6. Usually the reason something looks effortless is that someone has worked really, really hard on it.
Two years ago, during a rainstorm on our vacation, we ran into a restaurant in Maine. I was with my two sopping-wet kids and husband. We had made a terrible mistake. The place was not the fried-clam bar we had expected. It was a fancy-date restaurant, with a piano player and tablecloths and about 125 people waiting to be seated. The hostess took one look at us, grabbed some menus, smiled a slick smile and announced to the hungry crowd, "I seat kids first." Faces fell, foam appeared in the corners of certain mouths. And yet she sashayed nonchalantly past the angry rabble and sat us. After thanking her, I asked, "How did you do that?" She looked at me. "Prep school," she said. "I was the poor kid on scholarship." Oh, I thought. That's how it's done. Under every unruffled, totally composed person is a scholarship kid who went to prep school or the kid with the headgear. It's the reward you get after years and years of being ruffled and uncomposed. Which is what I need to remember the next time I meet such a person. There is no pixie dust or biological gene that makes some people awesome. In general, that quality is earned.