Life Couch

When I graduated from high school, my goal was to go to vocational school and learn to be a hair dresser. I wanted to cut hair for a living.

Because I am me, I put off registering until the last minute. I couldn’t get into the hair dressing class because it was full. Data processing, however, was wide open.

My career path was decided. I would take the class that still had open slots.

33 years later and I often wonder if I wouldn’t have been happier in life if I had just registered for school a little sooner. Or, you know, put some thought into my future.

I didn’t though and I am where I am.

I used to say I had two choices. I could either program computers or wait tables. Those are the only two things I know how to do. My choices have grown narrower now that I’m older. I don’t know that I have the stamina to wait tables any more.

It’s not that I have anything against I.T. Except, that it’s stressful. Pretty sure going into I.T. is a terrible career choice for the chronically anxious. Still, no degree and my experience is divided between data entry, waiting tables and writing code. Those are some limited options.

I want to feel more peace if my life and part of that peace means I still have to pay my bills.

I’ve been thinking about becoming a life coach. I can tell people what to do. I can shout positive affirmations at a person in exchange for money. I am only assuming that is what a life coach does. The coaches I’ve seen always seem to be shouting. 

Couple issues with this plan. First of all, I cannot spell “coach” without spelling it “couch” first.

Secondly, I am not all that good at life. Unless we are talking about eating Life cereal. I excel at that.

I suppose I could approach my career as a life couch from the “cautionary tale” angle.

I could teach people how to live better lives by example. My bad examples. I can call my service “For fuck’s sake, don’t do what I did”.

I am going to be rich.

Here’s a sample of the life lessons I will teach you.

  • There is a magical time in a girl’s life. That stretch of days between the time the invitations are sent and the wedding takes place. If your fiance cheats on you during that time, then for all that is holy, don’t fucking marry him. Big mistake. If you don’t heed this advice, then it’s possible he will cheat on you while you are pregnant. He also might give you crabs. While you are pregnant. Then, when you leave him, it is possible you will find yourself on a city bus early in the morning with a girl named Donna. You never liked Donna. Donna was always a bit of a cunt. Donna might take great pleasure in telling you how she slept with your ex while you were still married to him.
  • If you’ve reached the age where hip breakage has become a consideration, then do not wear rubber flip flops to the movies. The floors are shiny, hard, and become very slippery when someone spills shit on them. If you wear rubber shoes to the movies, you might find yourself going ass over tea kettle in a hail of popcorn, soda, and ice. No way are you going to enjoy the new Melissa McCarthy movie if your underwear are warm and damp with soda.
  • If you have a job and are continuously treated with disrespect, then leave that fucking job. Get a different job. It doesn’t matter if you will have to downsize your living space or give up your expensive makeup habit. Leave that job. For example, if you have a job where you are denigrated because you are female, then Leave. That. Fucking. Job.
  • Don’t let life pass you by because you are afraid. Until someone can prove otherwise, then I believe that we get this one go around. That time is so terrifyingly short. Don’t fucking waste it because you are afraid you will fail or because you are afraid of what other people think. Then, after you master that, tell me how you did it because damn.

You know, I don’t have to approach this entirely from a “what not to do” place. I do have advice I am confident in that come from times when I got shit right.

  • When you find someone to spend your life with, don’t settle if you aren’t happy. You deserve to be treated well. Also, don’t put too much stock in the package other people come in. You know what goes a long way? Nice. Nice goes a long fucking way.
  • Acknowledge that you are not perfect. Accept that you’ve done some shitty things. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself in a way that there is no room to be ashamed of your past anymore. Because I promise you this, everyone has a fucking past. Sure, some might be more “colorful”  than others, but everyone has a fucking past.

Okay, I think that’s enough for free. I need to put this together and take it out on the road.

Or, maybe I’ll just have a few cocktails this weekend. That sounds equally attractive and like a lot less work.

I might need to work on that name a little bit as well. “For fuck’s sake, don’t do what I did” doesn’t flow.



Photo courtesy of Geralt Altman.



Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Perfect. Best advice from a life “couch” I’ve ever read. Enjoying your posts.

  2. Estelle says:

    You make a great life “couch”. ThThanks for the morning laugh.

  3. Terri Lee says:

    “For fuck’s sake, don’t do what I did” is exactly how I raised my goddaughter. And damn, if she didn’t turn out to be amazing! There may actually be something TO this! HAHA!

    I, too, have often thought long and hard about choices I’ve made in life. Everything is so much clearer in hindsight, which is a total bitch. I know now that I probably should have been a dancer, but I haven’t heard of the NYC Ballet hiring any 57-year-old prima ballerinas. Crap. I was dancing at a friend’s wedding reception about 10 or so years ago and an older woman walked up to me and said, “You are very exciting to watch when you dance! You missed your calling!” I thanked her, but inside of me, I wanted to burst into tears. I wanted to yell out, “I KNOW!!! WAAAAHHHH!!!” Haha! And I would have hired YOU, Michelle, to be my personal hair stylist! Or to be my personal computer programmer. 😉

    I just want to give a shout out to Lisa K.! I’m sorry I was missing in action for the last post. Rough. Week. UGH. I may need to sign up for Michelle’s Life Couch course. Of course, she does realize that she’ll be approached by a bunch of strangers who will want to hug her! Right? You realize that, don’t you, Michelle? Haha!

    • Michelle says:

      oh god…you’re right…I did NOT think this through.

      I hope next week is better for you!

      • Lisa K says:

        *pats seat on Michelle’s Life Couch*
        Sit here, Terri-Lee!
        First off: Couch and Coach mean the same thing this time of the day. They’re spelled the same, too, differentiating only with my rising nicotine and coffee level absorption rate.
        Laughed at the wrong spot, reread it and laughed harder.
        Second: “For FUCK’S sake don’t do what I did” just needs more emphasis on the emphatic ‘fuck.’
        (I substituted, “For FUCK’S sake, don’t do what Doug did.” for most of my later childrearing conundrums and disciplinary tactics.)
        *lays cash on the table*
        *snuggles deep into Michelle’s Life Couch*
        “My baby boy wants to be a computer programmer and write code. I want him to be a hairdresser, so he can be rich and hire me a maid for this singlewide. How do I show him that money from desperate, grey haired baby-boomers is sooo much more lucrative than the joy of designing gaming and software systems for diverse corporations?”
        Teri Lee, I’ve been so worried about you!! Don’t apologize 🙂 I kept peeking out Rage-M’s window hoping you’d show up and that all was well. I’m sorry you had the shit week to endure 🙁
        *lays more cash on the table*
        “Fix Terri Lee’s week, please?”

  4. Michelle: Life Couch–Advice you can bet your ass on.

  5. “What not to do” is incredibly helpful – maybe more helpful than “What to do” at times.

    Back before I was a person of faith (again), I used to have a saying, which I can’t use anymore. “There is no one right way to live, but there sure are a lot of wrong ways.”

    Avoiding the wrong ways is most of the battle.

  6. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this read! Loved it-all makes perfectly good sense to me.

  7. Cris says:

    I’m sure there’s also a market for “Life Couch.” Though it’s also probably a very different kind of clientele.

  8. Excellent advice! I would definitely hire you as a life couch!

  9. Alana says:

    Ha ha ha! I actually work with (at her day job) a life coach. I think she would find this hysterical.

  10. Debbie says:

    Love it! Wish you had been around 30 years ago to tell me that! 🙂

  11. Great advice. BTW, I think I met Donna once, you’re right.

  12. TLK says:

    You are 360 degrees of fucking awesome. And hired. Because damn.

  13. Liv says:

    I would totally take life advice from you. You’re def the next Tony Robbins. I can see it now.

    • Michelle says:

      Except he’s a giant and I’m really short. And I have no public speaking experience….welll…very little. I also rarely know what I’m talking about and I live paycheck to paycheck. Other than those things, we are identical. Well, other than gender and he has a really large mouth. know, other than those things as well.

  14. Doug in Oakland says:

    Ah yes, the “if I can’t be a shining example at least let me be a horrible warning” school of leading by example, except that I don’t see how your warning is so horrible. I think you’re kinda cool, actually.
    I have a question for Nasreen Iqbal: Did you get your former saying from reading Daniel Quinn’s books? Because you could totally get it there.

    • Michelle says:

      Doug..thank you. I think I’m kind of cool as well…which makes two of us. hahaha

      • Doug in Oakland says:

        Two of us? Really? There’s Randy, and your sons, and your friends, and according to the side bar 1,049 of us bloggies out here, and I guarantee you a sizable fraction of us think you’re kinda cool at the very least, if not down right awesome (which you are, by the way, the kinda cool was just me being a smart ass). Oh, and happy valentine’s day. I suggest you spend the day researching ways to be good to yourself.

  15. David Akin says:

    As a young man I worked IT for a bank back in the 80s….a whirl of computer reels, decolated paper files and reports! Today I work in the entertainment industry….on many days I still need a life couch/coach! Oh, I forgot the profanity…..enjoyable fucking blog!

  16. Mary-Anne says:

    OMG! I think I owe you some money. I can’t just take this advice for free – that would be just wrong.

  17. pia says:

    I’m a therapist and you give out way better advice than I could ever give

  18. Your new ad:

    I’m a Life Couch – Find Your Loose Change under My Cushion and Buy me a Beer.

  19. Haralee says:

    I like a life couch because that is less yelling than a life coach

  20. Brilliant… What not to fucking do… I’d pay to take lessons from you.

  21. Lorien says:

    Sorry I missed so many of your posts! Blame it on exhaustion from my new earlier work schedule & maybe a bit of winter blahs.
    This was good – although I was a bit disappointed not to read more about a Life Couch 😉

  22. Eleanor says:

    I could use someone following me around, shouting positive affirmations. For about a day…The couch would be more restful.

  23. You’ve created a place where other people are comfortable sitting around sharing the shit that makes our lives miserable, and for many of us it makes us feel better.
    So thanks for sharing your life couch.

  24. You write like last call at the Bar of Life!

  25. Katnap says:

    You should definitely bring this to high school girls. Go. Go now. I’m not joking. They need to hear this.

  26. Me says:

    I definitely think you are onto something – hey, I could open a franchise for you in Australia !! Whadda ya think ?
    We could ‘couch’ together because I’m sure there is heaps I could teach people about what not to do – as well as some what ‘to dos’ !!
    Have a wonderful Sunday and talk soon xox