11 In Thoughts & Observations

Know When to Hold, and Know When to Fold

Yeah, I know it sounds like I’m doing a poker lesson today.  Trust me when I say, I’m so not the girl for that.  Blackjack, maybe.  Poker?  Never.

No, instead I want to talk about rules.  How we create them and let them govern our lives–most of the time without ever realizing they’re there.

Some rules life teaches us right off the bat, and are easy to follow/understand:

  • Don’t touch a hot stove.
  • Don’t fall if you can avoid it.
  • Eat dessert first.

Oh, wait.  That last one might be specific to me.  I digress…

But there are other rules that sneak into our playbook without our realizing it.  Invisible edicts that skew the way we approach our lives.

Some of them are tiny.  Just this morning I watched my kiddos line up to get on the bus, a foot-wide puddle between them and the school bus door.  There was plenty of room to walk over it, and most of the kids did just that.

All of them except my six year-old.

She stomped right in the middle of that bad boy with an ear to ear grin, and then climbed on board the big yellow limousine.

Now, you and I, we know why you don’t stomp in puddles.  Either a) you get your feet wet or b) you track in a bunch of water to the car/house.  But stomping in puddles is FUN!  You could see just how fun it was by the happy, careless abandon on her face.  She hasn’t been tainted by cold, wet socks or dirty floors yet.

The same thing goes for rain.  Yes, when we ladies have our hair all done, or are sporting a nice silk shirt, and it rains, the last thing we want to do is meander beneath the raindrops.  But what about when it’s a rainy Saturday morning and we’ve got nothing better on than bed head and sweats?  Why do we still run through the rain?  Why not stroll and really experience the raindrops on our face?

Then there are the bigger rules.  The really sneaky ones.

I was talking with a life coach I had a few years back about a particularly trick situation I had at work.  (Still have that tricky situation, by the way.)  Namely, why do I put so much freakin’ pressure on myself to do the work of at least two people, when other people are content to just do the work of one?

“My husband says I should be content to just do what’s expected of me like everyone else,” I told my guy.  “I know he’s right, but I keep taking on more.”

My coach looked at me with that deep, meaningful gaze he always managed to conjure up at just the right moment.  (You know…the one that made it ok for me to shell out exorbitant hourly fees.)  “Probably because, somewhere in your life, you created a rule that said you needed to take on more.”

The second the words were out of his mouth, I flashed back to sometime around seventh grade when I brought home my first C.  My dad sat me down, eased back in his recliner, and said, “Rhenna, you’re more than an average child.”



And here I am, forty-six years old, and still trying to ratchet my need to be more than average back.

Do you have rules like this in your life? Are they small?  Big?  Are you even aware they exist?  Are there any you want to change?  Any you want to institute?



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  • Reply
    Marianna Heusler
    October 30, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I went to Catholic School until I was twenty-one, so I was brought up with a lot of rules! And now as a teacher, I have to enforce a ton of them. But I know how to pick my battles. Don’t talk on the stairs has always been a loser for me and, quite frankly, I don’t care (much to the irritation of my fellow teachers). But don’t talk when you’re mouth is full of apple, that’s important. My CPR is sketchy.

  • Reply
    Dave Stovall
    October 30, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Thanks for putting up the question. I wouldn’t call it a rule, more of a compulsion, is to argue in my head with those in my life that I percieve as difficult or holding me back from what I want. At 54, I’m finally able to stop it when it starts.

    • Reply
      October 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      Ah, so I only have 8 more years to go with that one, huh?

  • Reply
    CJ Burright
    October 30, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Despite being labeled a “good girl,” I’ve always chafed under rules with the urge to do my own thing. I won’t break ’em if I think I’ll get in trouble, but if society says a 40-ish gal shouldn’t wear a mini skirt and boots with buckles, I’m so there. My sisters loved Han Solo, so I (obviously) had to go with Luke Skywalker. Hey, it’s okay to go to church and listen to heavy metal, no matter what those old ladies with frowns say. Yep, I’m a real rule-breaker. 🙂

    • Reply
      October 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Girl, I knew I liked you. Bring your biker boots, mini skirts and metal to RWA. I’ll hang with you at the bar any day.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Funny, I missed out on most of those rules, Rhenna. I love the rain and walking in it. I hop in puddles every time I get the chance.
    My rules are more like, 1- Don’t lie. (Unless you absolutely have to, and then make it convincing.)
    2- Be true to yourself. It doesn’t matter if nobody else in the world likes you as long as you like yourself.
    3- Hold onto a real friend and never ever let them go.
    4- Love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor like yourself.
    5- Have fun!

    • Reply
      October 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Excellent rules!

  • Reply
    Gretchen Wing
    November 4, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Rules I realized I have been following for some time, without planning to:

    1. When making a trip from one room of the house to another, always take something along that needs moving so you won’t feel like you wasted the trip (I know–anal, huh?)

    2. Never, ever refuse free food

    3. Always end an email with something more warm and cuddly than “sincerely” or “regards”, even if you don’t know the person

    4. Pure dark chocolate does not count as dessert; it’s a vitamin.

    • Reply
      November 4, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Definitely agree with the dark chocolate one!

  • Reply
    ashlynn pearce
    November 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    okay…I hate rules. Unless we are talking about the kind that get you in jail, I like to buck the system per se. 😉 I wore Motley Crue tees with wranglers and boots in high school. hehe I’ve always marched to my own beat and I raised my kids to do the same. Funny, they never fit in at school largely because of that upbringing. Online school suits them perfectly. They can be who they are without other kids bullying them about it.

    Rules?? There are no freaking rules! 😀

  • Reply
    How Do You Go About Re-Wiring Your Mousetrap? | Rhenna Morgan
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