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Rest When You Die

I had a friend who used to say, “Rest when you die. You’re gonna be dead for a long, long time.” What she failed to mention is that if you never rest, there’s a good chance that you’re going to die sooner than someone who stops for a rest now and then. This got me thinking about slogans and quotes and words of wisdom in general, and what an absurd pile of conflicting advice they can be. Sometimes I think famous people just say lots of stuff that makes them sound smart, and other people repeat it over and over until they are deemed to be words of wisdom. I googled some quotes in hopes of finding that they are in fact as wise as they are touted to be.

"Take rest; a field that has rested yields a beautiful crop." What a beautiful and inspiring quote that is. I also found, “Rest when you’re dead,” on the very next page. I suppose they could both be right, but it seems unlikely. I’ve also heard a lot of sayings about giving it everything that you’ve got, but everything seems like a lot to me.

I’ve heard at least a few variations of, “All things in moderation,” but I’ve also heard literally dozens of quotes that fall into the realm of, “Just do it,” or “No one ever drowned in sweat,” followed by, “Take time to reflect on your accomplishments.” So, do you see my point? Am I supposed to do all things in moderation, or am I supposed to go balls to the wall. One of those damn ideas is incorrect and people much wiser than me are supposed to be guiding me just a tad better than simply covering all their bases. It seems to me that the words of wisdom folks have a hundred percent chance of being correct if their directions are, “You need to go left, right, forward, backwards and just stay where you are.” Do you get my point? The wise author of those directions was absolutely correct, at least once.

Rest when you die!

One of my favorite quotes is, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” This is an all-inclusive saying that mixes giving it all you’ve got while having fun and enjoying yourself. It seems like it’s the one piece of advice where everything is covered… except for the moderation thing.

George Carlin said, “The planet is fine. The people are #&@!” And Louis Armstrong sang, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” Both men are highly touted and respected and talented artists, but again… wonderful or #&@!? Which is it?

I saw a poster that said, “Stand up and speak your voice,” and then I saw a quote that said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” Over the past few years, I’ve seen literally thousands of people marching and yelling in the streets and chattering on the news and on the internet about standing up and speaking up, and telling everyone who does not agree with them to never miss a good chance to shut up. Now, that’s really covering all the bases, but it doesn’t really clear anything up for me. Should I speak up or be quiet? And who is supposed to be the person who gets to make that decision?

Edgar Allen Poe said, “Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see,” but I’m certain that we’ve all heard the saying, “Seeing is believing.” According to Poe, seeing is believing only about half of the time.

Rest when you die. That’s the stupidest advice that I ever listened to, and I listened to it for way too long.

This all leads me to think of the slogan, “Just trust your instincts.” To find out what all the wise people said about the instinct’s thing, I googled it and it seems that I’m wrong for ever questioning my instincts. That sounds a bit extreme and egotistical for me to believe that my instincts are so amazing that they are never to be questioned, but that’s the consensus. Of course, these are the same people who said, rest when you're dead and a field that has rested yields a beautiful crop. At this moment in time, my instincts are telling me that most of these people are full of crap to a certain degree, or at the very least, full of themselves (which might be the same thing). “Always trust your instincts.” Are you on crack? My advice would be to listen to your instincts with the understanding that they are sometimes wrong. For some people, they are often wrong. I have to tell you that there have been more than a few times that my instincts were incorrect and should not have been trusted. There’s been more than one time in the islands when I was sitting at a Caribbean bar and I thought, “What could one more drink hurt?” I assure you that trusting my instincts when I waved to the bartender was not the correct way to go.

I hope I’ve cleared up any confusion that you may have had about conflicting advice. Just remember, don’t take life too seriously, but everything isn’t a joke. And the way to success is to outwork the competition, but make sure that you rest along the way and don’t burn yourself out. You should never give up, but you need to know when to quit. And remember to speak up and shut up. Apparently, whichever way you go, there’s a quote to back you up. Last but not least, without exception, always trust your instincts. I couldn’t find anyone other than me who went against that advice, but it still doesn’t sound right.

It's been said that even a broken clock is correct twice a day. That’s sort of how I look at quotes and slogans and advice from the folks we’re supposed to listen to. Almost all of it is correct for a couple minutes a day. You just need to know which two minutes in a twenty-four-hour day to apply each particular piece of advice to. Like they say, timing is everything, and now is the time. Man, being a grownup is hard, but the good news is that I have read that growing up is overrated and that we should cling to our inner child. In fact, some people say that we should never grow up. I guess I’ll just blaze my own trail and follow the path in front of me and… well, this could go on forever.


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