Lessons I Learned From My Grandma

  1. It is healthy to poop at least once every day.
  2. If you drink water in sips, you will not have to pee.
  3. Always stir flour in with the mix before mixing in the mixer; otherwise flour will get flung all around the kitchen.
  4. When you are frustrated with your husband, call him a sleazebag–even though you have no idea what that means or where you got that word.
  5. Your riding boots should be somewhat roomy because feet swell in heat.
  6. It is possible to get sunburned through your jeans.
  7. Something even more sentimental than a greeting card is a handmade greeting card.
  8. Experiences are worth more than gifts.
  9. Get rid of your first pair of shoes and weight set you no longer use because your grandchildren will not want them. (Do not be a pack rat.)
  10. History is important because it defines the world today.
  11. Do not stop trying something new.
  12. You are never too old to ride a horse or ski down a mountain.
  13. Keep in touch with friends you make at all points of your life because relationships are important.
  14. Do not point out the obvious–it is annoying.
  15. The elderly tend to interpret play fighting as real fighting.
  16. Do not keep used tissues in your pockets–it is disgusting.
  17. If you physically can, exercise every day.
  18. Describing every detail of an event to someone will put him/her to sleep.
  19. Know your limits and do not ignore them.
  20. Do not stop living life until you no longer can.

The Best Advice I Have Ever Been Given

“Choose none of them.”

I stood there, awestruck. Never in my life had I thought that choosing not to choose was an option. Maybe it was bad advice. After all, it was from a stranger whom does not have the acumen necessary to properly analyze my sticky situation. On the other hand, maybe I should listen anyway. After all, choosing them has not worked so far.

The little voice in my head stayed silent in this moment. Thank Satan it did.

I spent my childhood angry and in acrimony yet confused and sensitive. I longed for attention, specifically from my family. Instead, I received attention from the friends I never wanted. We–my clique–had so many problems that my sixth grade teacher arranged for us all to attend a counseling session every single day at lunch, together, and we were banned from playing Truth or Dare.  Apocryphal and restless, I felt trapped.  

Fast forward to middle school. On a sunny day with a blue sky, everything was peaches and cream until only one girl from my friend group showed up to our lunch spot. My intuition drove me solo around the campus, where I found it to be spot on. My friends split into groups of two and integrated themselves into new cliques–and all because of the one girl in our group that sat with me! I felt relieved I was not the one they decided they hated today; however, all relief went out the window as each pair told me I was to choose between all of them.

I was terrified. I wanted to please everyone, but this time it was impossible. In the end, it was the hated girl’s friend who I had never met before, who enlightened me.

Who should I choose?

“Choose none of them,” she suggested.

So I did. Not long before, I met a girl named Claudia Book through a mutual friend. I did not know her well, but had confided in her with my friend troubles in which she responded by offering her friend group to me as an alternative. Albeit I appreciated her offer, I never thought I would take her up on it.

Joining Claudia’s circle was weird…I only knew her out of the ten girls there and I did not know what to do with myself without the usual animalistic chaos. Regardless, every single person welcomed me. I gazed at their backs, a mighty fortress, lined up one-by-one, against the blue lockers as I faced them every day. It took months, but, eventually, I sat there with them.

Though I liked all of them, Claudia was my favorite. Of course I appreciated her humanity, but the real reason was because I envied her. She was happy, confident, beautiful, funny. There was something intriguing and charismatic about her. She would make stupid noises like a child one second, then provide me with adult advice the next.

Regardless of my drooling and her perfection, I never wanted to be her. I wanted to embody her, in my own way. As terrible as this sounds, Claudia pushed me to be the person I am today–I would complain about something that was worrying me and she would ask, “how does it have anything to do with you?”; I would ask her if I should buy that pink blouse with Cherry Blossoms on it and the cool cutout in the back, and she would demand I do it so as to explore and mature my style–and I could not be more grateful.

As much as I love to gush about all the useful advice Claudia has given me, it was not really her advice that transformed me. In fact, it was her beautiful aura. Watching her laugh, inform, obsess, opinionate, walk, talk, write, work, anger, question, live, I learned how to be myself. I found the things I liked in her and made them my own. Talk about visual learning–jeez!

Today, I annoy all my close friends with the story of how Claudia changed me for the better. She once embodied everything I wanted to be, and all it took was her presence to abrogate my anger. Whenever I start to lose myself, I think of the stability she projected out into space, and know I can regain mine. By choosing Claudia Book that day in middle school, I opened myself up to a world of possibilities. So, when life hands you a ‘book,’ open it.

I titled this post before writing anything down on this page. Some days later, in my english class, my teacher had us model a paper after https://www.magzter.com/article/Fashion/ELLE/This-Dress-Will-Change-Everything and fill in the title as ‘This ______ Will Change Everything.’ I filled in the blank with the word ‘girl.’ Originally, I was going to write this post in my straight-forward, pedestrian way and focus more on the advice than on my best friend; but, the significance of this story is me meeting my best friend and improving myself–even though I always refer to this story for the best advice I have ever been given–and I think this paper embodies that. What is the best advice you have ever been given and how has it affected you? Thank you for your time!

Thinking by Walter D. Wintle

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win but think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out in the world we’ll find
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are:
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.