Advice can be a real mixed bag. To be sure, there are times when the last thing in the world you want is someone else’s advice. Naturally, it’s those times that you probably need it the most. When my daughter was born, as a first-time mom I probably needed a lot of the tips and tricks that were thrown my way. But I was a stubborn 21-year-old who “knew better” and believed everything I read in the then-Bible of pregnancy, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”
Since then, I’ve grown up a lot and recognize a few things. First off, most people want to help … they WANT to offer advice to make your life easier. You never have to HEED advice that’s offered, but you should be gracious about accepting it. In this case, ironically, my advice about that is to smile, nod, say, ‘thank you,’ and walk away.
Second, there are people who actually do know better than you. That’s so true that our community pages on Facebook and Nextdoor are full of people asking for recommendations for doctors, handymen and other service providers. That’s advice and it’s proof that sometimes we’re wise enough to seek it. It may not always be the best answer for you, but asking for and heeding advice shows wisdom.
Third, as we age we begin to fall back on those bits of advice we heard over and over as kids: wipe your feet (it’s advice and helps you learn about keeping your living space clean), don’t interrupt (advice that listening is wise), close the door (we don’t need to air-condition the yard), and turn the light off when you leave a room (electricity is expensive!).
I lost my dad way too early. He was a week shy of his 58th birthday when he died, but I can still hear him reminding me to check the tire pressure and the oil in the car before a trip. One of my favorite pieces of advice from him was not to worry about the “BS.” It stuck because he made it fun to remember. He had a can of repellant he kept on his desk and he would spray it on memos that he thought contained a lot of “crap.”
I woke up this morning before our puppy. I heard the advice of dozens of puppy parents reminding me to let the puppy sleep. It was a slow, easy morning and I lay there as he moved over to snuggle against me and take his time waking up. It was a moment of utter joy for which I am incredibly grateful.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Expect others to offer advice on what to see and do … it’s up to you to accept or not, then have your fun!
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