Neil had a way of teaching me things. Sometimes I learned from him, other times I learned because of him, but in retrospect he was pretty wise. Here are seven of his life lessons we should all remember.
1. Don’t be afraid. Be reasonable, but don’t be afraid – to try something new, to go somewhere alone, to make a new friend, to do what you want.
2. Be compassionate to everyone – young people, old people, tattooed people, long-haired people, smokers, drinkers, drug users, folks in jail – because underneath it all they’re just people like us. No one is perfect, and every one of us is human and flawed, yet God loves us all. We should love each other.
3. You cannot control anyone but yourself, and you cannot know what is best for anyone but yourself. Spend time becoming the best person you can be and you won’t have time to worry about anyone else.
4. Each of us is in charge of our own happiness. No “if only he/she did this/that I could be happy.” Find your own happy.
5. Don’t take everything so seriously. Laugh, play, have fun, watch clouds, waste time every now and then just talking to friends, or watching a bug at work. There is humor and beauty everywhere; you just have to look for it.
6. Life is an adventure. No matter how much you want to plan it all out and predict what tomorrow will bring, you just can’t. Don’t waste time trying. You are not in control.
7. Learn from your mistakes and then let them go. You can’t change the past, but you can use it to be better in the future.
8. And some of his great one-liners:
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
“If you don’t go to school you’ll end up a mule.”
“Good night, Irene” is applicable in all situations.
And don’t call me Shirley.