I decided to compose my own Rules for Living, based partially on those in Helen Fielding's Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination (2003) and in Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project (2009).
You see, this weekend, I'm going to see my mother for the first time in, I think, four years. I love my mother unconditionally, but I am already composing responses to situations I might be in so that I don't say the wrong thing or so that I can say the wrong thing now and the right thing then.
Because I will inevitably be in an unwieldy situation or two this weekend, I looked up Olivia Joules' Rules for Living, and modified her list:
1. Never panic. Stop, breathe, think.
2. If you start panicking remind yourself of the unlikely probability of the worst case scenario.
3. Hardly anything matters: if you get upset, ask yourself, "Does it really matter?"
4. Remember, no one is thinking about you. They're thinking about themselves, just like you.
5. Nothing is either as bad or as good as it seems.
6. Be honest, kind, and tolerant (not always in that order).
7. Assume that everyone is having the worst day of his/her life, and treat them accordingly.
8. It is better to buy one expensive thing that you really like than several cheap ones that you only like a bit; only buy things that make you feel like doing a small dance.
9. When overwhelmed by disaster, check if it's really a disaster by doing the following: (a) think, "oh, F*&% it," (b) look on the bright side and, if that doesn't work, look on the funny side.
If neither of the above works then maybe it is a disaster so turn to items 1, 2, and 3.
10. Don't expect the world to be safe or life to be fair.
11. Don't regret anything. Remember there wasn't anything else that could have happened, given who you were and the state of the world at the moment. The only thing you can change is the present, so learn from the past.
***I should mention that the third book in the Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding just came out. I can't wait to read it; check out this Daily Mail article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2485817/Super-Lucky-Bitch-The-Bridget-Jones-writer-Helen-Fielding-gave-totally-toxic-online-profile-experiment-prove-nice-girls-lose-dating-game.html