If I could go back and meet myself at 19 there are a few pieces of advice I really wish I could give me. Among them are; Do better in school, save your money, stay the hell away from THAT guy (exclamation points after that one), you’re not really going to become a veterinarian so study something you can actually use, and the list goes on.
However, as I was cleaning my garage today, I figured out the four major pieces of advice that I would pass on to every female:
First, never stop jumping rope. Be it single jumping, group jumping, double dutch, hot pepper, or jump rope songs there is something about jumping rope that is fun, relaxing, companionable when done en masse, good exercise, and down right enjoyable. You can sing to it, dance while doing it, daydream, laugh, get sunshine and fresh air. It works up a sweat, gives you rhythm, flexibility, agility, synchronization in a group, and mobility when you learn how to skip while locomoting down the street (if there is no such word as locomoting, there should be and will be from now on) It also helps with your ability to count by tens when doing Hot Pepper. And the final cost is so minimal – a piece of your mother’s clothesline. All those fancy shmancy weighted jump ropes are unnecessary to say the least. A piece of good old fashioned rope. That’s it.
Second, never stop riding your bicycle. I spent so many happy days out pedaling frantically over to my friend Mary’s house or her to mine. We would then ride around the neighborhood, ride to buy the latest Archie Comic books, ride to get a soda, ride to the playground, or to the field to pick wildflowers, play Follow the Leader on bicycle, or just coast the hills talking and laughing. As I got older, I exchanged my two wheel transportation for four wheel transportation. But I would still get my bicycle out on the weekend for “Bicycle Sunday” when parts of the local parkway would be closed to traffic and everyone would be out pedaling in the sunshine. This was not only great exercise, but something of a social occasion as well. Families were out, couples on tandems, the occasional unicycle, and the odd velocipede. Nothing will ever feel quite as good as coasting over the gentle bumps in the road with hair blowing behind me (that was in the dark age before helmets arrived).
Third, never lose the ability to wear heels. I remember my first pair of heels. They were my pink satin Easter shoes the year I turned 13. I could barely totter across the living floor when I first got them, and I practiced every day so I wouldn’t disgrace myself by wiping out on my way up to Communion at Easter mass. In reality they were not very high – I think I’ve had sneakers with more of a heel. But my thirteen year old self practically had a nose bleed from altitude and excitement. After those pink gems, I loved heels. When I went to work after college, I wore heels constantly and spent every day on my feet in a lab. In a three story building, I used to run up and down the stairs in my heels, scorning the elevators ( actually I didn’t scorn the elevators. I feared them. It was a brand new building and the elevators occasionally went on the fritz. I was stuck in one for what seemed like an eternity with a very strange, hygiene deficient guy from another department and another planet. My fingernail marks are probably still on the inside of the elevator door). Then I married someone shorter than me. That in itself is not a problem, but it became a personal insult when I wore heels. I was “young and in love” (read that as stupid) so I began wearing flats. Thirty three years later, I am no longer married, but I’ve lost the ability to wear heels. Drat.
From number three comes what I will call 3A. Avoid people who want you to change things about yourself. Clothing choices, heels, hair color, whatever – you are beautiful just the way you are.
Fourth, never stop laughing. Keep the ability to see the ridiculous in life….and sometimes even in yourself. Not everything is funny…. not every day is funny. But if you can’t laugh several times each week, there is something wrong. The best feeling is when you laugh until the tears roll down your face. I think 4A would be to surround yourself with people who know how to laugh. I am very fortunate in having family, friends, and even pets who are side-splittingly funny. I can’t imagine my life without them, and without the ability to laugh with them (and sometimes at them!)
I ran out of daylight while cleaning the garage and tying up the trash. But I retained a nice piece of rope. I have my eye on it for tomorrow…..
Fudge, Fudge, call the Judge! Mama’s got a newborn baby! Wrap him up in tissue paper, send him down the elevator, first floor MISS. Second floor MISS. Third floor, you better not miss ’cause H O T spells HOT! 10! 20! 30! 40!
(I should live so long I’ll get all the way through it, but with practice who knows!? But I still remember the song! And at the very least, I am sure to get a laugh out of it!!)