Well, it’s a new year. I’m sure by now you’re sick of hearing about resolutions, new beginnings, fresh starts, looking forward, blah, blah, blah. I know I am. So instead of blathering on about that kind of stuff, I’m going to take the opposite tack. I’m going to take a look back. I’m going to reflect. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned. Well, technically, I’m going to tell you "What I’ve Learned," which is initial capped because it’s actually the title of a column in Esquire, in which a celebrity or public figure shares the wisdom that he or she has accumulated over his or her lifetime.
Now, I’m no celebrity, of course, but I’ve stolen the idea for this article for two reasons. One, "What I’ve Learned" is one of my favorite things to read, and also one of my favorite things to fantasize about. I practice what I would say in that column the way that other people practice the acceptance speeches they’d give on Oscar night. The second reason is that I just finished this month’s issue while I was on vacation, and almost the entire magazine was devoted to the tenth anniversary of What I’ve Learned. So let’s just say that I was inspired.
By the way, if you don’t read Esquire, I highly recommend it. Yes, it’s a men’s magazine, but it’s interesting, the articles are well-written, and unlike some other men’s magazines, women are discussed lovingly – adoringly, actually – and not like pieces of meat to be chewed up, ingested, and excreted the next morning. Also, I like Esquire precisely because it is not written for women. I don’t know what happened to me, but somewhere around the time I turned thirty (or, perhaps a better explanation, somewhere around the time I had kids), I kind of lost my taste for women’s magazines. Go figure.
Anyway, here I go.
What I’ve Learned. By Risa Green. (Ooh, I get a little chill just typing that.)
Boys are harder physically. Girls are harder emotionally. Both are exhausting.
People who have gone through difficult times in their lives are infinitely more interesting than people who have not.
The SAT is not an intelligence test.
If you show up to a party in a dress and everyone else is wearing jeans, no one is thinking that you’re overdressed. They’re all thinking about the great dress that they’ve never had an opportunity to wear, and they’re wishing that they’d worn it.
Motherhood and fatherhood are not equal.
Children always puke at three o’clock in the morning. If they happen to puke during the day, it will always be on a day that the nanny is off, and it will always be in a room with carpeting.
Nobody is judging you by your parents. They are, however, judging you by your manners.
Own your flaws. Be proud of them. Flaunt them. It’s easier than trying to hide them, and people are more forgiving if they know what they’re dealing with ahead of time.
It is not cute when a five year-old uses curse words.
Generally speaking, most people prefer a happy ending.
The following things do not need to match: underwear and bra, nail color and toe color, shoes and purse, eyeshadow and outfit. Also, it is perfectly acceptable to wear white after Labor Day.
One should always remember that waiters and valets make their living off of tips.
Happiness is more important than prestige.
Once a week is a totally respectable goal.