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I recently heard the Socrates quote, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and I instantly knew that I had a new life mantra (to add to my vast library of life mantras, ha!). I’ve long held to the belief that regular examination and reflection are key components of intentional, purposeful living. When I take time to ponder how life is going, how I’m doing, and what I’m learning, I experience a renewed sense of meaning and feel empowered to face all that is ahead of me in the coming days, weeks, or even years.

This might sound pretentious, and sometimes it can be. But it is also a practice as prosaic as life itself. Not all examination will be earth-shattering, but even the smallest lessons and realizations can build upon each other to make a life that is worth living—and, for that matter, a blog post worth reading!

1. “A bit marmite” means “you either love it or hate it.”

A caller used this expression to describe a book on a podcast I was listening to, and I had to look up the phrase’s meaning. I’ve never had Marmite, so I don’t have an opinion on the condiment itself, but I adore this idiom and might need to add it to my vocabulary. (Though it might not sound as quaint coming from me, with my American accent.)

2. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that children are secured in a government-approved car seat during a flight.

When preparing for our flight to California last month, we knew that we wanted to bring Charleston’s car seat along with us for convenience sake. And in doing a little research, we learned that car seat usage on planes is not only permissible, but recommended. However, the FAA has chosen not to mandate the use of an airplane car seat because it would force parents to purchase an additional ticket for their child, which may make air travel cost prohibitive for some families. Makes sense, but since Charleston is too old to lap-sit anyways, the decision to have him in his car seat on the plane was an easy one (and thankfully he loves his car seat, so he didn’t put up a fight).

3. Minivans are actually pretty awesome.

I’ve often said that I would never be a “Minivan Mom.” Nothing against other Minivan Moms, I just thought minivans weren’t for me. However, in moving from one kid to three, I’m facing the reality that a minivan is likely in my future. While we were staying with my parents in California, they rented a minivan so that all six of us could ride in one car, and I learned first hand that while a van might not be the sexiest vehicle, it’s really pretty great from a passenger’s perspective. Our Dodge van was extremely comfortable and very roomy, and I loved the convenience of the sliding doors. I’m not a complete convert yet, but I am no longer adamantly opposed to the idea of one day owning a van myself.

4. The U.K. recently appointed a Minister for Loneliness.

A 2017 study found that the United Kingdom is facing a loneliness crises. (I would argue that it isn’t just the U.K., but that this is a global issue.) Among other findings, researchers reported that about 200,000 older people in Britain had not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month. To combat this issue, Britain plans to establish a method of measuring loneliness, then set up a fund to help the government and charities to develop a wider strategy for tackling the problem.

5. Taco Bell hot sauce can be purchased by the bottle.

I’m a gal who loves her hot sauce, especially during pregnancy. So I was thrilled to discover bottled Taco Bell hot sauce (one of my favorites) on the shelves of my HEB! I stock up on both the Hot and Fire varieties every week at the store, and have been pouring it over everything from roasted vegetables to eggs to popcorn. I’ve stopped short of drinking it straight from the bottle, but to be honest, I wouldn’t put it past me. . . .

6. We don’t actually own our eBooks.

I’m sure I’m not the only reader who assumed that dishing out $10 for an eBook meant that it was mine to keep. Sadly, this article disabused me of that notion. The reality that we don’t own these books was highlighted by the forthcoming demise of the Microsoft Store books section, which stopped new sales in early April and will soon start removing the books from devices (Microsoft will be offering a refund for books purchased and an extra $25 if the copies were annotated or marked up). Apparently, under the Digital Rights Management, when you purchase an eBook you are not buying a copy but a license that is subject to whatever restrictions the company empowered to issue that license would like to set. So if Amazon were to follow Microsoft in ceasing the sale of eBooks, my digital library would vanish.

7. Tom Hanks will be starring in a movie about Mister Rogers.

My favorite actor playing one of my childhood heroes? It doesn’t get much better than that. I can’t wait to see this, the trailer alone had me in tears (the good kind). And seriously, is there anything that Tom Hanks can’t pull off?!

8. Dropping nap time isn’t so bad.

Though many kids Charleston’s age are no longer napping, I felt sure that he still needed his daily nap: each day when nap time rolled around, he fell asleep quickly and would sleep for two or even three hours. Unfortunately, that meant it was getting harder and harder for him to fall asleep at night. After a string of nights when he wasn’t falling asleep until nearly midnight (despite having gone to bed hours before that), we decided to start skipping the nap and move up bedtime. I was worried that this would lead to some cranky evenings, so we did this with the stipulation that if Charleston started acting naughty or defiant at any point in the afternoon, he would immediately be sent to his room to rest. Charleston also agreed to take naps on days when we would be out late. We’ve been keeping with this routine for nearly two weeks now, and it’s gone better than I could have imagined! It’s nice to be able to go about our days without having to rush home for a nap, and our bedtime routine is now a breeze, with Charleston falling asleep the minute his head hits the pillow at night. There has also been no change to his morning wakeup time (he’s up at 7, no matter what). Amazingly, he’s been less cranky in the afternoons and evenings than I had anticipated. I do miss getting my own nap in during his nap time, but Charleston is old enough now to entertain himself for a while if I need to lie down to rest, and Luke and I have enjoyed having some time to ourselves in the evening once he goes to bed.

9. Shin guards are supposed to go UNDER the soccer socks.

Charleston attended soccer camp a few weeks ago, and since we aren’t a sports family, I had zero clue what I was doing regarding gear. The website said he needed shin guards, so I simply strapped them on over his socks, which seemed like the most comfortable way to wear them. I was so embarrassed when we showed up at camp and I saw that every other kid had their socks hiked up over their shin guards. That still doesn’t make sense to me, but the next day at camp and every day after that, we were sure to follow their example to avoid any further embarrassment.

What’s the most life-changing thing YOU have learned recently? I’d love to hear about it!

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