Linda Stamper Boyne: Just a bit of advice
Vail, CO, Colorado
Truth time: I’m a bit of an eavesdropper. Never for evil purposes, just because I’m a curious soul, interested in how different we are as individuals.
In recent conversational samplings, I noticed an emerging theme. It seems to me that the young women out there could use a little unsolicited advice — no, scratch that — suggestions from one who has been there, done that and lived to tell about it.
At my current age of not-really-any-of-your-business, I feel I’m old enough to have perspective but young enough to remember what it was like to be a 20-something woman.
I’m not one to tell people how to live their lives, but sometimes there are things that just need to be said.
So what follows is written with the sisterhood in mind, meant to help some avoid a few mistakes, maybe to keep others from wasting time, and to serve as a reminder to the rest of us.
1. Know that at some point down the road, no matter how fabulous you think you look now, you will look back at a photo of yourself today and think, “Why in the world was I wearing that and what’s up with my hair?”
2. Be kind, because kindness will get you everywhere. And not just to others, but to you. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
3. Learn to speak Spanish.
4. Appreciate your mom. She loves you like no one else ever will. If you can’t see her as a woman yet, step back and look at through the eyes of others. She’s probably a pretty amazing person, one you’d be really lucky to know.
5. Learn to laugh at yourself and you will never cease to be amused.
6. Listen to your intuition. That little voice inside picks the right things most of the time. Learn to tune in. Don’t get caught up in what is “supposed to be,” what others say is the right thing. If it doesn’t feel right to you. Be true to yourself.
7. Don’t be judgmental. Your perception is limited to your own experiences. There is no way you can know everything another person is thinking and feeling, their circumstances, what they’ve been through, what has lead to them to this particular point in time. Don’t make assumptions about what’s right or wrong for someone else. To impose your judgment on others is small-minded and petty.
8. When a man tells you something that you don’t want to believe is true (“I don’t want children.” “I’m seeing other women.” “You don’t look fat in those jeans.”), believe him.
9. Be more accepting.
10. You’re engaged? That’s fabulous! Congratulations. Let me see the ring. When is the wedding? Where are you getting married? What’s your dress look like? What is your ultimate financial goal regarding annual income and how will you and your fiance achieve it? If one of you doesn’t want to work, under what circumstances would that be OK? What’s the division of labor of the day-to-day stuff? How’s your relationship with his family and how involved are they in your lives? Does he want kids and if so, how will you raise them?
Not as romantic as planning the wedding, but think beyond that day about the rest of your lives. The rest of your lives, when you’re dealing with the mortgage, the kids, work, parents getting older, illness, retirement. That’s marriage. The wedding is one day and as time passes, it’s not even close to being the most important day of your life.
Susan Piver wrote a book called “The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Get Married.” Go get the book and start talking. I’m not kidding.
11. Cherish your girlfriends. Make time for them. Nurture the friendships and appreciate them. Look out for each other. And learn to recognize the real ones. They’re the ones who will play with you in the good times and hold you up when the usually strong woman that you are is falling apart, then help you put the pieces back together.
12. A man who does not understand your need to spend time with your girlfriends is not the man you want.
And finally, and this sounds so contrite, but learn to like yourself. You’re with you constantly, you can’t get away from yourself, so you might as well embrace who you are and love her.
Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through email@example.com