My mother has a Romanian accent, so please read these with that accent in mind to get the full effect.
  1. If you don't ask, you don't get.
    The key is to ask nicely.
  2. If you don't respect yourself, nobody else will respect you.
    I was told this as I did the Walk of Shame into a hotel room where we were both living. It is a truth that you would think would be self-evident, but sometimes, sadly, it is not. I find that it holds up in all walks of life, by which I mean work life, love life, friend life and family life.
  3. Don't think about how the what-ifs.
    This is generally a response to any concerns about finance or romance. When I hear it, I picture that scene in Moonstruck when Cher slaps Nicholas Cage and says, "Snap out of it!"
  4. Happiness is not a life goal.
    When she said this to me, I was 12, and I thought she meant that trying to be happy was pointless. Now I understand: happiness is a state you maintain. It's a practice. It shifts and changes and evolves as we shift and change and evolve. It's not like summiting Everest: You don't get there and then just hang out. It's achievable but not sustainable. After a lot of trial and error, you discover what makes you happy. And then you work to keep it.