Friday, October 19, 2007

The Rules

My buddy Jim 'called me out' in his blog last month to put up my 'rules' - those axioms which govern the way I do what I do. Sorry, Jim, that it took me awhile to get to them (hey - when Mike can get to them before I do, then we know something is up, right? LOL). So, without further ado, my rules:

Do Unto Others...
The Golden Rule is still one of the best. That's why it's 'the Golden Rule'. Treat others how you wish to be treated. Most of the time it works. However, once in awhile you find those people that it doesn't - and they're usually so lost in themselves that they can't see the forest for the trees. Those are the folks you need to either go for more extreme intervention OR get out of your life. Bad vibes will totally mess up your own.

Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow...
...what you could have done yesterday. I have a tween. He doesn't like to do homework. He'd rather listen to music on his iPod or play video games. But the lesson he is having to learn now that he's in junior high is that you are given advance notice on assignments for a reason. Use the time and plan accordingly. It is a lot easier to start a task early - one you know you have to get done - and get as much of it out of the way so you can relax later and not feel the stress. In school (all the way through college), I was the type to work on papers and projects early. I started studying for tests well in advance, so everything had time to sink in properly. My grades reflected that kind of work, which in turn helped me get a good job later in life. People also remember when you get things done on time or early. That shows you're reliable and thinking of the big picture. Even more so, they remember when you're late and cause chaos because of it. Of course, there are always circumstances outside your control - and those are usually okay when it comes to missing deadlines. But things in your control are in your control. So, control them.

Family First
I grew up with a lot of extended family around (my mom's parents, her sister and husband and their three daughters). We spent a lot of time together as a whole family - birthdays, holidays, vacation, even just hanging out watching TV. That instilled in me an importance of family and making time to do things with them. Even after moving away and starting a family of my own, that still comes into play. In our house, we always try to eat dinner as a family so we can talk about our days. We make time for my son to spend time with both sets of grandparents. We try to work holidays around who is coming or going where. If family is in the area from up north, we try to arrange time - even for just the afternoon - to get there and visit. Can this come in the way of things? Sure. In 2006, my wife and son and I took our family vacation to San Diego. It was centered around the Comic-Con so I could take my son to the show. Did I want to hang out and spend more time with my buddies? Of course! But it was a 'family' vacation and that meant spending time as a family all together - for meals, doing some site-seeing together, etc. As much as a value my time chilling with the guys, family just comes first. It won't be too much longer until my son is ready to go off to college, and then my wife and I will find our house a little bit emptier.

Keep It Civil
In his blog yesterday, Mike said one of his rules involved off-limits topics (sex, politics, religion, etc.). Now, I agree that these things can be hot-topics and spark a lot of debate very quickly. I think debate is okay. The key is keeping it civil. A group of adults can have an intelligent, engaging dialogue about these things. But, when the voice levels raise to yelling or (in the case of sex) the language drops way down into the gutter, then I'm going to tune out faster than that distant FM radio station your car will no longer pick up. I don't need all that negativity in my life so I'd rather not spend a lot of time dwelling in that area. Keep it civil and we can talk. If not, excuse me while I walk.

Widescreen Only
In the past five or so years, I have come to appreciate the joys of widescreen viewing. Having a widescreen television certainly helps in that. TV or movies, it doesn't matter. Once you've been to the promised land, there is no going back. So, don't give me that full-screen or pan-scan version. It has to be widescreen or nothing else, especially when getting me a DVD as a gift. The directors and producers wanted me to have the full experience and take in everything they filmed, so by gum I'm going to do just that!

Build A Bridge And Get Over It
Yes, things get to us. We're human. We get angry at someone or something or frustrated by a situation. That is good. Bottling it up inside can be bad for your health. So, vent and let it out. After that, build a bridge and just get over it. What's done is done. What's past is past. What was said can't be taken back (we can only apologize for saying it). Just move on. Obsessing about the past is not healthy. You can't change it. You can only move on to the next thing in the future.

Watch Your Health
No one else (okay, maybe a spouse, your mom, or your employer) will do it for you, so you need to watch out for your own health. Trust me, as you get older you realize your body isn't going to function as it did in your twenties. It simply can't take all that abuse of late night junk food binges or partying until 4am. And things will start going wrong for no apparent reason. So, get a physicial every year if you can. Eat right. Drink plenty of water. Okay, have those occasional indulgences - again, we're all human. The key is moderation.

Make Time To Just Chill
Finally, take time to just relax for yourself. We all need a break from the world. Set aside some time every day or at least once a week to do something you enjoy. It could be as simple as reading for a few minutes a night, or watching a favorite show with the phone off the hook (or ringer turned off), or just going out and enjoying the fresh air. Mental health, along with physical health, needs to be attended to.

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