Friday, October 1, 2010

50 thoughts on living for my baby, 9 hours old

I had a baby today. Esther Eloise Seidel. Essie. 7lbs, 9oz, 19" of incredibleness.

I put together this list a few weeks ago, things I think it'd be good for her to know as she starts life. Not advice, just ideas*. She can be who or whatever she wants to be.
  1. Call bluffs, no matter who's bluffing.
  2. Respect your elders only if they respect you.
  3. Never call people "Mr" or "Miss" or "Sir" or "Ma'am", even if they insist. It's kinda creepy.
  4. Family history is important. Demand to hear the stories that lead up to your life.
  5. Your friends are part of your family. You'll be much closer to the friends than lots of people you share blood with. That's ok. Hug them tightly.
  6. Trust your instincts, but not to a fault. Some things just take time. It's good to be fallible.
  7. Remember the jokes that people tell you. They’ll come in handy in the right situation.
  8. There's almost nothing more important than music.
  9. Learn to play an instrument. You don't need to do it well, but it helps.
  10. Care about how you look, but don’t care about if others care for how you look
  11. Live in New York, Berlin, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, a dusty road long in the middle of Montana. Go lots of elsewheres. But always remember where you’re from, feel something like pride for it. Home matters just as much as any adventure.
  12. Go for long walks alone at night.
  13. Have a large vocabulary, but don’t use it for pretentiousness or wow. Always keep a dictionary close at hand.
  14. Being good at public speaking is important. Being good at private speaking is even more important.
  15. The best teachers are as strict with you as you should be with yourself. They also believe in your talents as much as you should believe in them yourself. Anyone else is just a phony and shouldn't be taken all that seriously.
  16. Revise mercilessly.
  17. Learn by doing, even if all you learn is why you shouldn't do something.
  18. Burning bridges can be ok. You won't need to cross every river more than once. Just never set fires on impulse or out of spite.
  19. Exercise (somehow) daily.
  20. Fool around with lots of men. And/or women. (Once you’re old enough, otherwise your dad will be forced to break some legs.) But keep a sense of wonder and mystery. Once that’s gone, realize you’re doing things wrong and stop. It’s unfair to yourself and others.
  21. Learn the names of and how to identify flora and fauna.
  22. Look up at the sky, but also watch your feet as they move below you so you don’t trip up.
  23. Collect things. But don’t worry about their worldly valuewhat matters is what they mean to only you.
  24. Stare in windows as you pass houses and wonder what life inside must be like. But don't wish to trade your life for whatever you come up with.
  25. For the most part, germs won't hurt you.
  26. Create things. Put every ounce of yourself into it, without worry. Money finds its way to find you in time. Somehow. It’s more important to focus on digging into the itch than to look for the source of it.
  27. Make puns.
  28. Don't be afraid of getting old, be afraid of dying young.
  29. Embrace technology, but know how to live without it, too.
  30. From time to time, sleep places where you feel uncomfortable. Don't psyche yourself out. Comfort can cripple.
  31. Document things somehow.
  32. Never support things you don't believe in. Especially for the sake of convenience, fashion, or taste.
  33. Worry about what people think, but don’t let it trouble you.
  34. Brood often. But not openly or for long. Most things really aren’t such a big deal.
  35. You don’t need religion to be an righteous person.
  36. Old stuff is better than new stuff, but the present is always better than the past.
  37. Cars are evilride your bike or walk or take a train. You'll see more, feel better, and better appreciate the place you are.
  38. Play sports.
  39. Go through a punk rock phase. And a hippie phase. The right way to be is somewhere in the middle.
  40. Ask questions, then question the answers. Always.
  41. Live with dogs.
  42. Learn how to bake bread from scratch.
  43. Never complain about winter, just enjoy its stillness.
  44. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them. And really, really listen, no matter how important or inane it seems.
  45. Drink the good stuff.
  46. Always respond to text messages, emails, phone calls, or whatever they have next. Nothing's ruder than letting people hang.
  47. Read a book a week. Read deep and wide and shallow and narrow.
  48. Never grow up too much.
  49. Ignore everything I've written here and listen to your mother instead. She's a way better & smarter person than I could ever hope to be.
  50. Be good.

* I can't claim to do all these things either. They just seem the ideal way of living.


gforce414 said...

This is so sweet.

But I'm concerned with #27 and how you are openly planning to perpetuate this cycle through your offspring.

ps babies rule.

Sara said...

This is beautiful. Essie is beautiful. Welcome to the best thing you've ever done. ;)

RocLobster said...

I have tears in my eyes as I write this. So. Beautiful:)

Janelle said...

Congratulations! Watch out, Esther will inspire and teach you 50 things herself.

Roxanne said...

Essie will have alot of her father in her and will be as great as he is. I love you Michael.

AMY said...

Brilliantly stated. Should be required reading for every newborn, and possibly every human. Essie's lucky to have it written especially for her!

Tracey Gessner said...

I love this. You guys are going to be such kick ass parents. Also, stop making me want more babies!

c.lorraine said...


jtk said...

FYI I'm out west on my way into yosemite and just read this. gave it some extra brevity. pretty amazing. couldn't be happier for you both. lucky kid to have parents as awesome as you guys.

an epic summer said...

This is beautiful. Esther is lucky to have such great humans as parents. Congrats!

Steve & Kara Green said...

#39! yes!!

congrats guys!!! gonna have to have a play date when im home sometime.

my little dude is due any day now.

-steve green