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Book review: 30 Lessons for Living by Karl Pillemer

I had been listening to this audiobook on 30 Lessons for Living. 

The book recorded and summarized the advice from the old and wise about marriage, family, career and health. 

Who are these people giving the advice? Very old Americans (above 65 years old) who had lived through very difficult times such as wars and recessions. The author noted how many of them did not feel they were qualified to give advice and felt their advice would be considered outdated. However, I agreed with the author that these people who had survived long enough will be able to weigh in on what truly matters in life. 

There are many pointers that I love and agreed with and here is my pick of 3 top pieces of advice.  

No 1: To exercise regularly and take care of your health when you are young. 
Many people argued that I do not want to live a long life anyway so there is no need to take care of my body. The "wise" advice dismissed this as being silly as it is not that easy to die and before that happens you have to deal with a failing body. Taking care of our body will ensure that you can enjoy more comfortable years before your body starts failing and everyday things become more challenging. 
I feel this is really really true and had been sticking to my exercise every day. I compare my own parents and my in-laws and how much more reassurance my parents gave me as their health is better and how they are still able to play with my kids. My father-in-law had a stroke before while my mother-in-law had bad knees. They cannot really walk long distances so we had limited choice of activities while my parents would gamely decide to bring my girls for a staycation on their own, bringing them to the beach and meals around the hotel. 
I feel I want to be that kind of old parent for my daughters next time, to be less of a burden and in fact be able to pay it forward for what my parents had done for me. Chipping in and giving them ease of mind.  

No 2: Spend as much time with your child as you possibly can. 
From the book: "the quality of relationships with children is directly proportional to the amount of time spent together" and "Because otherwise, you don’t really have a clue what their direction is, what they like and don’t like, and what they want to give their time to and what they’re doing with it."
It is not about the type of activities that you are doing with them but rather just the time spent that they will remember when they are older. It is also the time spent observing them and understanding their interests. 
So far, I am using this advice to convince myself that all this time spent will be worthwhile as it is something that I cannot ask for once the time has passed. This is a work in progress given that an increase in the quantity of time does not result in a proportional increase in the quality of the time spent together. 

No 3: To not hit your child. Apparently, no one who had done it felt it is effective or felt about using this form of punishment. Instead, the wise advice is to be firm, set limits and teach moral values. This also tied in with their other lesson that being a parent is a lifelong journey. There is no perfect parent but just strives to be a good enough parent. 

Spending more time with my child, makes me learn so much more about myself.  I constantly questioned myself if I had done or not done enough to have resulted in certain behaviours. To this observation, my parents will always smile at me and tell me how we will never know exactly how or when a child will have a response. They told me that even if the child is alright now, maybe the child will start to have issues with you later or perhaps you are lucky and this is the hardest part. 

I gather courage that by following these 3 advice, I will be a good enough parent and will be able to continue to grow and be a better person. 

The book also talked about career advice however I felt I needed to hear parenting advice more strongly than those at this moment in my life. Do pick up this book and have a read too.