Lessons from Mom

by F.

After ruminating on it for some 30+ years, I can finally set down the wisdom that has been passed on to me from my mother. Over the course of my life, her philosophy has made an indelible impression on me—sort of the way a branding-iron does—and without her guidance, I wouldn’t be the person I am.

But you may not be as fortunate as I. You may not have won the mother-lottery the way I did. To remedy this, I offer the following Lessons from Mom—lapidary sayings that encapsulate her wisdom, as if she were right there, expressing it to us in person.

Print them out. Tape them to your computer monitor. But, above all else, enjoy.

“The world is a scary place. You are not strong enough to handle it.”

“There’s no reason to try. You’ll probably fail.”

“Everyone else is flawed. And so are you.”

“Emotions are scary. Try not to express them.”

“If you feel bad, eat. A lot. Especially chips.”

“Don’t actively pursue a goal. Let things happen to you.”

“You don’t need friends. Friends only harm you.”

OK, time to take a breather. After all, working memory is only around seven items, if that. You don’t want to overload your buffer and actually forget this stuff, do you? Better now? Good. Let’s continue:

“If you encounter a difficult situation, hide from it.”

“Don’t learn new information. Knowledge doesn’t change. Hold on to old verities.”

“Always diet. But only follow the diet enough that it doesn’t work.”

“Marry someone you don’t love. Then resent him until he dies.”

“Don’t pursue your hobbies. There’s no point.”

“I have the answers. I just haven’t gotten around to implementing them.”

“You’ll always be fat.”

Breaktime. A few jumping-jacks, toe-touches, or a little running in place may be timely. Let all those good feelings just drift out of you. Feel yourself filling with spite? If not, try a short meditation: “Breathing in, I know the world is a very bad place. Breathing out, I feel tense and anxious.” Ready for more? Great!

“If you are in a bad relationship, stay in it. Forever. It’s the other person’s fault.”

“Doctors don’t know anything. I know more.”

“Overstate your accomplishments. Only you know what they really mean.”

“You can’t learn new things. New things are confusing and usually not worth the trouble.”

“The government should fix it.”

“I know more about it than you do. But I can’t convey my knowledge for some reason.”

“Stretch out old age and maximize your misery.”

“Be bitter. The world has wronged you. Don’t accept it.”