Okay folks, the party's over. Now gather round children, I'd like to share some wisdom about life. Sure call me trite, you won't be the first (but see if I care, I'm at "that age").
A Few Things That I've Learned or Remembered This Past Year:
That My Mother-in-law's not so bad (until the next crazy thing like telling my daughter it was all my fault that she didn't get to come to the Chanukah party and hear her play violin episode). Not true - I simply refused to beg her to come. She's not read my horoscope for the year which reminds everyone the stubborn streak a mile wide most cancerians are cursed with. Yo G, give the ole gal a break, she'd give up a day of her life if it meant spending this one with her grandkids.
Lesson: Respect your elders.
Bring my daughter shopping: While window shopping along Austin Street recently, a pair of sandals caught my eye. Tali and I went inside so that I might admire them up close, say on my feet. When the man got my size, Tali said to me, "They cost too much, I mean they're only sandals and you could get three pair for that price at Payless." The man just laughed and we got him to knock $10 off the price.
Lesson: Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
Who needs a personal trainer?: My son, Julian has an inner charger which keeps him on full strength. His enthusiasm is infectious though, so when he lures me into the backyard and I attempt the "lay on the lounge chair" move, he'll say "C'mon - chase me, Mommy!". Anyone with a pulse would not be able to resist that little tilt of his head. Besides, his running in place feet off the ground cartoon maneuver alone is worth the price of admission.
Lesson: Forget how tired you are.
Don't be afraid to purge: No, not that way, (although that can be freeing), but edit out old things that you don't really need. Truth is I had a fire in the apartment building I lived in, hereinafter referred to as "The Great Fire of '89". Lost a lot of personal effects. You think I learned to travel light? Nah. But, over the past year or so, I have begun to reassess what is worth buying/collecting/keeping. Keeping those impulses in check.
Lesson: Time is too precious to spend it dusting.
Go easy on those you love and even easier on those you don't: Let's face it - intimate relationships are work. Have I mentioned that I've sometimes been a shirker in this regard? Not yet? In due time. Sometimes the stresses and challenges of every day life can make you feel ready for a cage match with your partner (hint, smart money's on me). Give yourself space and perhaps a blog.
Lesson: Don't forget to say I love you and I am sorry (and not necessarily in that order).
Develop your sense of smell: You'll waste less time cleaning out your refrigerator and wasting time on situations that are not worth it. I try to explain this to my children, although it seems, as per usual, they are already wise beyond their years and often teach me in this regard.
Lesson: Listen to your inner voice.
Don't be a jellyfish: Whether you are Black, Jewish, a soldier, an American, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a woman, a man, a child, the garbage collector (ours' just retired and he was a good friend to Julian), Christian, whatever - be proud of who you are and don't be afraid to stand for what that is.
Lesson: Being popular is highly overrated (I think).
Get up off your tuchus: Being accountable is a very important quality. Mr. Scissorhands has taught me both sentiments in our life together. I am/was/a recovering procrastinator. This is the absolute worst quality in an individual and one that is unfortunately part of my genetic make-up (hey when the present day wasn't very promising, forestalling became a viable option). So much is missed by putting off as you often spend more time backpedaling. Lesson: Carpe diem baby! (Background music grows stronger to James Brown singing, "Get up offa that thang, dance and you'll feel better".)
Get more sleep: Lesson: see previous lesson.
Postscript: I love New York - where else can you start your weekend square dancing in front of Lincoln Center and end it listening to the fireworks in the distance celebrating the Italian World Cup victory (or maybe my birthday)?