In the midst of some pretty big and mostly uncontrollable things happening in my life and in the lives of some of the people I love, I’ve been thinking lots about what’s important and what matters.
Of course, good health, great friends, lots of laughs, meaningful work – all of it is so, so important.
At times, though, overlooked and sometimes tucked in in-between those big things, you may find some very important other, maybe littler, things. More everyday, sometimes-quirky, always-important things that make us us.
What the heck am I talking about?
Things. Stuff. Habits. Ways of being, thinking and doing that are important. That are totally embedded in the fabric of us, of who we are. So important that we may even forget them because they’ve become almost commonplace for us.
For me, some of these things would be:
1. Water. I am freakin obsessed with water. Water cures, solves, enhances and fixes all. Water is to me what Windex is to the father in “My Big, Fat Greek Wedding.”
With my bff Elizabeth by her daughter’s hospital bedside day and night, I have tried to keep my Jewish mother-ness with her to a bare minimum. Despite the love and caring behind it, let’s face it: She doesn’t need my craziness or anxiety on her already-full plate right now.
So my big advice in the eat/sleep/rest/self-care department for her (and you, too!) has been this: “Promise me you will drink a ton of water.”
If my skin looks bad, more water.
If I’m tired, more water.
One of my kids complains of a headache, more water.
I’m over-hungry, more water.
Foggy brain, more water.
And even and especially when I feel thirsty, more water.
Bottom line: When in doubt, drink water. (Just be prepared for lots of peeing. TMI, I know, but I speak the truth.)
2. Help. I am SuperWoman. Maybe you are SuperWoman or SuperMan too. Together, we may make a great superhero duo.
Alone, we can do it all ourselves, too, right?
Well, sometimes, yea.
Other times, not so much. Because other times we need help. Support. Wind beneath our wings. Call it what you want, but we can’t all be islands forever.
Sometimes something has to give.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; in fact, just the opposite. Asking for help is all about strength and backbone and fortitude and, ultimately, loving ourselves as much as we love those around us.
Bottom line: Know how and when to ask for help. Period.
3. Laugh. Everything – every single thing – you think, see, hear, experience and live is fodder for humor. At least a chuckle, and maybe a stomach-hurting, pee-in-your-pants, face-hurts laugh if and when it’s real good (or real bad).
Sure, life brings us sad times, bad news, heartache and even tragedy. I’ve had my share, as I am sure you have too.
Stuff that permeated my entire life from childhood until today.
Stuff I have dealt with and that I still need to deal with.
Stuff that is heavy no matter how you slice it.
And, well, yes, stuff I can find ways to laugh at.
Sometimes really, really funny ways. Ways your refined side may tell you are way, way inappropriate. Ways I’d probably only share with my sister and one or two other people.
And yet, there is nothing that can’t, somehow and in some way, be funny. Nothing. Maybe it’s funny right there in the moment, and maybe it isn’t or can’t be funny until weeks, months or even years later.
But it is funny. Potentially hilarious.
Consider this equation if you will: Time + Tragedy = Humor.
Nothing ever beats a good belly laugh. Preferably with someone who will share it with you. And there is no shame, no disrespect, no breach of what is right in finding humor in absolutely everything, right down to the very worst things we hear, see or experience.
Bottom line: Laughing is never, never not okay.
4. Juice. These days, I’m all about recharging. My iPhone, my iPod, my laptop, my camera, my Flip video and, oh yea, myself as well.
Everything and everyone, eventually, must be plugged-in and recharged. At some point, it all runs out of gas, juice, power and energy.
Nothing, no one, is immune. Not. Even. You. And certainly not me.
I prefer to plan ahead and be all charged-up rather than finding myself sh*t-out-of-luck and with no plug (or means of recharging) in sight. Elizabeth and I talk a lot about choosing our hotels/trips/Starbucks/adventures based on plug and charging availability. It is kind of a joke but one with lots of truth mixed in.
Nothing has infinite energy. Nothing can go forever without the boost.
Bottom line: Respect the charge. Plan ahead for charging so you’re not ever left juiceless and without a plug in sight.
5. Love. I decided to include this as my last little-big life lesson. It is everything, really. And everything is nothing without it. I don’t mean this in an airy-fairy woo-woo way. I mean it, actually, in the most concrete, realistic way there is.
Without love, there is nothing. Love of yourself. Love of others. Without love, you are all about fear. You are indifferent, perhaps. Or maybe you don’t care, or you do care but you are paralyzed.
Without love, I say you might as well just pack it all in because you have nothing. NADA.
I don’t know what else I can say about this, perhaps the single most important thing, at once tangible and intangible, that exists for anyone anywhere. Maybe as The Beatles said, “All you need is love.” And maybe that is utter crap.
Either way, without it, things will suck. Guaranteed.
Bottom line: Choose love. I dare you.