It's Sunday...no, wait, it's Monday. But, it feels like Sunday, so it stands to reason that I'm feeling preachy.
Hey, everyone else has done it...I feel a sense of entitlement to do so as well. So, here 'tis: The Mags List of Life Lessons - Guaran-Goddamn-Teed to Make YOUR Life Worth Living.
Oh, and, you're welcome.
- People don't change. Oh, they'll quit habits, lose weight, get/lose religion, smooth out the rough edges of their personality, etc., but fundamentally, they don't change. And - more importantly - YOU will never change someone else. So, love, accept, even grit your teeth sometimes; but don't believe, for one second, that a person will change for you.
- Regarding marriages: See above. Don't expect anyone to change, and you will be happier. They will, too, knowing you accept them for exactly what they are. That's where all that trust stuff starts, you know?
- Also, regarding marriages: Try to have lots of sex, even if you think you don't want to, or you're too tired. I read somewhere that orgasms are self-perpetuating; the more you have, the more you will want...plus, they have the nice side-effect of creating a more relaxed and confident person in the daylight as well. So, if there's a stagnant spot here or there, get it moving - force the issue with yourself, if necessary - and it will get better with practice.
- For women: Don't sweat the porn issue. You know your man looks at it. It's OK. You have your fantasies, too, and that's all it is. He's not comparing their bodies to yours, and he doesn't want those women in his bed. (And, just a suggestion...if you will venture so far as to occasionally look at it with him, he will think you are totally scandalous and dangerous, and thus smokin' hot. Word.) I think - and this is my opinion only - that husbands viewing internet porn is the thing that we just have to accept, like the way previous generations accepted that men would visit prostitutes or have affairs with their secretaries. I don't know about you, but I'm better with it this way.
- For men: Don't sweat the "ex-boyfriend" issue. You know your wife has them. It's OK. She doesn't want them. I swear. Emotionally, physically, mentally, she made the vow to you, and she bloody well meant it. If there are thoughts of her past lurking in her head, they are just special memories, that she might pull out like a photo album from time to time. These have as much real, substantive meaning as your feelings toward that girl on that website you were looking at last night. (Hey, I have an idea...can we just consider these two issues a trade-off?) And - talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies - if you are more confident in your woman's love for you, that confidence radiates from you, and makes you more attractive to her. Thus, more trust, and more sex! (See above.)
- Try to eat something new, and listen to new music, at least once a month. I read a study somewhere that suggested that, if you have not tried something by the time you are 40, statistically speaking, it is highly unlikely that you will ever try it. Break that pattern. Stay interesting, even if it's only to yourself.
- Moderation, moderation, moderation. Except for occasionally. Which is FUN. (To quote the eminently succinct and correct Dr. Seuss: "If you don't/You should/These things are fun/And fun is good.")
- Go dancing. (Yes, men, I'm talking to you, too. The psychic penance you feel for possibly looking like a dork will be more than repaid by the happiness of your partner for getting out there with them.)
- Your kids - if you have them - are clearly your biggest responsibility in your life, and you must give them an enormous part of your being in order to raise them well. Do this - but do your utmost not to give short shrift to yourself and your relationships with your significant other and your friends. Resist being subsumed into their lives completely, or when they've moved out, you may be left with nothing.
- Don't be a hypocrite. Don't go screaming about family values if you're fucking another woman (or other men). Don't go on about the horrors of illegal immigration if you didn't screen that cheap roofing company's employee roster to make sure they all had green cards. People can handle your transgressions far better than your hypocrisy, and the cognitive dissonance in your brain will not clang as loudly.
- Along those lines, do your best not to judge others. That horribly behaved child in your kid's class may have a nightmarish family life. Same with that bitch in your office, or the guy that yelled at you in front of your boss. Sure, be angry; you're human. But just remember that there may be another story of which you are unaware.
- Your life is too short to hold on to hate or grudges. Learn from your mistakes, of course, and withdraw from "crazymakers." But, holding onto bad experiences in your heart is like sucking on poison. Try to let it go. Don't let your anger define you.
- Have animals in your life, in some way. Sometimes furry unconditional acceptance is the only kind you're going to get. (Even if that acceptance does admittedly smell pretty foul sometimes, and occasionally licks its anus prior to unexpectedly french-kissing you.)
- Never, ever, underestimate the value of a good haircut and color. If you take nothing else away from this discussion, hear me on this, my children. If you are feeling down, get thee hence to the nearest swanky salon. There, prostrate yourself at the Aveda altar, and pray for your floral-scented deliverance from shag, frizz, and two-inch long, disturbingly gray roots. Amen.