What I Learned From My Mother

As I reflect on the journey with my mother chronicled in "The Living Room," I recall everything she taught me--not jut in those eighty days, but throughout my forty-six years. I am going to share part of that list over the next few weeks. They are words that come back to me in so many situations, simple, yet profound. Sometimes it is the simple truths that are the most difficult to incorporate into our lives. So, this list is as much for me as it is for everyone else. Speaking of simple, I love this photo of her taken in the 1980s in a cafe on Rodeo Drive. The lighting, her lack of makeup, her smile...it is as if you are seeing right through to her soul.

(This will be updated as I add to the list each day!)

1) Be kind. 2) Plan well and then be flexible. 3) Laugh until it hurts. 4) Animal prints never go out of style. If they do wear them anyway. 5) Read everything. Always bring a book. 6) Be on time. There is no such thing as "fashionably late."

7) Give away what you don't need to someone who can use it.

8) Pay attention. You might miss something important.

9) Play music, light candles, buy fresh flowers.

10) If you wear tight pants always push in your pockets.

11) Tell people you love them whenever you get the chance.

12) Make holidays and birthdays meaningful, especially for children. You are writing their story.

13) Learn how to listen without interrupting.

14) Send handwritten thank you notes.

15) Avoid lines. Your time is valuable.

16) Eat the bread. Order dessert. Life is too short for weird food rules.

17) Compliment others often with sincerity. 18) Be polite. Be diplomatic, but know when to stand your ground. 19) Admit mistakes and then move on 20) Don't worry about what people think of you. Honestly, people don't spend that much time thinking about you.

21) Dance, dance, dance.

22) When it comes to appearance do the best with what you've got.

23) Have friends from many different worlds. Cherish them.

24) Visit the beach as often as you can. Marvel at its beauty.

25) Keep other people's secrets. Avoid having too many of your own.

26) If someone cuts you off in traffic, give them the sign, the PEACE sign.

27) Never shake with your left hand. Look people in the eye. 28) Triage. Everything on your list is not an emergency. 29) Change the way you react. It's the only thing you can truly control. 30) Salutations matter. So do please and thank you. 31) Sing, sing, sing. 32) Find your passion and pursue it relentlessly. 33) Don't raise expectations by starting things you don't intend to finish.

34) Collect people's stories. Everyone has a story.

35) Love your children fiercely.

36) Never pass up an opportunity to make a champagne toast.

37) Live your life with your arms, heart and mind wide open.

38) Worry and anger are exhausting. Let it go.

39) Life is theatre. Dress for it. The bolder the better.

40) Be generous with your resources, time and spirit.

41) Life is art. Appreciate the beauty all around you.

42) Find humor. It's everywhere.

43) Age only matters if you're wine or cheese.

44) Drink plenty of water and always know where the closest restroom is.

45) Forgive others. Forgive yourself.

46) Teach your children well and then let them make their own choices.

47) Smile even when you don't feel like it. It's contagious.

48) Know who you are and who you're not. Learn from hard times.

49) Acknowledge small moments of joy in every day.

50) Tomorrow is not promised. Live today.

#caringbridge #madelinesjourney #thelivingroom

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