“I would love that! I’m overflowing with advice!” I told my daughter, Sarah, when she asked if she could interview me for her English assignment. She had to ask a parent a few questions for a “Philosophy of Life” interview.
Sarah cringed at my enthusiasm. She knows how opinionated I am. “Mom, nothing hard core.”
“No, of course not,” I assured her.
Here’s the interview. I enjoyed doing it and it isn’t even hard core 🙂
What is the most important thing you want me to know for the rest of my life?
Always trust your gut feeling about people, jobs and situations. Your gut feeling is always right. It’s that little voice inside that tells you what to do and it can easily get drowned out by the opinions of others. If you ignore that little voice your body will react physically. You’ll have an uneasy feeling, a knot in your stomach or trouble sleeping. Be still and listen to your body. It will lead you to happiness.
What is one place you wish you visited?
I should have visited Reed College in Portland, Oregon. During my second year of college, a classmate of mine was going there during spring break to see some friends and she invited me to go along. I wanted to go, but I wasn’t doing well in Economics. We had mid-terms right after break, so I decided to stay home and study.
At that point in my life I had never been to the west coast, and I still haven’t been to Portland. It would have been interesting to stay at a different college for a week, meet other students and experience a new city. I could have taken my Economics book along and studied on the plane or crammed when I got back. You can’t take responsibilities too seriously. You have to live a little.
As I’m going off to college what is the best advice you can give me?
It took me a long time to learn how to say no, so I want you to be able to do it comfortably. It’s so important to a happy life. It’s critical that you refuse to go on an undesirable date, accept a job that doesn’t meet your needs or get in a car with a drunk driver. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. If you have doubts, don’t go forward and don’t second guess yourself. Your first instinct is the right one.
Declining an invitation doesn’t have to be unpleasant. You can politely say things like, “I’m sorry I can’t. I have plans,” or “I don’t think that’s going to work for me.” By saying no to the wrong things, you free up time to pursue whatever it is that brings you joy, and that’s how you create the life that you want.