Your Grandma used to tell me “remember who you are and what you stand for” every time I left the house. She said it because her mom said it. So now, I must say it. But before I make that our little mantra, our good luck charm to cast before you head out into the giant world out there, I started to think. Like, really, who are we and what do we stand for? So I thought I would share 5 things I know to be true. You don’t have to agree, but it’s a start babies…
1. Don’t be an asshole. In general you should try to kill people with kindness. Hold doors open. Offer seats on the train. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Ask how people are doing and mean it. Ask for forgiveness when you are wrong.
2. Believe in something beyond yourself. Your Papa and I believe in God, but in different ways. We don’t go to church, but we sure do pray a lot. There is mystery and magic in this world; believe that there is something just beyond your grasp and speak to that entity/space/light often.
3. Work in a service industry job at least once. Wait tables, fold shirts, clean floors. This will help you with #1.
4. Read books. You should devour books and talk about them and share them with others. Also, sometimes you need the heft of a real book in your hand, not an e-reader.
5. Travel. You need to take risks and travel is the best way to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Be the only light skinned person in the room once (or lots). Go somewhere you don’t speak the language and then learn it. Get dirty. Get lost. Respect local customs. Get away from where the guide books tell you to go. If you find a place you love and feel like you don’t want to leave? Stay.