GOSH, e-mail is a wonderful thing. I've never been showered with so much wisdom and humour every week. Before e-mail, you had to go and search your book shop's self-help aisles for inspiration, or read between the lines of a religious text.
But I have dozens of friends who dedicate a goodly part of their day to ferreting out and then sending me – and a million others on their contact list – the final say on the meaning of life.
Or not – but it's always worth a read.
I don't delete those types of mails. And my fancy-pants computer doesn't dump them in junk folders either. Like it knows I needed to read that today. Like it had a feeling I would be a nicer person afterwards.
My favourite correspondents in this department, are Penny, Joan and Jean – all gorgeous grandmothers who, heaven knows how, find this stuff and forward it charitably to frazzled, fed-up working moms in their lives.
Honestly? You don't need a degree in psychotherapy – or a life prescription for happy pills – to "get" this stuff and just have a better day because you did.
These are my best.
If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
I'm all for truth, but there's nothing more comforting than a friend hesitating just a wee bit when you reveal your retro disco plans for next year's 40th. It's a bad idea: she knows it, you know it, but she's not going to rub your nose in it.
If you lend someone R20 and never see them again, it was probably worth it.
The bucks you've lost to your cousin's sister's former roommate – which he's always going to give you back every time you spot him skulking at your local store – is paltry compared to the resentment you're building up about it. Let it go. You'd have spent it on cheap lipstick, anyhow.
Some days I'm the pigeon and some days I'm the statue.
If only our kids understood comically complex analogies such as these. In the age of helicopter parenting, we spend far too much "wine time" trying to spare little people's feelings, teaching high-brow conflict resolution and layering their lives (and ours) in protective wads of cottonwool.
Stuff happens. There isn't a thing you can do about it.
Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die before you finish it. It's like wearing clean panties before going on a long road trip, or blowing your nose before going to the dentist. Your reputation has little to do with how well you manage while standing upright and going about your daily business; the truth will out when you're unconscious or no longer in control.
Leave a legacy that makes you look good; be a towering memory of hygiene and smartness.
Life should be simple, not a giant cross to bear. It's like the story of the stress management consultant who fooled her clients with the old "half a glass of water" story. When she held it up, they assumed she would ask who saw it as half empty or half full.
Instead, she asked how heavy it was. They all had a guess, but they were wrong. It didn't matter how heavy the actual weight was, she said. If she held it for a minute, that glass was light as a feather. But for an hour? A ton of bricks.
And if she stood holding it for a whole day, she'd probably need minor surgery.
It's like burdens, she explained.
The longer you carry them, the heavier they get.