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First of all, HOLY MOLY that was some insanity.  Thank you, Wizard of Freshly Pressed-dom, and your magical link power.  And thank you to everyone who stopped by, discussed, and subscribed!  Welcome to my weird rambling blog!  Put your feet up and stay a while.  🙂  (Also, Ella will have me know that now that she is totally internet famous, she doesn’t want to eat any of that organic sh*t anymore, and will be having the low-grade McKittyD’s that we feed the street cats.)

Woman, I said just bring me the Meow Mix and stop messing with that tree-hugger stuff

BUT ACTUALLY, this isn’t about Ella today (sorry, kitty).  This post will be about ethics and adulthood and nowaitdontrunitwontbethatbad.

Wednesday I had the honor of attending a fancy-pants lunch featuring a talk by Steve Ford.  Yes, that Steve Ford.  Not only is he former President Gerald Ford’s son, he also played Meg Ryan’s boyfriend in When Harry Met Sally!

Doncha remember?*

I know at least one of those points must impress you.

His speech was about character and ethics, and was peppered with some hilarious, fascinating, and insightful-as-hell stories from the Ford family’s time in the White House.  Truly, his family’s history is much more interesting than I realized, and he was a talented speaker

He concluded his talk by showing us a copy of a book his dad made for him and his siblings.  It was a simple little book made with love from a father for his children, and it was brilliant!  The President wrote half page essays on about 20 topics, ranging from How to be a Good Spouse to Learning How to Lose.

Mr. Ford admitted he was not very impressed when his dad gave him the book.  I guess what 21 year old would be?  He put it away and forgot about it, until 19 years ago, when he decided to face his alcoholism and fight for sobriety.  He said he read that book daily.  As he put it, “here I had a manual filled with life instructions to turn to when I was lost.”

How many times have I wished for a manual for life?! 

That's a start**

Don’t get me wrong.  My parents were amazing.  I could not have asked for or dreamed of a better upbringing.  I am spoiled.  Not necessarily by material things, but by love and education.  My mom and I are still very close and I know I can always count on both her and Mikee (my stepdad).  I had wonderful, loving grandparents and a dad who taught me so much.  I adore my siblings and nephews and niece.  I feel lucky just to know Eric.  I have had a wealth of knowledge and experience poured over me through the years.  I am very grateful for that.

But … who the heck said I could be an “adult” with a “career” and “relationships?”  I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING, PEOPLE!

Funniest effing explanation of the problem with growing up (courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half - go check her out!)***

Maybe … maybe I do.  Maybe I have it figured out as well as the next guy.  But, sometimes I would really love for some written, step-by-step, black-and-white, BASIC-LEVEL instructions.  Please.  And thank you.

Mr. Ford encouraged us all to make a similar book for our children or grandchildren – even the kid down the street who may need some guidance.  Well, I’m pretty sure Ella would just sit on any book I make her (why do cats do that?), and I don’t know any of the kids down the street.  I have always hoped to be a sort of role model, or at least support, to my niece and nephews.  But, I don’t feel qualified to write life instructions for anyone else at this point.

So – I think I might try writing some for myself.  A little gift from me to me.  (Or punishment, perhaps).  My hope is that simply the exercise of writing these lessons out might help me understand what I am doing  – or what I should be doing.  I haven’t decided all of the topics yet, but here are a few thoughts:

  • How to be a Good Partner
  • How to be a Good Friend
  • How to Win, and Lose, Graciously
  • The Importance of Giving to Others
  • The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself
  • How to Budget (ack!)
  • How to Set and Achieve Goals
  • How to Find Balance in Life
  • Proper Office and Professional Etiquette
  • Understanding Grief

That’s ten.  I need ten more, but honestly that list is already a little overwhelming.  So I think I will just start there.  I also plan to ask my mom and other influences in my life for their thoughts.  Maybe someday I will actually feel like I have things figured out enough to pass my wisdom down.

I mean, don't you think I should know better than to eat and drive, with a cat in my lap? (yeah, that's a burger - photo from my pre-flexitarian days)

I don’t know if I’m going to share these essays publicly.  I don’t want to censor myself, and am afraid I may do that if I know others will read it.  But … eh, maybe.  We’ll see.

So, what life instructions do you wish you had?  What wisdom would you pass onto others (or me, please!)?  What life lessons did your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, professors, or Mr. Rogers teach you?

*Source  **Source  ***Source