“You’re 73 years old now,” he said as the waiter brought our wine. “What have you learned since we last met?”
I hadn’t seen the long, tall, blue-eyed Irishman sitting across the table from me for over 40 years—not since I had worked for him in the 1970’s when he was studying for his PhD in psychology and I was helping him develop his therapy practice.
I always found him to be an intellectually stimulating—not to mention quite sexy—guy who delighted in asking me challenging questions.
Now here he was, asking what I had learned in 40 years.
Was he kidding? Did he really want to know?
“A lot of stuff that nobody would give a damn about,” I hedged, adding that he knew I hadn’t gone go college, didn’t have expertise in any particular field and that I was the kind of person who couldn’t even remember the name of the author of most of the books I’d read—let alone the titles.
“You know I’ve never had a mind for content.” I reminded him. “I have a mind for process.”
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “I want to know what you have learned from life. From living.”
I told him I couldn’t begin to tell him, just like that, and he said, “Make a list.”
“Make a list?” I repeated.
“Yes,” he said. “Make a list—a list of what you have learned or a list of what you live by. It’ll be an excuse for us to have lunch together again.
“If it means we can have lunch together again,” I flirted, “I’ll do it.”
And I did. I made a list.
Everything is Foreplay and 20 Other Important Things I’ve Learned About Life:
1. Nothing in this world is black and white, and everything is gray (unless you’re Hobby Lobby).
2. A cluttered desk is indeed the sign of a cluttered mind, and so is a cluttered house, a cluttered car, cluttered closets and drawers and even a cluttered e-mail inbox.
3. We are our environments—both our micro environments (our houses, our cars) and our macro environments (our cities, our world)—just ask the lady that cleans your house.
4. We are constantly getting green lights and red lights as to what direction to go in our lives. It’s that simple, but nobody wants to believe it’s that simple.
5. If we have a bad dream or didn’t sleep well or are depressed, it had something to do with what we ate—especially if it was pizza.
6. Suffering will always be with us no matter how many memes to the contrary there are on Facebook.
7. Art and music are the only things that make sense in this world—not football.
8. No matter what Fox News says, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
9. Nothing can keep you young like an open mind—except maybe great sex. (Hell, even mediocre sex can add a few years.)
10. Everything is foreplay, which we forget, and which is why we have to have foreplay.
11. Setting the alarm 20 minutes early so there’s time for cuddling is a great way to get some foreplay in on a regular basis—not to mention the best way to start the day.
12. Contrary to what the song says, growing up is hard to do—not breaking up.
13. The French have it right. Vive la difference.
14. Men need some kind of group/military experience to learn how to channel their energy—not how to go to war. Women? They have enough going on.
15. War is fruitless in any case.
16. If a person has a bad relationship with their ex and you’re in a new relationship with them, they’re probably not good relationship material.
17. If somebody tells us what is wrong with us or what they don’t like about us, they are probably, at least to a certain extent, right; owning up to it right away ends a lot of arguments.
18. Attitude really is everything.
19. The rescuer always becomes the victim.
20. God doesn’t have a beard—or a vagina for that matter.
21. Tequila goes with everything.
[Author’s Note: This list is not in the order of importance but then, what I’ve learned too is that there is no such thing as order of importance. There is only chaos.]
Author: Carmelene Siani
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Flickr/Michaela Bozonovova