WORDS TO LIVE BY (or not)

Something I have discovered since turning 90. People really do seem to expect you to say something wise and, perhaps, inspiring every now and again.

When I tell people my age, the reaction I get is usually very flattering. They usually start with a surprised look and a hurried, and apparently sincere “Oh you aren’t” or – and this one surprises me every time – “You are my hero.” I, in turn hasten to assure them that I really, truly am 90, and, so long as people protest that I do 90 very well, I will continue to announce it at any available opportunity. But the hero bit I find kind of daunting. So far, it seems to me, the most impressive thing I’ve done is not die.
However, I have begun to collect little bits and pieces of wisdom I have gained through these many years. I mean, come on, you’d have to be an idiot not to have learned something along the way.
And you, my lucky readers, are about to get a bit of

THE WISDOM OF THE AGED.

One of my favorite bits of wisdom and one I have tried to work with is:
There is no such thing as a free lunch – the price is always too high.
Haven’t you found it so? Now I’m not saying that when a good friend invites you to lunch with a hearty “Come on, I’ll take you to lunch at this new place I know.” you should refuse. No way. Take him/her up on it…it doesn’t happen that often.
But when someone you hardly know suggests taking you to The Melissa Restaurant in Santa Monica, chances are you will be expected to pay for it one way or the other.
The first time that happened to me the would be “friend” requested a recommendation for a job I knew he couldn’t do. He didn’t get it – not the recommendation or the job, And he never spoke to me again, but it was a lesson learned.

Everyone is pushing his own piano.

Number two is just one of the many ways people say “Everybody has problems.” I know that, but I don’t always pay it the kind of attention it deserves. Because, if you stop to think that when someone is behaving badly it might just be because something terrible is going on in their lives, it becomes your duty to be considerate and kind.
I am not a confrontational person. (usually) However, on this one occasion I was helping to set up tables for a fairly formal luncheon at church. I placed the knives, forks and spoons in their proper order and made sure all the napkins faced the same direction.
I had just about finished when I noticed a woman following me around the room, changing the setup. How dare she! I thought and went back and set them to right. But so did she. Finally I told her, in no uncertain words, that I knew how to set a table and I didn’t appreciate her changing it.
The lady burst into tears and ran out of the room. Another woman who had watched this all go down came of and said, “Take it easy on her Betty, her mother died on Monday and her husband had just walked out on her.”
That was her piano. I learned another lesson. But Death AND Divorce? That really seemed like overkill to make a point.

Sometimes a lie is just a nice gesture.

I have a friend who prides himself on always telling the truth no matter who gets hurt. I find that wrong. There are, it seems to me, times when one of those little white lies folks talk of, are not only justified, but kind. If a friend asks me if a dress makes her look fat, I find out a couple of things. If the dress has never been worn and can be returned, the truth works. I tell her that I don’t think it’s as flattering as it might be. But if the dress is hers forever I find something about it to like and tell her about that. According to my thinking, if she owns the dress, and I tell her she looks fat in it, she will never enjoy it. So who get hurt if you cross the “I always tell the truth” line?

With age comes wisdom. Versus Too late smart.

Too late smart is an old Pennsylvania Dutch saying and I believe it is fairly self explanatory. We learn and learn as we go, but we’re still a work in progress no matter how many years we get to spend trying.

With age comes wisdom? The jury is still out.

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THE WORD OF THE MONTH: Okay, here’ a word I don’t ever expect to hear but it amuses me:
STARVEACRE; hungerweed.

Oh wait. I almost forgot to mention this one.

If God were a woman – diets would work.

A word about next month’s Blog. A gentleman, whose photographic genius I admire tremendously on FB, has given me permission to use one of his pictures with my Blog. However, my daughter Celia, (my guide through all the things I find to mess up when trying something new) is away this month. But next month she will see me through placing the photo. You will enjoy its quiet beauty. I always do. Betty