Yup. You read that title right. You definitely shouldn’t be listening to me.
Why, you ask?
Well, would you listen to someone who screws things up? Would you take advice from someone who has made her fair share of bad decisions?
(I’m hoping that by now you kinda get the direction I’m going with this, and that you haven’t given up on me yet.)
Still here? Good. Because this part is worth sticking around for.
I have definitely made mistakes through my 30-some years on this planet. But, I make a point to learn from those mistakes, and my hope is that by sharing both the mistakes and lessons learned, you can gain something from my experience.
While this blog post isn’t long enough to cover every mistake I’ve ever made (I’d need a book for that), I do want to share a few key lessons.
I try to have an optimistic outlook on life, see beyond the clouds and not dwell on the craptastic parts of life.
However, no matter what your life outlook, if you’re not looking out for yourself in this world, you can sure as hell bet ain’t no one else lookin’ out for you (terrible grammar intended).
Look out for number one. Make sure that you have your needs covered before you go focusing on anyone else… because rainbows and ponies aren’t going to put a roof over your head and food on your plate, or get you where you really want to go in life.
I always secretly laughed at anyone who recommended keeping a separate bank account from your spouse once you got married. Scoffing, I thought to myself, “but my marriage is going to last forever. We’re in love, and that’s all that matters. Til death and all that jazz.”
Hmm. See anything wrong with that picture? Yeah, I thought so.
The good news in my case is that I have an incredibly awesome ex-husband, and my situation turned out okay. There are lots of people who can’t say the same.
CYA, honey. You can still have a rosy outlook on life, but it’s always good to have a plan for when things aren’t so hot.
2. Don’t assume
My mom always used to tell me, “don’t assume; it makes an ass out of you and me.” (ass = u + me). I used to roll my eyes at her when she said things like that; funny how our moms get so wise once we get older.
This one has bitten me in the ass more than once recently.
In Virginia, a name change is no longer included in the divorce declaration. (No matter how many times you bring it up with the attorney).
This one cost me at least a month of running back and forth to the clerk’s office, trying desperately to get my name change paperwork official, so that I could move on with my life.
Second example, same situation:
Don’t assume that when your husband hires an attorney for “both” of you, that she gives a damn about anyone but him. I found out this the hard way, when “our” attorney refused to speak with me about the case.
Again, awesome ex – things turned out fine… but. It could have been a bad situation.
3. Measure twice, cut once
My dad is a jack of all trades; he makes his living as a woodworker – cabinet and furniture maker, restores old houses, builds new ones, etc. He taught me this one, and it has always stuck with me.
That being said, I interpret it in a different way these days.
Always double check your information. And?
Read the damn instructions.
This one bit me in the ass with the DMV. It took me three trips to get my name updated on my license, and countless painful hours waiting in line and arguing with clerks before I was successful.
The reason this time? Well, I assumed (see #2) that since the Social Security Administration took my divorce decree as enough proof of a name change, that the DMV would as well.
Do me a favor – before you head to any government establishment to do anything, make sure that you know exactly what paperwork they require, and the steps you need to follow.
4. Finally: trust yourself
My favorite lesson of all has to be when I knew the steps I needed to take, and I listened to the Clerk of the Court who said, “no, I don’t need a copy of the decree. All I need is this form.”
Well, he *was* the clerk of the court. He must know what he’s doing, right?
Fast forward a month, and having to resubmit my paperwork because it was… wait for it… missing a copy of the decree. Mmmhmm.
Now you know why you shouldn’t listen to me. Maybe you got a laugh out of my debacles… but what I really hope is that you have at least learned something from my mistakes.
Because if I can save you from making the same mistakes… then I’ve done something good.
One more saying, just for the heck of it: Fool me once…
Care to share in the merriment? Leave a comment with a life lesson learned below, or hit me up on twitter, Google+. I would love to learn something from you, too!