“Fare thee well now, Let your life proceed by its own design, Nothing to tell now, let the words be yours, I’m done with mine.” – John Perry Barlow (Cassidy)
I don’t remember where I saw them first, John Perry Barlow’s 25 Principles of Adult Behavior. I was 18 or 19 years old well before the days of copiers, computers, and printers. I wrote all 25 down in a spiral notebook and kept the folded up page in my little red strong box along with my other valuables of old pennies, Indian Arrowheads and sharks teeth. But somewhere over the last 39 years I lost that scrap of paper though the other treasures made it through the time warp of living.
John Perry Barlow, American poet, essayist, cattle rancher and lyricist for the Grateful Dead died yesterday at the age of 70 and among the many tributes came this little nugget of wisdom that he shared back in 1977, a gem that sadly took his death for me to rediscover.
I shared it with my children last night in an email, text that they can today, print or copy, post on Facebook or Instagram, manipulate, maneuver, and rearrange in ways I couldn’t have even imagined in 1979. The thing is, despite all of our modern advances John’s words, John’s wisdom now 41 years old are just as relevant today as they were then. Let me know if you agree;
- Be patient. No matter what.
- Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him in the same language and tone of voice.
- Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
- Expand your sense of the possible.
- Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
- Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
- Tolerate ambiguity.
- Laugh at yourself frequently.
- Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
- Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
- Give up blood sports.
- Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
- Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
- Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
- Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
- Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
- Praise at least as often as you disparage.
- Admit your errors freely and soon.
- Become less suspicious of joy.
- Understand humility.
- Remember that love forgives everything.
- Foster dignity.
- Live memorably.
- Love yourself.
“We don’t own this place, though we act as if we did, It’s a loan from the children of our children’s kids. The actual owners haven’t even been born yet.
But we never tend the garden and rarely we pay the rent, Some of it is broken and the rest of it is bent, Put it all on plastic and I wonder where we’ll be when the bills hit.” – John Perry Barlow (We Can Run But We Can’t Hide)