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xxii. advice

Updated: Aug 5, 2018

(an excerpt from "Sixteen/Twelve/Ten/Eighteen: Stories That Knit a Community Together")


By Kaylie-Ann Flannigan

In other words, you can’t worry you just gotta live. Respect yourself. Don’t ever let it be okay for anybody to disrespect you. If you live right, you’re going to be right.


Have fun. Have fun. ‘Cause life goes by too fast. Have fun. Enjoy it. Be careful, but enjoy it. I always tell my kids be safe, have fun, but be safe. Enjoy life.


Be true to yourself. If you’re not happy no one else is going to be. The only two that you can really trust to take care of you is yourself and the Lord. That’s it. You can’t depend on others. I have found that out the hard way – over and over and over again. Now I just depend on myself. And that’s it.


I like to quote Phoebe Bell, one of our former members and good friend. She always said: “You have to think positively. Never dwell on negative thoughts.” That was Phoebe’s philosophy, and it served her well for ninety-five years.


There are certain things you cannot change. You have to accept, live with and work around it. It is the same with people. My approach is: work hard, be honest and don't take things for granted. 


Follow your heart. Be true to yourself and the rest will work out. You have to be true to yourself and just follow your heart and your dreams. I’m in a total different place than I was forty years ago. Life is what you make it. You only have once in this lifetime to try to do it right. So, I guess that would be it: follow your dreams, follow your heart, and hopefully you’ll be right.


I would say do something important: however you want read that. I think people need to have something that they feel that they have contributed, or that has made them feel really good. Do something important. Whatever that is. You don’t have to be chair of the board of trustees at UVM, I don’t mean that kind of important.


The things that come to mind are pretty simplistic. One is to count your blessings and appreciate what you have. Even if somebody were really down in the dumps I’d say “Okay, well, things look pretty grim, but let’s look at the assets in your life, and don’t let those get buried while you work on what might be really dragging you down.” This, I got from my parents – community service, giving back. You don’t really fully appreciate what you have unless you are aware of and helping people who don’t have what you have. I think those would be my basic tenants: volunteerism and appreciating the things that are going well in your life and the benefits that you’ve had. That’s elementary, but maybe the best things are as simple as really appreciating the blessings you have and making sure you’re giving back by sharing your talents and your time.


Try to be a moral, ethical, and good person. Always keep other people in mind – it’s community on some level. There’s always help out there one way or another; there are friends or services. Try to do what you want to do as long as it’s not hurting somebody else. Try as much as you can but be responsible. It’s kind of knowing who you are.


About the author: Kaylie-Ann Flannigan considers herself a professional dabbler and she exercises curiosity in a multitude of mediums. A sociologist at heart, she enjoys collecting stories and writing about folks in our vast and magnificent world. Her featured work focuses on the importance of intergenerational storytelling and her current project centers around people and planes. Kaylie is a Vermont native living in New York City, where she works full time as a flight attendant and has way too many roommates.


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