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The Little Things

By Jason Marshall

Insight from Embrace It Road

Life is all about hitting milestones.

Losing your first baby tooth. There’s the first day of school. Then the training wheels come off your bike. And you tie your own shoes for the first time.

You’re growing up.

And landmark moments keep coming, some not so joyous. Need I remind you of prom night when you discovered a pimple on your nose the size of a ping pong ball?

Fast forward 40 years. Zitzilla is long gone, but the bathroom mirror is far from kind once again.

It could be the lighting, but those look like grey whiskers. And wisps of white hair here and there.

At some point, we all arrive at the intersection of ‘Embrace It Road’ and ‘I’m Going To Dye Avenue.’

I chose to turn onto Embrace It, and not even glance in the rearview mirror.

My approach is this: I’ve earned every single silver strand. I’m not old. I’m experienced. It’s not embarrassing. It’s dignified and distinguished.

In fact, here’s my take: grey hair is a sign of wisdom. Intelligence, if you will.

Some of the wisest men in the world have a head of silver hair, and sometimes the beard to match.

There’s Albert Einstein. Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Chief from Get Smart. The Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi. Uncle Jessie from the Dukes of Hazzard. Statler and Waldorf, the two old guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show. Rocky Balboa’s manager Mickey. And most recently, Professor Dumbledore.

Talk about a think tank of wisdom.

Now that I have the hair colour of the wisest of the wise, I feel it’s my obligation to bestow my insight and life experience upon today’s generation.

Take from it what you will. Here goes (in no particular order):

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
  • Travel more
  • If you borrow a tool from someone, return it
  • Never ask what’s in a hot dog; just enjoy its awesomeness
  • Don’t keep people waiting; time is more precious than you realize
  • If you arrive at the door first, always hold it open for the next person
  • Measure twice, cut once
  • Always make sure your swim trunks are tied tightly before diving into the pool
  • Try to love others half as much as your dog loves you
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Trust your gut
  • Stop and listen to the crickets and the frogs
  • Blood makes you a relative, but love and loyalty make you family
  • Never stay in the left lane if you decide to drive the speed limit
  • Cheer for Wile E. Coyote, and not the Roadrunner; there’s just something about rooting for the underdog
  • Never try to start a fire with wet wood
  • Help others not for the recognition, but because it’s the right thing to do
  • Never jump into a heated conversation about politics, religion or lending money unless you’re prepared for a friendship to change forever
  • Never take your eye off the ball
  • Always enjoy a good laugh, but not at the expense of someone else’s feelings
  • Two words: Please and Thank You
  • Always remind your partner just how amazing they are
  • Always respect the outdoors and Mother Nature
  • Never trust anyone who doesn’t swear
  • Never let what’s on the outside define you. It’s what’s on the inside that matters most
  • Always choose the path in life that feeds your soul, not your ego
  • Don’t always believe what you read on the Internet
  • Cook your steak to medium rare. That’s 135 degrees. Not a single degree more
  • There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Always be confident. Never arrogant
  • As the head of the household, it is your right to call a family meeting whenever someone touches the thermostat
  • Don’t waste time in the potato chip aisle: It’s aways salt and vinegar, then dill pickle, then ketchup. In that exact order
  • There’s a line that people shouldn’t cross with you, and you’ll know when it’s been crossed. Act accordingly
  • Always work hard for your employer, but never at the expense of time with your family
  • Never pull up your zipper without double checking that all parts of you are inside your jeans
  • Everything you do, do to the best of your ability
  • Never say something about someone that you wouldn’t tell them to their face
  • It’s okay to disagree with someone’s point of view, but do so with respect
  • Cherish the wisdom of Dr. Seuss when he says, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
  • And don’t forget the little things. They make all the difference.

Jason Marshall has been a writer and journalist for more than 30 years, and is an on-air host and station manager at Valley Heritage Radio just outside of Renfrew, Ontario. And he’s truly a big kid at heart. You can email him anytime at jason@valleyheritageradio.ca