My Favorite Life Lessons


This blog post is all about adages, axioms, mottos, life lessons –some are cliched,  all are true. 
There’s an old expression that “youth is wasted on the young.” I heard it all my life and never quite got it.  I just thought those who said it –who were always older than I was– were just annoyed that they were older than whoever it was they were thinking of when they made the comment. Now I know better. That expression has nothing to do with being annoyed at someone younger than you are, it’s all about having learned that we don’t really really know what life is all about until we’ve lived awhile.  In other words, “if we knew then what we know now” we might have done some things a little differently, made some different decisions, chose a different path, told somebody to “eff off” and then walked away and meant it. 
Another adage that I’ve lived enough to learn that it’s true is “you teach people how to treat you.” I love this one because it’s dead on…and just common sense.  People will only repeatedly do to you what you let them get away with. 
I love these kinds of maxims. They just sort of sum up what you need to know in a simple and clear way.
A few weeks ago, a reader of this blog –Robbie– said a favorite saying of hers is “don’t do anything to get a man that you’re not willing to do to keep him.”  Excellent advice.   And I think it extends beyond a man. It’s true for any relationship, including at work. 
My book, The Spinsterlicious Life:20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree, is kinda based on these kinds of common sense rules that maybe sometimes are common sense only in retrospect. They’re not as catchy as some I just mentioned, but they still remind me of what I’m supposed to do. 
These are my life lessons from the book (each appended with a story on how I got there):
  • Lesson 1 – Marriage. Kids. They’re not for everybody.
  • Lesson 2- Indulge yourself with romance, sex, adventure.
  • Lesson 3- If your ex was a jackass the first time around, he probably still is.
  • Lesson 4- If you don’t get married, who’s gonna fix that? (meaning even independent women need help sometime)
  • Lesson 5- If your husband doesn’t like you, he might kill you.
  • Lesson 6- Know who you really are, not who you wish you were.
  • Lesson 7-  Laugh at the inanity of it all.
  • Lesson 8- Be nice to old people.
  • Lesson 9- Use birth control.
  • Lesson 10- Don’t be shallow.
  • Lesson 11- Be patient with women who mostly only talk about their kids. (A mouthful, I know, but an important one).
  • Lesson 12- Pregnancy has it’s benefits. As a spinster, you’ll miss out on them. (Basically, life has trade offs).
  • Lesson 13- Let labels roll off your back. Don’t let others define you.
  • Lesson 14- When your friend marries, you’re not losing a girlfriend, you’re gaining a boy friend.
  • Lesson 15- Go to therapy if you’re crazy.
  • Lesson 16- You can’t force chemistry.
  • Lesson 17- If you have to think about it, you don’t really want a baby.
  • Lesson 18- Accept help when it’s offered.
  • Lesson 19- Wear high heels.
  • Lesson 20- Being single and childfree is good.
Each one of these lessons has helped me retain some semblance of sanity.  
I’m going to run a few excerpts from my book over the next couple of weeks, and wonder which of the above life lessons would you like to see first?  Please pick two.  Of course, that’s assuming you want to see any. 
And what can you add to the list?  What adages/sayings have you found to be helpful in your life?


NOTE: My new book —The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree— has been published and is available hereand on Amazon.


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10 Responses to My Favorite Life Lessons

  1. the bayarean says:

    I really love the adage about teaching people how to treat you. This is a lesson I consistently have to teach as a young person. I see too many women settling already, just as we approach 30 years. Kind of going along with that theme, I also love a quote from a song my mom once said to me:
    The weak stay, but the strong get up and move on.
    This one reminded me that staying in a situation that is unwanted is a weakness. Getting up, moving on and forward to the uknown out of self-preseveration, takes real strength. I needed to hear that then, and remind myself of that regularly.

  2. eleanore says:

    @Cami: Absolutely!

  3. Cami says:

    If you're tall – do you still wear high heels? 😉

  4. Anonymous says:

    I especially like #17. I'm not much of a baby person, so if people ask me if I want kids, I don't really know what to say. They're really a life changer (more so than marriage I'm observing) and I'm not sure I want that kind of life.

    Also, I would add: ask for what you want. Don't be afraid of it. This goes for anything: work, relationships, restaurants (well, don't be a pushy patron). A well placed query can change your world, especially in regards to your career. Be proud, be expectant.


  5. bikegirl says:

    I'd like to see lessons 5 and 12. I'm really curious about what these benefits are to pregnancy that we're missing out on. Everything I've read about what happens to your body during pregnancy is horrifying.

  6. Onely says:

    Congratulations!! It looks great. I am particlarly intrigued by chapter three (and could probably stand to learn something from it, too!).

    Number nineteen though. . . wear high heels. . . my personal feeling is that I will wear high heels when my male colleagues do. But that is just me because I am neurotic about my back. My personal 19 would be “wear negative heels!” Have you tried those? Earth shoes. I am recently into those. You can get some that look ok, though it is kind of hard to look nice in a suit with those. Hm. Ok. Wear high heels sometimes. 🙂 🙂

  7. Jana says:

    anxiously awaiting my copy!!!

  8. M.E. Anders says:

    I would love to see excerpts about #1 and #20. Your blog is so inspiring to me, as I transition from an amicable divorce into rocking the single life. Thanks for all you do for us gals!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would love to hear more about #6. I'm successful, in my late twenties and fresh off of a verbally abusive relationship. I thought I would have ended it sooner but I had blinders on. My first instinct with the assclown was to tell him off and walk away but he was like a drug. Now I've learned to ALWAYS ALWAYS follow you're own instinct!
    Thanks Eleanore in advance I love your posts!!!


  10. Janine says:

    I think adages are great, although I suspect I must be crazy, because I hear these words of wisdom and they never really penetrate. I make the same mistakes over and over, expecting a different result each time – the very definition of insanity. So I suppose I should refer to your advice on therapy.

    But the first, on accepting that 'marriage and kids aren't for everybody', can take half a lifetime to sink in, because you're up against a world that makes you a pariah for your choices, which are so often painted as unnatural, selfish and tragic. At 45, I'm still trying to come to grips with my natural spinster tendencies and the fact I'm just not like all the other boys and girls. Still trying to chase everyone else's dream, in some kind of mad orgy of self-denial. I just read a study, however, that said we get happier after 45, and I'm about to turn 46, so I look forward to finally accepting myself and my choices from here on – it IS getting easier! Good luck with the book. It looks gorgeous.

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