A mentor of mine once advised me that “You got to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be a good plan,” he said, “but you got to have a plan.” In general, I’m a “live and let live” sort of person, but I have a similar philosophy regarding the necessity of having a code to guide one’s life choices. For me that code is a list of behaviors I try to adhere to in matters ranging from the trivial to the vital.
For more serious matters, I tend to turn to my own conscience, my mother’s examples, and the big thinkers of history, including philosphers, poets, playwrights, novelists, and songwriters. What follows here is a list of a few of the more trivial precepts found in my personal code for living. Most of them are arbitrary and some a bit silly, and most I do or don’t do without a whole lot of thought required. Also, I am certainly NOT giving life advice to anyone, but the behaviors found in my code for living might provide a little insight into what makes me me.
The ordering of the precepts is completely random, not in any order of importance or categorized:
- I never leave mass until the final note of the final song has been played.
- I finish every beer that I open. I come from a long line of beer drinkers, BUT I never drink irresponsibly.
- I’ll give a book 100 pages to engage me. If it hasn’t hooked me by then, either it’s poorly written or I’m just not the right audience for it. However, I often come back to books I’ve set aside based on this rule and find them enjoyable.
- I never hit skip on a Springsteen song. Never. Ever.
- I always dance to Kool and the Gang’s “Get Down on It.”
- I don’t line dance, Chicken Dance, Cha-Cha Slide or Electric Slide. No judgement on those who do; I just don’t.
- I don’t do the wave in arenas/stadiums.
- I insist on the proper usage of “fewer” to refer to anything countable over the increasingly-common use of “less.” It infuriates me. Strangely enough, other than this, I’m not much of a grammar Nazi.
- I always hold doors for ladies. I know this is a bit archaic, but I can’t help it. It’s meant to be chivalric, not anti-feminist.
- I respect other people’s right to be referred to by the name, title, or pronoun of their choosing. I’m not being political, just nice.
- I (almost) never use the air conditioner or radio in the car if I’m alone.
- I never wear gear from a sports team that I don’t actually cheer for.
- I never swear in front of my mother.
- I never put ketchup on a hot dog.
- I always slip dollar bills to homeless people when I’m in a city.
- I always watch the movies Jaws, A Few Good Men, and Tombstone if I come across them while channel surfing.
- I never wear sandals or flip-flops. It’s real shoes or barefoot.
- I always tip at least 20%.
- “I always wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it.” Daisy Buchanan speaks this line in The Great Gatsby. It’s my favorite quotation from the greatest American novel. I couldn’t resist including it.
- I always choose heads.
- I always give a firm handshake.
- I apologize when I make a mistake.
- I forgive.
- I occasionally break most of the rules found in my code.
I’d love to know some of the rules that make up the code you live by. Please share in the “comments.”
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