OKIE IN EXILE — Dear Graduates

Bobby Neal Winters
Bobby Winters

You are now graduating from college in the time of COVID. Nothing is normal; neither New Normal nor otherwise. But there are some eternal things that are happening now: Your parents are proud; your grandparents' hearts fill their chests; you are going off to start on something new.

And if you are like I was, you don’t have a clue. Even though you might be highly educated, there are some things that you may still need to learn.

One of these things — and the quicker you learn it the better off you will be — is how to separate money out for a particular purpose and pretend that you don’t have it until you use it for that purpose.

Get a flower pot or a mayonnaise jar and put your pocket change in it. If you get the urge to buy a lottery ticket, put the money in your flower pot instead. If you get the urge to buy a pack of cigarettes, put the money you would’ve spent in that flower pot.

When you get so much you are nervous having it in the house, put it in the bank. When you get tired of not drawing any interest on it, buy some stock. Whatever. Develop the habit of putting money aside for a fixed-purpose and stick with it. It will work better if it is a small amount done on a regular basis.

Exercise on a regular basis. Not strenuously for hours once a week because you won’t do it. Do twenty minutes a day. Every day. Make it a thing. You don’t have to buy any equipment; you don’t have to get a membership at the Y, although that is a fine thing if you actually use it. My personal choice is walking. Walking is free by the way and you get to keep engaged with your surroundings. But do a little bit everyday.

You only get one body. That is it. You really need to take care of it. Regardless of how well you take care of your body, you will die one day. That can’t be helped. But your body needs to be used. Think of it as being an old car for which they no longer make parts. You have to take care of the ones there are.

Negotiate for yourself. This doesn’t mean to be a jerk. Indeed, the best negotiations are done civilly. Pick the words that fit your style, but engage in give and take. This might come naturally to you, but most likely it won’t. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to look stupid. Actually, try to give up being afraid just as a matter of course.

Don’t be afraid to turn and walk away. This part is easier if you’ve taken my first bit of advice about saving money. Know yourself; know what you can do. Know your own value.

There are lots of other things that you don’t know, but if you can do even one of what I’ve said, you will be better off.

Go forth and be a good person.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like'' the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook. Search for him by name on YouTube.