Rules for a happy and successful life…

Sitting on a cold metal chair with a swish of melamine buckling me to a seat is where I sat when I realized who I was.

The high school students around me buzzed with excitement over acceptance letters. Stanford, Harvard, Berkley. 

I was going to Spokane Falls Community College.

That was unheard of in my Advance Placement english class. 

To forgo the respected college institutions and go to a community college was… well… not done.

“Why are you even in this class if you are just going to waste it there,” I was asked over and over.

I knew who I was, I knew what I wanted, and I felt that I would find it at SFCC. SFCC had one of the best photography programs in the country.

And since I was going to be a war photojournalist, the best photo program was where I should be.

Regardless of my internal convictions, I still hated sitting in that cold metal seat listening to the other students.

It was the last few weeks of school and we all had senioridice. High School learning was over, we were all more than ready for our new lives.

With extreme effort, Mrs. Lake silenced the class.

She had put together a week of assignments for us. We would be analyzing, but not the works of high literary merit like we had earlier in the year, instead we would be analyzing ourselves.

She had a list of assignments, all requiring “deep” (as deep as an 18-year-old can be) introspection. One of the assignments asked for us to come up with 10 rules for a happy and successful life.

That night while working my extremely slow shift in the housewares department at Sears my list of ten rule became twenty. Twenty became the sixty which lead to the final 107 rules.

Some are funny, some poignant but all of them say something about the girl I was that day in English class, and the woman I would become.

Fast forward seven years, here I sit on a cushy leather chair with a solid wood desk wrapped around me retyping those rules. Three of my closest friends have babies, and many of my friends are starting off new journeys, so I am offering up my rules for the first time. Feel free to laugh or disagree, and please add your own as I send them one by one out via twitter. www.twitter.com/alsmithphoto

Here is the #1

1) See the world for what it truly is… not what you believe it should be.


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