These are my lessons I would highly recommend you learn the hard way:
- The value of a dollar: I've worked my ass off my entire life. That doesn't mean I haven't slacked off. Everyone needs to slack off here and there. The more you slack off, the lazier you become. The lazier you become, the less you shower. The less you shower, the less people want to hang out with you. Back the value of a dollar, though... work for it. Establish a work ethic. Be someone an employer wants to hire - not laugh about when you leave the interview.
- Geography 101: Yeah, yeah, yeah... I thought I was applying for a job in Arkansas because I messed up the whole AR/AK abbreviation thing. A common mishap - could have happened to anyone. BUT, not everyone takes the job in Alaska after thinking they were applying to Arkansas. That takes a very brave individual. Or, a stupid individual. However you look at it, that mistake played an important role in the development of Melissa. As long as I'm talking about geography - quit buying GPS gadgets. You're missing out on the thrill of getting lost. Seriously - if I had a GPS, I would not have discovered that taking a wrong turn off of Hwy. J in Wausau could land you in Birnamwood. Or, that missing an exit could take you 2 hours out of the way. Had I taken the exit, my sister Colleen and I wouldn't have had our quality bonding time extended two additional hours.
- How well you work under pressure: There really is no other way to learn this lesson. Put off a research paper until the night before it's due. Be the first to arrive on the scene of an accident. Be a restaurant server on Valentine's Day.
- English is not a universal language: I encourage you to go some place where you can't communicate with anyone. Learn another way of life. Expand your horizons. Miss your exit on a city bus in Cancun at 11:00 PM and see where you end up. Better yet - go to Cancun without hotel reservations and let the cab driver find you a place to stay. Even if you don't believe in God, you just might find yourself talking to Him.
- The Luxury of Having a Travel Agent: I recently realized I am getting old. Back in my Alaska days, I used to book my own flights home for holidays. One particular flight started in Ketchikan, Alaska. From there I flew to Seattle. After Seattle, I went to Oakland, CA. From Oakland, CA, I went to Boise, Idaho. After Boise, I was supposed to go to Denver. Luckily, I flew standby and was able to skip Denver and go right from Boise to Chicago. From Chicago, I finally made it to Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee. That little 6 city tour took 27 hours and cost close to $1,000. It was round-trip, so I did get to do the whole thing in reverse. Lost luggage both there and back, as well. While a travel agent cannot guarantee no lost luggage, they can certainly make the trip a little less daunting.
- Broken Bones: When someone is spinning you around by the arms, use your words wisely. Saying "drop me" just might result in a severely broken collar bone.
- Are you cut out for med school? Med school is not for everyone. If you're thinking about it, think about it hard. Take a chemistry class and see how that goes for you. If you're still thinking about it, do a YouTube search for a live autopsy. If you're like me, you'll be passed out cold on the office floor before the Y-cut is even complete. When you come to, you'll look into other professions. If you can handle the autopsy, the chemistry, the physics, the anatomy & physiology, the $150,000+ tuition bill, and the gazillion years for college - you're ready for med school.
- Use Craigslist with Caution: Craigslist is one of my favorite places on the Internet. I have booked tons of photography gigs through Craigslist, booked tons of music gigs, bought a beautiful rocking chair for $15, found a set of ice cream parlor chairs that I refinished and could sell for over triple what I paid for them (but I won't because they are awesome). I've found camera accessories, cars, roommates, and apartments. I also ended up doing a ride-share to Missouri with two lesbians - one had antlers tattooed across her chest and wore a coonskin cap - complete with tail. Luckily, so far none of my Craigslist encounters have been featured on Dateline, 20/20, or some other news program that talks about people being robbed, beaten, raped, or murdered because of Craigslist. Go with your gut when it comes to these things.
- Texting While Driving is DUMB: Don't do it. If I see you texting and driving, you're going to see my middle finger. Unfortunately, you're not going to notice my middle finger because the odds are - you won't be paying attention. Just like you'll miss the stop light, the semi, the school bus, or whatever else that seems less important than whatever you're texting...
Other things to ponder...
- When they say no water in your water bottle when going through airport security - they mean no water in your water bottle.
- There are some things in life worth losing a night's sleep over. A grade point average is not one of them.
- About 95.6% of the things I have stressed over turned out to be not-so-bad.
- "If you're going to make a mistake, make it loud enough for all to hear." - An orchestra conductor at a workshop I went to in middle school.
- There's no use crying over spilled milk... but ask my sister, Shannon, about 8 gallons of paint.
That is all for now. I may have to make a "part 2" of this post. Let me keep thinking...