The Twenty Commandments for Living
By Mila Bernadkin
"Live moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
~ Ferris Bueller
Life should come with a user’s manual, instructing us step by step on how to live it. Then we’d always know what to expect and what to watch out for. We’d embrace the good things that come our way and prevent the bad things from happening. We’d never make any mistakes, and even if we made some, we’d know how to correct them. We’d always succeed and never fail. If we at least had a handbook with a set of rules and some tips on how not to break them, we’d know what we can and can’t do, should and shouldn’t say. There’d be no hurt, no pain, no problems in the world, and life would be perfect.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a user’s manual or a handbook. There are no instructions, no tips. That’s why we screw up, break the rules, make mistakes, get hurt, and have lots and lots of problems. That’s why we do things we wish we hadn’t and say things we regret later.
Regrettably, there’s no user-friendly machine that can erase everything we’re sorry for or ashamed of, and we can’t press the rewind button so we can go back and start all over again. We can never go back to the way we were.
If we could know where and when we might fall, we’d throw a pillow under our knees right before it happened. If we could know when we were going to die, we’d never keep our calendars clear for that day. Instead, we’d look into other options and make other plans that would keep us far away when death came.
We can never know what’s ahead. Life is unpredictable. It’s like a deck of cards. You never know what cards you’re going to pick or what hand will be dealt. Life deals us cards, and we have to deal back.
We search for things, we look for people. Sometimes they’re useless things and the wrong people, so we start our quest over and try again. We have lots of questions we need answers to. Sometimes we get them, sometimes we don’t. We learn many new things, but there’s always more to learn.
Life is full of surprises—good and bad. Some of us succeed and then fail, others struggle and then get lucky. Sometimes we can build a life, and sometimes we have no control over it. Some live the way they choose to because they can, others live the only way they can because they don’t have a choice.
Life can be easy or tough, sweet or bitter; life can be full or empty, interesting or boring; life can be fun or duty, joy or obligation; life can be happy or miserable, a blessing or a curse. One thing is sure: Life as we live it is not black and white—it’s mostly grey, and it’s up to us to make it more colorful.
We can’t just wait for what we want; we have to go for it and get it. We don’t know how much time we have on this earth. Let’s just make the most of it. Let’s try the best we can to make this time and this experience we call LIFE more meaningful.
I’ve decided to invent my own list of tips and directions to a successful and happy life, based on my own experience and on what I’ve learned from the people around me.
If you don’t like the hand you’ve been dealt, deal with it anyway.
If you want the horseshoe to bring you luck, work as hard as a horse.
If you want your relationship to last, compromise.
If you see your life as a piano keyboard (black and white), improvise.
The Twenty Commandments for Living:
1. Accept and embrace life as it comes, but do your best to make it better.
2. Accept and like yourself the way you are, but remember: there’s always room for improvement.
3. Be good to yourself and life will be good to you.
4. Always be yourself and never change just to please somebody. An original of yourself is better than a copy of someone else.
5. Reevaluate your attitude and try to adjust it according to different life situations.
6. Don’t underestimate the power of education; gather information, always be prepared, study hard, and learn as much as you can, because the more you know, the less you don’t know. Apply your knowledge to all aspects of life. Remember: intelligence is the key to success.
7. Accept challenges, trust in your abilities, and never give up. It’s not being the best that’s important—it’s trying your best.
8. Realize your dream and hold on to it tight—never let it go. It’s not that hard to get to the top, but it’s hard to stay there.
9. Never judge a book by its cover—its contents might surprise you. Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged.
10. Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today because today’s already here, but there’s no guarantee that tomorrow will come.
11. Think hard before you do something you might regret later and can’t undo.
12. Never agree with someone if you really don’t agree. Defend your point of view or your position; always stand by your principles and fight for what you believe in.
13. Don’t settle for the one you’re with; wait for the one you can’t be without.
14. Help someone today and someone will help you tomorrow. Pay it forward.
15. Always treat people the way you want to be treated. Remember: what goes around comes around, so be nice to everyone.
16. Learn how to forgive and forget. Everyone deserves a second chance, so give it before it’s too late.
17. Always have your priorities straight. Otherwise, you might miss out on something important for something that doesn’t mean a thing.
18. Remember the past, think of the present, and dream about the future.
19. Always appreciate and treasure your loved ones and never be afraid to show your true feelings and affection. It’s worth the effort.
20. Appreciate and enjoy every second you have on earth because life is too short.
Every moment we have on this earth is a miracle. Life is a moment in time between birth and death, and this moment is the greatest miracle of all. Let’s cherish this moment in time.
Let’s celebrate this miracle called LIFE.