Slices of Life: Learning for life

"Let’s never stop learning," writes Jill Pertler.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler
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There’s one thing (of many) that I love about life: you are never done learning. If you are open to new practices, habits and ideas there is so much more to explore and discover. Big things, little things and everything in between. The day you stop learning is the day you stop living.

I believe this to my core. I also believe we can help one another by passing on what we’ve learned. Here are some of the things I know now, but wish I’d discovered sooner:

Loading and unloading the dishwasher is hardly a preferred task. But, it can be made so much easier by paying attention to one detail: the silverware. I’ve always thrown my forks, knives and spoons in with reckless abandon. Forks consorted with knives and spoons neighbored willy nilly with whatever cutlery just happened to be in their vicinity. In a word: naive.

I recently discovered the joy of loading spoons alongside spoons, forks alongside forks. It takes no extra time on the loading end, but it saves countless seconds when unloading. All the knives come out together in one fell swoop and are transferred quickly and easily to the silverware drawer. The order it’s brought to my life has had immeasurable repercussions.

Kitchen garbage. We all have it. I’ve found kitchen garbage practices are regional. In the north, we hide our garbage container — most often under the sink. This isn’t so in my southern experience. Here, the garbage sits in the open. Because I grew up in the north, I prefer the hidden alternative. However, there is more to garbage than meets the eye.


If you are like me, you use the plastic garbage can liners. They get full fast, even when you use a piece of frozen pizza cardboard to press them down with all your might. (And we’ve all done that.) If you have a seemingly full bag and pull it out, you’ll find you can load it up with at least 50 percent more household garbage. You get rid of more while using less bags. I can practically hear Mother Earth applauding. It’s a win for us all.

OK, so here’s a serious one. Put the utilities in both your names, or at the very least make sure your spouse is a “designated decision maker” for the account. Vehicles also. Trust me on this one. I learned it the hard way.

Talking to your plants isn’t crazy. Not in the least bit. It benefits them and probably you. Kind words said to plants is proven to help them grow faster and better. Think of all the good that kind words can do in general, to plants, pets and people.

Speak kindly always — and not just to plants.

The word “homemade” has come to sound complicated but here’s a big secret: it’s not! Homemade is as simple as putting two four letter words together to make an eight letter word. Homemade usually involves simple ingredients, easy steps and not a whole lot of time. Our busy, over-scheduled world has made homemade seem foreign and alien, while flash fried fish-stuff and chicken gizmos seem ordinary.

It should be the other way around.

Homemade — go for it. You’ll be happy and proud that you did.

Drink lots of water. Every day.


Water is universal to us all. It comprises 60% of our bodies and about 70% of the earth’s surface. Concidence? I think not. Water is essential to all that is. It removes toxins from our bodies. It purifies the planet. It hydrates animals, humans, trees, grass and birds. It serves as home for fish and countless other creatures.

Without water we would cease to exist. Literally.

Every living thing has value. Even rocks. I’m not going to try to explain this. If something is on this earth, it has value, even if we don’t appreciate that value while swatting mosquitoes or flies.

Last thought (but perhaps the most important): The trees, soil, rocks, rivers and oceans have been around a lot longer than me. Perhaps I should respect that.

Perhaps we all should. Let’s try that.

And let’s never stop learning.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author.
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