Three Things You Really Need in Life, According to My Mother
Her three-pronged approach for navigating life.
Like most Southern mothers, mine is quick to give advice. As a fitness instructor, she's dishes out inspirational one-liners to her classes on a daily basis. She's the only person I know who truly loves a burpee, and she'll complete each rep of the exercise alongside her class, coaching them through the grueling motions with an uncontainable enthusiasm. During spin classes, she yells out motivational phrases in between the choruses of upbeat songs on a carefully curated playlist that's aimed to take the group's minds off the fact that they're climbing up a Kilimanjaro-size hill for the next seven minutes. Needless to say, I always leave her classes impressed (and exhausted).
I've gathered a mental collection of advice that my mom has delivered—whether on purpose or not—over the years. Some of her tips are practical: "If there's one thing you can accomplish every day, it's making your bed." Other times, she channels classic Southern characters and will brush off any unnecessary, melodramatic worry I bring to her with the simple reminder, "Tomorrow is another day, Scarlett." On the fitness front, she's convinced that "Squats and lunges are the keys to life," but I think the jury is still out on that one.
My brother and I agree, though, that there's one piece of advice she's etched into our heads more than the others. It's a phrase she's picked up somewhere along the way and turned into her motto: "There are only three things you really need in life: something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to love." She's eager to repeat it when my brother and I reach new chapters of our lives; every time, we realize again how applicable it is. And a call or visit home offers all three.