OK

Saying “It is going to be okay” ignores the fact that it is not currently okay. In fact it might suck a lot. Saying “It is going to be okay” ignores the present situation entirely. It glosses over the right now and tries to jump ahead to the good bit. It is the dessert at the end of the meal. Meanwhile you are chewing on this meal which is pretty hard to choke down.

It isn’t honest and it isn’t fair. What people really need is not to hear that it’s going to be okay. What they often need to hear is “I am so sorry that you are going through this” or “Tell me more about it.” or “I can’t imagine how hard this is for you.”

Now don’t confuse it with going into the “It could be worse” line. And don’t ever use the “It’s only…” or “At least it’s not…” openers. Certainly don’t start telling them how your situation is much worse. That doesn’t do any good, and in fact it makes things worse.

People just need to be heard and understood. You can’t rescue them from their pain. But you can certainly do a lot to not make it worse. Acknowledging the reality of their pain and letting them talk is a good start to helping them heal themselves.

Life Hacks

Consider this a public service announcement.

Toilets and gross personal stuff

Always live in a house that has two toilets. One will invariably break and it will invariably take a while for the plumber to come. Also, if you don’t live alone, it is also very common that two people will need to use the bathroom at the same time, especially after coming home from a trip.

Always make sure there is toilet paper in the stall before you need it. This is especially true when you are not at home.

Just go ahead and use the bathroom before you are leaving a place. You never know if there is going to be a traffic jam.

If female, place a towel under yourself while sleeping when you are having a period. I cannot believe it took me nearly 30 years to figure this one out.

Housekeeping

Whatever it is that you always wash together (towels, underwear and socks, jeans), sort them as you go by putting them in a separate bin. Don’t waste time every wash day digging them out of the pile.

Bananas are a real pain to separate when they start to get very ripe. Tear them apart from each other when you get them so you don’t end up with two that are “open” when you only wanted one.

Whatever it is that you use regularly, get an extra of it so you have it on hand when you need it. Nothing slows down a home-maintenance project like having to go to the hardware store. Sometimes it slows it down so much it doesn’t happen at all.

Only shop with a list. No list – everything is bought on impulse and you probably won’t pick up what you needed to get in the first place. Most smart phones have a list application. This is very handy – no paper to lose.

Take apart a bath puff to create a soft mesh container to hold and use all those tiny soap bits. This way you can use up every bit of a bar of soap. Just tie up the ends and you are good to go. This way it also exfoliates.

Money

Sometimes you need a check. Sometimes places won’t take a credit card and you won’t have enough
cash. Fold up a check and put it under your driver’s license. I have gone to restaurants that only took checks, and they didn’t post or mention this before I ate. I went to a doctor’s office that didn’t take cards and I didn’t have the cash for the copay. Worst situation – I went to buy a car and tried to pay for the down payment on a credit card (I wanted the points). No dice. Four hours of negotiating and paperwork for nothing – but I had one check. They took checks. Trust me on this one. Carry one check.

Always carry some cash. I have a 20, a 10, a 5 and some ones at all times, as well as some change. I normally use my credit card, but every now and then the credit card machine isn’t working. This is especially important when you need gas.

Pay your credit card off every week. Don’t accumulate a balance. The fees are exorbitant. Why should you pay extra for what you bought?

Get a credit card that gives you money back for using it. I make about $150 a year this way.

Relationships

This is not original, but I like it. Here are six things to tell your spouse in order to have a successful marriage – “You look great.” “Can I help?” “Lets’ eat out.” “I was wrong.” “I am sorry.” And of course – “I love you.”

Heard from our minister when we got married – “trouble shared halves it, joy shared doubles it.”

Never date a guy who drives badly with you in the car. If he doesn’t care about your safety, he doesn’t care about you.

When choosing a spouse, think of it as interviewing someone for a job. Don’t hire them if they aren’t willing to do the job you need them to do. Somebody has to cook, clean, mow the lawn, take care of the bills and deal with service techs. It doesn’t have to be divided along standard gender lines, but it does have to be done. Talk honestly beforehand about what you are willing to do and what you won’t do.

Some people will annoy you. They may not know that they are annoying. Tell them how you feel. If they continue their bad behavior towards you, then it is intentional. If it is intentional, it is abusive.

Just because someone is related to you doesn’t mean they have the right to be abusive. If they are abusive, they do not respect you as a person.

Avoid tedious people who don’t respect you. Especially if they are family.

Health

When sick with a head cold – drink a lot of water. OK, more than that. 8 glasses is the recommended amount, and almost nobody gets that. Drink a glass every half hour while you are awake. Water is water – not Coke, not coffee. Take an Echinacea tablet with every meal. Eat a spoonful of local honey every morning. Eat an orange every day.

Prevention is cheaper than cure. Eat real food, not processed. Get regular exercise. This is more than just moving around. That isn’t exercise – that is proving you aren’t a plant. You need to work hard at least thirty minutes every day.

Exercise – Find something you like to do. Dancing counts. Nobody said it had to be drudgery. I do water aerobics, walking, and yoga. If you like doing it, you’ll do it more often.

You get out what you put in. Give it your all. Don’t waste your time going through the motions. Really try hard when you exercise.

Don’t make up excuses. Just do it. You’ll be happy when you are through. Skip, and you’ll feel bad. Trust me. I’ve been there.

Get a coat that fits and use it. Don’t wear your coat unbuttoned and then complain that it is cold.

If your hands are cold, it means your core is cold. Instead of putting on a pair of gloves, put on a sweater.

If there are medicines that you take every day, get a small container and put three days’ worth in there and carry it with you. Emergencies are bad enough but they are worse if you are without essential medicine.

Wear a hat. Not a ball cap. Aside from looking stylish, you’ll have a warm, dry head. This alone leads to much happiness.

Other

Take leftover containers with you when visiting family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You know you’ll want to take some food home.

Find things that make you happy other than food. “Comfort food” can lead to a lot of problems if you need to be comforted with it a lot.

If you have to pick up or touch something questionable with your hand, use your non-dominant hand.

Travel

Pack a spare pair of shoes.

Bring a map, not just the GPS. “Lost satellite reception” translates to “lost.”