small as a blade of
grass or a butterfly. While Freddie spent his waking hours living in
the present, he sometimes dreamed of his lime-green world when he was
young and ran through the woods with Copper, our daughter’s hound who
died about a year before Freddie. I knew Freddie was dreaming of his
youth because when he slept, his legs moved as if he were running, and
I knew he was recalling a past that he would not give a thought to
when he awakened. I learned from Freddie to remember the past, but to
live in the present. Still, despite all these lessons, I know how
little I know.