6 timeless lessons from mom

Mullet mom and her gangster son

I’ve been alive for 26 years. My mom has been alive for 56. That makes her, by default, at least 2x as smart.

The reality is she’s more like 200x as smart. Here’s a chart to explain.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed my age feels directly correlated to my mom’s wisdom. The older I get, the more her advice starts to click.

Okay that’s enough graphs. Sorry mom. You raised a nerd.

I’m grateful for your love and support. I’m grateful for your kindness. And most of all … I’m grateful for your brain.

Wisdom is the world’s best gift. And you are mother-f*&#ing Santa Claus.

Thank you for being you. Here’s what you’ve taught me in life so far.

1. Try your best. Everything after is uncontrollable.

I have a confession, mom.

I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid I’ll fail at my job and get fired. Or I’ll fail at my relationships and lose someone. My fear, as a result, boosts my anxiety.

What calms my anxiety — or fear of failure — is something you taught us growing up:

“Try your best at everything you do. Everything afterward is outside of your control. If you give 100% effort, there is nothing left you can to worry about. ”

Whether I’m at the starting line of 110 meter hurdle race, waiting for my college acceptance letter, or anxiously awaiting if I was hired after a job interview … your advice is timeless.

You taught me if I focus on the input, the output will come naturally.

If it doesn’t end in my favor, well, I did everything in my power to influence the outcome. Anything after is outside of my control.

2. We all just want to feel loved.

We’ve all heard Dale Carnegie’s timeless advice from How to Win Friends and Influence People that people just want to feel important:

But two years ago, you blew by mind with this perspective:

“I think the deepest human desire is people don’t want to feel important, they just want to feel loved.”

Sure, we want to be charismatic and liked by everyone, but our deepest desire is to feel loved by friends, family, or our spouse.

Humans are tribal, social creatures. We always will be. The key to happiness isn’t a BMW, trips around the world, or ocean-front house in San Diego.

The key to happiness is to be a loving, kind human being.

Thank you for teaching us this since we were kids.

3. Ask why.

You’ve taught me that complacency, not curiosity, kills the cat.

I’ve learned that lack of curiosity equals boredom; boredom equals depression.

If we don’t wonder, if we don’t ask questions, we will take everything at face value. We won’t appreciate why things exist or what is their purpose.

Everything on our planet is beautiful if you just take a few seconds to appreciate it and wonder how it came to be.

You’ve taught me to question everything, dig deeper, and seek alternative perspectives. There is always another side to the story.

4. Laughter is the best medicine.

Dear mom — you have a hidden talent for crossing the line. Yesterday I asked grandma for confirmation.

Your wonderful appetite for sick humor — which I’ve proudly inherited — always leads to two things:

  1. Someone (children, husband, grandparents) getting embarrassed.
  2. You laughing at yourself uncontrollably for 3-5 minutes.

Not just chuckles. But ground-shaking, tears streaming down your face, almost pissing yourself laughing. You laughing uncontrollably over something you said is the best lesson you can teach … without actually saying anything.

Lesson: We all do, say, or think about stupid shit. Learn to laugh it off. It’s more fun to laugh at yourself than take yourself too seriously.

Here’s a case in point from your latest Instagram post:

#dope? Wow. You’re the greatest mom in the world.

5. Give back to your community.

We grew up in a tiny town in Northern Michigan.

Franfort, Michigan

Our town population is 1,287. My high school graduating class had 39 students.

When I graduated high school, I could not WAIT to move somewhere bigger. So I went to the 8th biggest college in the country — Michigan State University.

When I graduated college, I could not WAIT to move somewhere bigger. So I went to the 2nd biggest city in the country — Los Angeles. A few months later I settled in San Diego (where I currently live).

The ironic part is now I can’t WAIT to visit our tiny town in Northern Michigan every summer to escape the big city. The grass is always greener.

What’s beautiful about visiting Frankfort isn’t just the nature (which is breathtaking), but the people. Everyone is genuinely invested more in their community than themselves. And I’ve grown to sincerely admire that about our small the town. Put your community before yourself.

You and dad are the epitome of putting your community first. I know that only myself, but everyone else in Frankfort, sincerely appreciates both of your dedication.

Thank you for helping us all keep a sense of community in our perspective.

6. Don’t mourn death; celebrate life.

Dad, Kelly and Kristin (sisters), and myself have probably heard this 153 times from you, mom:

“When I die, I want you to be happy.

Which inevitably results in one of us staring at you like:

you want us to be happy that you’re dead?

But your logic is flawless and I couldn’t agree more:

“When I die, I want you to be happy. I want balloons and smiles, not mourning and tears. You should celebrate all the wonder things we’re experienced together and not the fact I’m gone from this earth.”

Your logic reminds of a quote from one of my favorite authors:

I’ve faced a fair amount of personal tragedies — family and friends whom have passed away — and I’ve always tried to keep perspective on this thought from my mom.

Don’t cry because they’re gone, smile because they were there.

Thank for you sharing your wisdom, mom.

Thank you, mom.

Mom, I’ve only been alive 26 years, but when you share your wisdom, it makes me feel like I’ve been alive 126 years.

Thank you for everything you’ve taught not only me — but everyone else who has been fortunate enough to know you.

You are the best mom in the world. Happy Mother’s Day.