Life with A View: Not all advice is the best advice

Mel Stephens

We’ve talked a lot about life and advice over the last several months that I’ve been contributing to Main Street Fairview. I’ve shared with you a lot of things I’ve learned over the years, for better or worse, and I’ll keep sharing these nuggets of wisdom as they make themselves known to me. But this got me to thinking about some of the not so great advice I’ve gotten in my lifetime.

Have you ever gotten some advice that, well-meaning though it may be, is not always helpful? Not only is it not helpful, but often it’s just plain incorrect as it pertains to your life. Today, I want to include a few of those cliched pearls of wisdom that, as far as I’m concerned, we can retire once and for all.

If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Once upon a time, I believed this. I can tell you that I now do what I have always dreamed of doing. I am a full-time writer and I do love it. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do what I love. But I think I work more and work harder now than I ever did doing anything else. There are still days that I want to throw my hands up in frustration and walk away. It’s still work. But when it’s something you love, it makes the tough days a little more bearable.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

This may be technically true, but we also get a first chance to make a second impression. I’ve met people over the years that based on first impressions, I wasn’t fond of and I know many people have felt the same way about me. However, sometimes something magical happens when we get to know a person. We can realize we misjudged them. Which is great for people like me who get anxious meeting people for the first time. Sometimes, I clam up which some interpret as me being snobby or rude. When in reality, I’m just busy running down the laundry list of reasons why the person I’m meeting couldn’t possibly ever like me.

The early bird gets the worm.

Got up early. Can confirm there is no worm. Or maybe I just never got up early enough. Are we talking like 3 or 4 a.m.? If so, I guess I will just never know. Those birds can just keep the worm because somehow, I’ve managed to keep finding worms at all hours of the day. I don’t think it matters what time of day you start your search for worms. What matters is that you keep searching and keep trying. Also, worms are gross.

Everything happens for a reason.

This piece of advice often comes at a very difficult moment. I’ve heard it given after people have lost loved ones or experienced one tragedy or another. It’s often said we may not ever understand the reason while we exist on this earthly plane. Here’s the thing. I think sometimes this advice makes sense. One of my favorite pieces of advice that I’ve ever been given is ‘rejection is often protection from things and people not meant for us.’ When we look back in hindsight, sometimes we can see why we ended up where we did. But can we all just agree to stop using this in reference to any sort of tragedy in life? Because as much as we want there to be an explanation, sometimes there just isn’t one.

You’ll find love when you stop looking/least expect it.

Again, this is one that could be true. Some people find the love of their life at the grocery store when they’re not looking for anything but a gallon of milk. But the reality is, if you take this advice too literally, you might find yourself sitting on the couch elbow deep into a bag of Cheetos and waiting for that special person to just materialize in your living room. Should you obsess over it and focus solely on that? Absolutely not. But should you put yourself out there and be active in a life you love while you wait? Heck yeah!

Time heals all wounds.

This is often attributed to people who lose someone and anyone who has lost someone they love can attest that this is entirely untrue. There are some voids that can never be filled and some wounds that can never be healed. Grief isn’t a linear process. With the passage of time, the ache might dull, but without warning we can be thrown back into a sea of grief and despair. Instead of this oldie but not so goodie, I tell people to be gentle with themselves. Let yourself feel what you need to and know there is no ‘normal’ way to grieve.

Now that I’ve shared with you a few of the pearls I don’t love, I want to leave you with one that has always rang true for me.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

So often we set out with a goal and we might plug away and away and away at that goal when life throws us a curveball that takes us totally off course. But sometimes those detours are exactly what we need. Sometimes those little off-road journeys take us right where we needed to be.


About Mel Stephens

A born and raised Fairview girl, Mel Stephens is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in publications like Medium, Thought Catalog and The Mighty. She is also a mental health advocate, podcast host and drinker of lattes. Mel lives in Fairview with her husband and five (yes, five) fur children where she is probably currently re-watching The Office for the 734th time. For more uplifting content and lots of dog and cat photos, you can follow @musiccitymel on all social media platforms. You can also drop Mel a line to


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