From Where I Sit – Things I Know For Sure

Every columnist is, when all is said and done, a collector–a collector of images, words, phrases, cartoons, books, clippings, memories. If this conjures up a picture of chaos and clutter, you’re probably right. I know I keep trying to set up systems and processes to make retrieval of this stuff easier. It doesn’t help that some of us are visual and need to see stuff in order to remember we have it and had a plan for it.

This brings me to the oft started list of things I know for sure–tidbits of trivia and truth (as I see it) that will never grow up to be full-fledged columns but deserve a line or two in the annals of column-dom. Sadly, I’m better at articulating these truths than living them.

“¢ Oprah ends every issue of O magazine with a piece called What I Know for Sure. Other than being female, born the same year, loving books and looking for life purpose, similarities between us likely end there. Despite our considerable differences, each of us has views, opinions, experiences and truths borne of our own purposeful living. Oprah just has a bigger audience.

“¢ It is false economy to try saving money on paint. When we were young and foolish, we bought cheap paint for our first, fixer-upper house. It had an awful, chalky finish. Save your precious effort by using quality materials.

“¢ The tongue-in-cheek quote “If I would have known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself” is true. The attitude of immortality and behaviour of recklessness and abuse by the young and vibrant does in fact catch up with all of us–either sooner or later. Smoking, drinking, over-eating, under-exercising, over (or under)-working, wearing bad shoes, engaging in dangerous behaviours take their toll. Success guru, Jim Rohn warns of the dangers of switching the old saw ‘”an apple a day keeps the doctor away” to “a Mars bar a day…” “Just because you don’t fall down ill after the first day, doesn’t mean it won’t happen over time,” he says. Treat your body like a temple not a woodshed.

“¢ In the world of work, I’ve always told my kids that it doesn’t so much matter what they pay you per hour, as what they expect you to do in that hour. If you lose a bit of your soul every day, if you come home with your whole body clenched in stress, if you’ve become jaded, is there really enough money in the world to compensate you?

“¢ Life is a numbers game. For long-term success, we need to pay as much attention to our cholesterol numbers as our bank balance. We need to re-examine the ratio of time spent with family and in service to others with time spent with TV or at happy hour.

The truth as I see it, from where I sit.

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