Cherish your friends

Friday and Saturday of this past weekend were spent completely absorbed in the London lives of Dex and Emma, characters in David Nicholls’ “One Day.”

It’s the book the soon-to-be-released movie with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess (yum!) is based on. After seeing the trailer half a dozen times recently, I decided I needed to get the book from the library. And once I started it, I could not put it down. I finished it within 24 hours of beginning, and wanted to flip back to page one as soon as I read the last word.

Toward the end of the book, a lengthy passage stood out to me. A portion of it is below:

“Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”

So I have been focusing on doing one of those things in particular lately:

Cherish your friends

Over the past week or so, I was reminded of the true value of friendships in my life, and how much my friends really can control my moods and my perspectives on life. And I’ve realized that…

True friendship is:

  • The mood-lifting power of a text conversation with a best friend. Even when she’s in NOLA without you (I was invited, but I couldn’t swing it!), knowing she’s thinking of you when she sees certain things or hears certain songs is pretty cool.
  • Feeling instantly happy the moment you know that friend is back in the state, because you know it will only be a day or so before you see her and get to catch up.
  • Spending an hour-plus on the phone with your college roommate after not talking on the phone for over a month. Laughing and giggling make up about 50% of that time, and your smile feels natural for the first time in a while. When you go back downstairs, your mom says, “It’s nice to hear you laughing again.”
  • Going to an 11 o’clock showing of “Bad Teacher” on a Friday morning, because it’s cheaper and you just can’t wait to see Jason Segel aka Marshmallow and J-Tim. You catch up during the previews, you suffer through Cameron Diaz and a sub-par plot, and then marvel at why there were four under-15-year-old kids there with their parents.
  • Sharing your Old Navy Groupon because hey, you’re not finding anything, but she is. Go forth and spend, friend.
  • Meeting three friends for a picnic lunch on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Cheese, fruit, hummus, Sun Chips, chocolate wine and some neon-frosting birthday cupcakes led to full bellies, happy hearts and laughing until you cry. And lots of hugs.
  • Surprising one of those friends later that evening with a birthday dinner at her favorite sushi place with eight other friends. Sharing sushi, three separate birthday desserts, and singing “happy birthday” twice, drawing the attention of everyone in the restaurant, and laughing to the point of tears yet again.
  • Catching up with the newlyweds at their house, drinking champagne left over from the wedding, hearing about their honeymoon, and talking about everything from eye exams and contact lenses to speed dating and relationships with moody emus.
  • Having an impromptu dinner date with a long-time friend and laughing about things such as the musical chair semifinals set up in the restaurant and the awful playlist that would only be rounded out by Marvin Gaye.
  • Spending three hours at the library with a friend because, hey, let’s pretend we’re back in college, but really, let’s commiserate about being unemployed and help each other with résumés and cover letters and staying motivated. (And hope you both get the jobs you applied for!)
  • Telling friends your new career goals and greater life plan and getting a response of genuine enthusiasm and pride.

And last, but definitely not least, would be what happened on Tuesday night:

  • Getting a phone call from one of your best friends / roommates from college asking you to be a bridesmaid at her wedding next June. Feeling like your face is going to crack because you can’t stop smiling. Waiting for the other member of your trio to get the phone call so you two can celebrate. Bombarding facebook with statuses and comments and absurdities expressing your excitement. And it’s not about the “status” of being a bridesmaid. It’s not the formality. It’s not that at all. It’s just knowing that someone who means a heck of a lot to you (understatement) wants you by her side on the most important day of her life.

A friendship that started like this in our sophomore year dorm room...

...turned into one like this. The next wedding we're at together, she'll be wearing a white dress!! And I'll be wearing a color not yet decided haha

Friendship, man… pretty powerful stuff.

What does friendship mean to you??


The Self-Help Files: Quarterlife Crisis

It’s been a little while since I added a new installment to my Self-Help Files, but I’m back with one now! I’ve also added some others to the “to-read” list in this category (and some to the “absolutely do not read”), thanks in part to a Borders trip with two of my favorite ladies, Kristin and Alicia.

I went to Barnes & Noble with my mom the other day on a hunt for a specific book for my nephew, which we could not find. But of course we went to the bargain and publisher’s remainder tables for some cheap finds. There, I happened upon the ultimate in 20-something self-help:

Quarterlife Crisis by Alexandra Robbins & Abby Wilner

This is the book that literally (and I don’t use that word lightly) defined the quarterlife crisis, a term that we hear so often now. I was really excited about reading it and seeing what it had to offer, and I ended up reading it in just about two days.

I finished it this afternoon and rated it on my Goodreads as two stars. I wasn’t overly impressed. I guess my expectations were pretty high for it, but I felt underwhelmed regardless. I can certainly appreciate the value of the book at the time of its first publication, and for the sheer fact that it defined this period of immense change, transition and confusion for twenty-somethings.

That said, here are some of my issues with the book, as well as some of the things I enjoyed.

The Issue: It’s outdated.

There’s no other way to put it. The book was published in 2000. It was a pre-9/11 world. In the introduction, the authors talk about how “this generation” has no major world event to unite them. Whereas the baby boomers had Vietnam and the JFK assassination, “this generation” has nothing. The closest they could find to a major event that brought share grief and identified them together as a common group…was the death of Kurt Cobain.

If you didn’t know before when the book was published, it certainly was established in the introduction that it was “before our time.” Sept. 11 changed everything and is undoubtedly that event that bonded us as a generation.

I continued to find fault in this throughout the book. As the authors talked about the various twenty-somethings they interviewed for the book, they mentioned their graduation years from college, and most were between 1994 and 1998. When I graduated from elementary school.

Everyone was talking about their jobs in “computers” and communicating through E-mail with a capital E.

I found it hard to relate to these “characters” because of those facts, regardless of the fact that many of the things they were saying and experiencing were similar to what I am going through today.

The Redemption: The content is legit even 10 years later.

Regardless of this, I found myself nodding furiously within pages of beginning reading it. I couldn’t help but agree with everything the subjects and authors were saying about feeling overwhelmed with choices. About feeling pressure to make sure that you make the right decisions. About feeling like every little decision you make will alter your life forever.

They pointed out how older generations seem to think it’s such a blessing for us to have so many more options available to us. And it is. Absolutely. I am not (and they are not) saying that it’s not a great thing the way the world has evolved for us. But because of having so many options available, I know that I am not quite sure what the best path to take is. It was comforting to know that this feeling is legitimate.

One of the things that I agreed with most and put a bright pink post-it on was that twenty-somethings are constantly comparing themselves to their peers. On my post-it, I scribbled: “10x worse with Facebook!!!!”

True, yes? How often do you find yourself looking at Queenie McPopular from high school, wondering where she stands professionally or personally? How many times do you stumble across an freshman year classmate’s profile and think, “He’s engaged and works for Super Awesome Fabulous Amazing Company?!”?

I mean, through the wonders of stalking Facebook, I’ve discovered that numerous people from within my major have started their own companies. And become successful at it. And while I am happy they’ve been successful because they’re great people, part of me is boiling over with jealousy and wondering when the hell I’m gonna get my act together and be successful.

What these comparisons (both in 2000, or BF – Before Facebook – and today) leave out, is that you don’t know what’s going on these people’s minds. They could be (and likely are) struggling with the very same things.

The Message: We need to help each other.

That’s what I found to be the most redeeming quality of this book. The message that everyone out there is likely experiencing the same problems, but no one wants to talk about it. There’s a stigma associated with not know what you want or where you’re headed. I’ve definitely experienced this as I’ve made this new transition in my life. I’m still avoiding neighbors back at my parents’ house.

But if us twenty-somethings would just talk about these things with each other every once in a while, maybe there wouldn’t be a stigma associated with it. Maybe we would feel some comfort in knowing that there are other people like us out there. Maybe we would feel legitimized and be able to help each other out.

I think we’ve actually come a long way with that in the past ten years, specifically with the blogging community and the numerous options for self-help books available now. But a little face-to-face reassurance of it would be nice every once in a while, right?

So, if anyone wants to chat about their feelings associated with their own quarterlife crisis, let me know! And if you want to borrow the book, I can arrange that too. I’m glad to have a comparison between the “original” quarterlife book and the more recent ones. It’s worth the read, but why buy it when I already did?

All in the [Australian] Family

Last week over at the Go! Girl Guides, one of the Go! Girls, Rease, wrote about finding a family away from home while you’re traveling. Her post really resonated with me and couldn’t help but make me reminisce about the two Australian families I became a part of during my semester there. This has the potential to get lengthy, so I may just talk about the first in this one.

Family #1: The housing manager who opened up his home

The first day that I was on campus at Curtin, my friend Krysta and I were getting our orientation at Vickery House, where we would be living for the next five months. As the housing manager asked us where we were from and we told him Elon, he immediately said, “Oh, do you know Lisa Marie?”

It’s a small world after all

We determined that he was talking about my favorite sociology/women’s studies professor. She had actually told him beforehand that I was going to be at Curtin, but no one knew at that time that I would be living in his housing area. It turns out that he got to know Lisa when she was leading one of Elon’s winter term trips there years ago, and they’ve been in touch ever since.

From that day on, Krysta and I were in good standing with Paul. He immediately put us at ease about this experience that was more than a little bit daunting. Anything we needed, he would help us with. Anything he told the other Americans “no” about, he gave us a hearty “yes.” All of the staff in the office knew us by name and house number within a couple of days. He took us under his wing and it was only a matter of time before he extended an invitation to his home.

Amicable Aussies made us feel at home

The first time we went, Krysta and I took the bus to a main bus depot and then Paul picked us up with his precious little girl Savanna (6 years old) and their dog Bailey in the car. He took us to a nearby monument near Freo to watch the sunset for a bit and let Bailey roam around (or drag Savanna around).

One of the monuments at the park in Fremantle where Paul took us to watch the sunset.

When we got to the house, we got our first dose of Australian family life. Paul’s wife Deb greeted us with big hugs and lots of enthusiasm. Their son Sam (13 years old) was a little more subdued than Deb and Savanna were, and I can’t say I blamed him.

We started the evening out with some cheese, crackers and wine out at the picnic table. Little Savanna couldn’t wait to interrogate us about everything and was especially eager to give us a gift – pieces of red string that we were to wear around our ankles or wrists (we chose ankles) and not remove until all the color was gone from them. I want to say it had something to do with the Dalai Lama?? I can’t recall, it’s been a while. But it was a sweet gesture for such a young girl. We talked about Lisa, about how Krysta and I were getting along so far, and how we were always welcome in their home.

The power of a home-cooked meal

The food that night was phenomenal. I’m not sure if it was the actual quality of the food or just that it was the first real, home-cooked meal we’d had since leaving the States. There is something to be said for a real house, a real kitchen, and a meal prepared by a mom. We had our “family dinners” among our group of friends, but they were always just a smorgasbord of whatever was on sale and in our fridges that week. Nothing particularly gourmet and never really with that true home-made feel.

So when Deb presented us with a crazy-good chicken risotto, amazing potato bake, fresh vegetables, and I can’t even remember what else, we were thrilled. It smelled and tasted amazing. For dessert we had a pear tart a la mode. I still dream about that tart frequently.

When Paul drove us back to campus that night, insisting that it was far too late for us girls to be taking the bus back by ourselves, our hearts were as full as our stomachs. We had found a family to call our own for this time away from home, and here was Paul, who puts on this tough exterior in his job, playing a real father figure for us. We knew we would be back to see them again.

Round 2: The family was complete

The second time we went to dinner at Paul’s house, my housemate Fraser joined us (at Paul’s invitation). This time, it felt even more like a family affair.

When we got there, Bailey came running up with a wagging tail. Then again, so did Savanna. She clung to us and yanked us over to play Monopoly, Jr. with her. From our spots on the living room floor, we called in to Deb, who was hard at work in the kitchen. We offered our assistance, but she refused to let us help.

Ahhh Monopoly Jr. Classic.

So while she and Paul were putting the last touches on dinner, Krysta, Fraser and I played Monopoly, Jr. with Savanna and Sam. Sam was trying to keep Savanna from cheating, Fraser was getting frustrated at losing, and Krysta and I just kept laughing. It was like our little family was complete now with Fraser there. Krys and I had our big brother (even though I’m older than him by three weeks) as well as our little brother and sister. And of course our dog and Mom and Dad.

A great hangover cure: family and love

Deb outdid her last meal with this dinner. I’ve gotta say, it was a perfect hangover cure for those of us who had overindulged the night before. (Guilty.) And for dessert this time? The all-American apple pie a la mode.

After we helped clean up and do the dishes, we all settled down in the living room to watch their favorite Sunday night television – Grey’s Anatomy and Brother & Sisters. It turns out Krysta and I had a lot in common with them. As we joined their Sunday night routine, including tucking Savanna into bed, we truly became a part of the family. We were even given the task of muting the tv during the commercials, as they were accustomed to doing.

The place that brought me so many different versions of "home" and "family."

At the end of the night, it was much too late for Paul to drive us all the way back, so he called a cab for us. And insisted on giving us money for it. We protested ad nauseam, but finally he just slipped the money to Fraser and walked away saying “Good night, kids.”

When we got back to campus, Krysta went back to her flat to talk to her parents on Skype and Fraser and I went back to ours to chat with our housemates. I went from one of my families in Australia to another. And while I missed my family back in the States, I felt like I had really found my place there. Like I had found myself. And that family was a huge part of that.

Family then and forever

Sadly, we did not get back for another family dinner before leaving Oz. And I haven’t really talked to Paul and Deb and the kids since I left.

But I know that if I contact them if when I go back to Perth, I will absolutely be welcome in their house again. Once a family, always a family.

In fact, maybe I’ll contact them again soon just to catch up. I can’t wait to hear what antics Savanna’s gotten into in the past three years. And Sam should be getting ready to head off to uni in a just a couple years…crazy!

Not-so-great trips provide great stories (part two!)

If you haven’t already, be sure to go back and read about the first part of my not-so-great experience with the taxi company, and then question Kristin’s and my sanity when deciding to continue with our reservation for the ride back to the airport.

As a reminder, the theme for this post is:

“You’ll either have a great trip, or a great story about a trip.”

So, our trip was awesome. Like the definition of awesome. We didn’t want to leave our Gulf-view room or the pool bar or the grotto or the super-cheap margaritas or the talking pizza man… but we had been away from home for over a week thanks to back-to-back trips, and Kristin and I were definitely looking forward to our own beds.

On our last morning, we both had conference calls – mine before we checked out, hers as we would be riding to the airport. We waited outside the hotel for our ride and held our breath to see what atrocity would be our chariot this time.

Much to our delight, we ended up in a shiny, brand new, black town-car-esque vehicle with cushy leather seats and what seemed to be a competent driver.

Key words: “seemed to be.”

We’re cruising along. Kristin’s on her conference call. I’m texting friends who are bored at work.

I happen to glance up and see that the driver is going about 85 mph. Erm…well, OK. I mean, I’ve been guilty of it before, but not usually when I’m responsible for other people’s lives, and definitely not often.

And then a couple minutes later, I notice that he’s looking in his rear view mirror a lot and starting to slow down.

“I think this cop’s about to pull me over.”

Sure enough, a second later he’s pulling off to the side and when I look out the back window, there’s a cop car with flashing lights. Great.

So Kristin and I are sitting there basically having a conversation with our eyes only when the cop approaches. The driver looks at us in the rearview mirror and says he’s going to tell the cop that our flight is earlier than it actually is to see if he can get out of the ticket.

Real class act.

So the officer talks to our driver through the open window and tells him that not only was he going 85 in a 65 zone, it was also a work zone, with workers present.

Also known as reckless endangerment.

The driver gives his spiel about how we’re running late for our flight, blah blah blah. The officer says he understands, but he still needs to write him a ticket. The driver hands over his license and registration and then sits in the driver’s seat muttering to himself.

After a significant amount of time, the cop comes back and instead of continuing to the driver’s window, he knocks on Kristin’s rolled up window. She rolled it down and the cop said the following:

“Your driver here has an invalid license. And was speeding in a work zone.

I should be taking him to jail right now.

But since you ladies have a flight to catch, I’m gonna let him go.”

Cue Kristin frantically hanging up on her conference call and us looking at each other with looks saying, “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?”

The cop and the driver argue for a few more minutes and then suddenly we’re back on our way.

And as I look up at the speedometer, what do I see but 85 mph again. Some people never learn. Kristin and I are texting each other in the back seat about his speed and his weaving in and out of lanes. Just a few minutes later, we’re slowing down and he’s pulling over again.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I am convinced he’s getting pulled over again. Kristin and I turn around and see no cop behind us. We come to a complete stop on the shoulder and the driver sits there with his head in his hands.

“Um, excuse me, what’s the problem, sir?” we asked.

“I ran out of gas.”

No. No freaking way. This is just not possible.

Cue Kristin calling the company who sent the car and bitching them out. Cue the driver getting out, leaving the keys with us, and going to find help. Cue us calling the airport to get the name of another taxi company. Cue me calling Yellow Cab and trying to explain to them that no, I do not know where I am, but yes, I need a ride. No, I don’t know what highway I’m on, and no, I can’t see a road name, but yes, I can see the UTMB building. Cue receiving an automated call that my taxi has arrived, but not seeing it anywhere near. Cue us wondering if our driver has gone to the top of the medical building to fling himself off the roof to end his misery.

And finally, cue our knight in shining armor, in the form of a massive bright yellow pickup truck carrying our driver and a gas can. (Everything’s bigger in Texas, right?)

The driver puts gas in the tank and then takes us to the next gas station to fill up. He apologizes profusely for everything. He assures us we will not be paying for this ride, and that he will get us there in time for our flight.

(I had been informed by Southwest text that our flight had been delayed, but we did not inform him of this. We wanted to keep the fear alive.)

So we finally got to the airport. With time to spare for a meal at a delicious pizza place.

As we sat there, after a few minutes, we just looked at each other and started laughing hysterically. While we had been pissed off and scared and annoyed in the taxi, the humor of the situation finally hit us.

We were safe and our plans hadn’t been ruined, and finally we just laughed.

A great story for sure.

By the time we got back to Maryland, our entire office had heard the story because I had been texting a coworker to keep her updated – I wanted someone to know what was going on if we went missing. (But not Mom – didn’t want to freak her out. But she and Dad certainly enjoyed the story the next time I saw them and told them!)

That was definitely the most eventful cab ride of my life, and one I will never forget. Proof that even when a trip doesn’t go well, it can provide one hell of an epic story to share at the office, at happy hour, over dinner…and on your blog. 😉

What are some of your favorite trips-gone-bad stories?!

Not-so-great trips provide great stories (part one)

I was reading one of my favorite travel blogs, Adventures with Ben, today when an interesting sentence stood out to me. While Ben was talking about a trip he took to Junction City, Kansas, where not much occurred, he was reminded of this saying:

“You’ll either have a great trip, or a great story about a trip.”

This sentence definitely made me think of my one business trip to Galveston, TX last November. However, let me put in this disclaimer… that trip was, in the words of Barney Stinson, legen-wait for it-dary. Legendary. Beaches, $1.99 margaritas, amazing gumbo, historical buildings, four-star hotels, heated pools, pool bar, hot tubs, conference-sponsored parties… it was pretty phenomenal. (You can read more about how I learned to take advantage of work travel on this trip at the Go! Girl Guides!)

It was great for the entirety of the time I was actually on Galveston Island. (Well, except maybe for that morning when I was so horrifically hung over that I could barely see straight while manning our table at the conference. Luckily everyone else was in sessions and I could just put my head down on the table.)

It was the not-so-great rides to and from the island that were the “great story” parts of the trip. Definitely not great experiences with a transportation company I would never recommend to anyone.

“Oh, sure, this will all fit.”

I was arriving at Houston-Hobby airport with two of my coworkers and fellow conference presenters/attendees. We were the “early” arrivers and were responsible for bringing our table materials, which consisted of three large display panels, as well as bags and boxes of other materials and equipment. We had arranged our transportation ahead of time and informed them that we would have quite a bit of luggage and cargo.

While we were waiting outside the airport, we met another two people who were supposed to be getting a ride from the same company, and one of them had display materials as well. That meant there were five people, all of our luggage, and lots of display materials. We called the company just to confirm that there would indeed be room for all of us, and we were assured there would be.

And then the van arrived. And by “van,” I do not mean one of those 15-passenger van situations.

No. When I say “van,” I mean a Plymouth Voyager, almost identical to this:


Ohhh yeah, baby. High rollin.

The vehicle only had seats for four people. Including the driver. It was becoming increasingly clear to us customers that we were not all going to fit into this vehicle, but our driver insisted we would. OK, sir. Work your magic.

Kristin and I stood to the side while our coworker, who we affectionately refer to as Greggie B, insured that the three of us would not, under any circumstance, be booted out of this car. He got our cargo and luggage loaded into the van and that was that.

One of the additional passengers gave up and went huffing puffing (understandably) over to the taxi stand to get another cab to the Island.

We gave our newfound friend (actually from our home area and focused on the same topic) shotgun and Kristin, Greggie B and I learned to cuddle on a two-passenger seat. He had offered to sit on the floor, but we thought that was absurd (and illegal, probably). So I rode the almost-hour to the island with one butt check on the seat and my carryon bag on my lap, and GB was in the same situation on the other side.

We made it there safely, but the mixup about the size vehicle that was required should have been our first indication that we should change our transportation back to the airport at the end of the trip.

But as you will find out in the next post, we didn’t take that hint. Stay tuned… the second half is really and truly a great story.

Life Lessons from my 11-year-old Self

In my recent purging of things from my past and cleaning and reorganizing as I settle back into my parents’ house, I’ve definitely come across some interesting things. One of the boxes I had avoided before but had to deal with as I actually moved in was a box full of my yearbooks, from grade five all the way through my senior year at Elon. Twelve yearbooks.

I was most intrigued by the one from my final year of elementary school, and highly amused when a piece of looseleaf paper fell out of it.

At the top, I had written the following in my blossoming cursive (I am one of those rare people who still writes in cursive) handwriting:

Elmwood has prepared me for the future by…

I couldn’t wait to read what insights I had about how elementary school had taught me about how to deal with the “real world” at that time. I came to find out that some of it was still pretty true.

Now I bring to you the essay, with my commentary in italics.

Little Lindsay on… sportsmanship.

Elmwood has prepared me for the future in many ways. (Great introductory sentence. I learned paragraph structure, apparently.) I have learned that you have to play by the rules of a game and have good sportsmanship. (I always loved sports.) You also have to try your best at everything you do. (Word.) In a game of kickball (my freaking gospel in elementary school), I learned that when someone gets out, you should say, “Nice try. You’ll do it next time.” (Pretty sure I never actually said that. I was a competitive little bia.) In another kickball game, I learned not to laugh at people when they kick it foul.

Little Lindsay on… people and friendship.

I have learned that all people make mistakes. (Preach, little me.) I found out some important information the hard way. I had sprained my ankle and hurt it again at kickball. (I told you I was a walking disaster.) Everyone tried to help me. That’s when I learned that my friends would always stand by me and help me. Two of my best friends acted as crutches to get me to the nurse. (Shoutout to Julie, because I’m pretty sure you were one of them!)

Little Lindsay on… being a child genius?

Some other information was easier to learn. (God, I loved topic sentences.) Basic facts in math, spelling, language and other subjects. (Apparently I was a child genius in academics, but the other basic life skills were a little more difficult to grasp.)

Little Lindsay on… taking pity on others?

I also learned things just by working with other people. I learned to try to work with everybody and help them. (Because I was so superior…clearly.) I also learned that you have to be patient with others. (Because they’re imbeciles and are wasting my time.)

Little Lindsay on… the REALLY important issues.

You also learn things for the future in specials. (Get ready for these gems…) In physical education, you learn to be on the opposite team of your friends. (Profound, little Linds. Although I must say, it’s an important life skill to this day.) You also learn teamwork in physical education.

In art class you learn how to be creative with your work. (Heyyy, liberal arts education!) I’ve also learned to listen to the teacher and not my friends. (I have no idea what that one is about.)

In library you learn how to find books and you learn about the Dewey Decimal System. (Yes. Because I use the Dewey Decimal System daily. And I now use the Internetz to find my books. I did love library though…)

In music we have learned to breath from deep down instead of right at the top. (My musical career did not progress much further than this lesson. I suppose those breathing techniques are useful for other things like yoga, which I don’t practice…)

In computer lab we learned that the internet is very slow. (Ohhhh, 1998… if only I knew what wonders lay ahead!)

Sadly, page two is missing.

So, let’s recap here.

  1. I learned all my most important life lessons while playing kickball.
  2. I really grasped the concept of paragraph and essay structure fairly well.
  3. I was a little bit elitist and snobby.
  4. The Dewey Decimal System is fairly irrelevant.
  5. Deep breathing and the Internet were some of the things that helped me prepare for the future.

Really, I’m not sure what to make out of most of this. A couple of the things were fairly wise for an 11-year-old. About relationships with other people. Lessons that I continued to learn, and am still learning today. But I think I definitely forgot some of the most important lessons, such as… to appropriately dress for a sock hop in your school gym. to look supremely awesome hand jiving with your best friend.

...that wearing your pajamas, pigtails and a pacifier and carrying around a stuffed animal is about as creative on Halloween as the slutty nurse is now.

...that you never EVER take pictures while you're eating, because you look like a pig.

...and perhaps most importantly, that you do not wear cartoon characters on your shirt. Yes, that is Angelica from the Rugrats (and Julie's wearing Pooh and friends.)

Oh well, lessons learned!

What are some of the lessons you learned as a kid that have stuck with you?