From Bananas to Boys: 7 Rules to Live By

By Jessica Jaksich

Just over a month ago, I wrote a blog about graduating college, finding a job and moving back home. Today, I’m apartment hunting and furniture shopping (read: shoe shopping) to prepare for my new career and new home in New York City. That’s right, I’m moving out and moving on to the next chapter in my book … Working Girl in the Big Apple.

As I stress and panic over how I’m going to fit my ever-expanding wardrobe into a few suitcases, I must remind myself that my most important assets don’t need to be packed.

When I board the flight for NYC in a few short weeks, I will carry with me 22 years worth of memories, mistakes, successes, laughs, tears and lessons learned.

In just the past four years alone, I have lived in Atlanta, northern Wisconsin, Paris and Manhattan. All of these experiences have prepared me to take on the Big City on my own.

That being said, I have learned my most valuable lessons without stepping foot outside my house. Over the years, my family has ingrained several key phrases and facts in my mind, and these Words of Wisdom will surely follow me on my journey to New York.

Without further ado, here are my Top 7 rules to Live By, coined by my very own parents (and their favorite musicians).

Never lose a best friend over a boy.

In fourth grade, my bestie and I had a crush on the same boy. When I presented this predicament to my Mom over afternoon snack, she responded without hesitation: “There will always be another a boy. Crushes come and go, but best friends are for life.” As I’ve grown older, and crushes have turned to hook-ups and boyfriends, her answer has stayed the same. Whether it means giving up a guy because he was rude to my friend, or letting my BFF date my ex-fling, I do my best to put my girlfriends first.

This too shall pass.

Inherited from my Mom’s Mom, this phrase taught me that no problem is permanent. Every storm comes to an end, and every obstacle can be overcome in due time. My Dad once said: “I am constantly amazed by the resilience of the human race” — and I have never forgotten it. We can conquer anything if we refuse to give up.

If you get the choice to sit it out or dance — you dance.

Shout-out to one of my fave country singers, Lee Ann Womack, and our Mother-Daughter song “I Hope You Dance.” This phrase has several meanings in our house. First, my Mom passed down her love and passion for dance to my sister and I. When the music starts, we just can’t stop. She also taught us to take nothing for granted, to take advantage of each day and every opportunity.

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.

My Mom’s catchy way of saying that easy girls can’t expect to be treated well by guys. In today’s hook-up culture, guys (and girls) can have access to all the physical perks of a romantic relationship, without any of the romance or commitment. (See my first blog on “the Age of the Hook-Up” for more info).  My Mom has always begged me to respect myself, and demand that I be treated right. She says that being alone is better than being with the wrong guy, so never settle for less than the best. The right guy will kiss the ground you walk on.

The miraculous power of a good banana …

My Mom has always been a firm believer in the banana. Whether it’s an upset stomach, period cramps or test anxiety, her response: “Eat a banana.” Early mornings before the ACT, or late nights pouring over biology books, she always suggested this wondrous fruit. You can guess what my first food purchase will be in New York …

E.T. phone home

I remember hiding in the bathroom at one of my first co-ed parties, whispering to my mom on the phone because the other kids were watching a Rated-R movie (what a loser, I know). Ten years later and not much has changed. My parents have always wanted to be Number One on speed dial. No matter how much trouble I think I’ll be in, I can and should ALWAYS call home.

We all need somebody to lean on.

It’s okay to need help. Regardless of how strong and independent we may be, sometimes we just can’t face the day alone. My parents always said: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and never turn your back on a friend in need.” I know where to go when I need a shoulder to cry on, or a hand to hold, and I know my friends and family feel the same.

So, before you can read this blog twice, I’ll be off to New York and starting my job. While I’m feeling extreme butterflies at the thought of it, I know my incredible upbringing has prepared me for this next step.

With good music, good friends, a lot of courage and a few bananas by my side, I’ve got a feeling I can take on whatever obstacles the real world may throw my way.

Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare: Jessica Jaksich is GW’s Social Media Editor, and a (very) recent graduate of Emory University.  


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