Pat Conroy might need this tip as he eases into his 71st year.
It comes from Daufuskie Island. His novel about the year he spent teaching school there launched a career so significant it was celebrated with a three-day festival last week in Beaufort.
Much was said by other writers and scholars to mark the 70th birthday of South Carolina's "Prince of Titles."
But before we move to the next chapter, I wanted Conroy to see the lyrical words about strength in life by one of his former Daufuskie students.
Margarite Washington of Hilton Head Island wrote it on her Facebook page last month. It's Lowcountry to da bone. She said I could share it. With a few tweaks to keep an old teacher from barking at the moon, here's Margarite's observation for us all:
"Sometimes, I said to myself, 'Where do I get all those energy from?' I haven't had a chance to rest in three weeks, working two jobs plus going to every event and churches. Sometimes I go to double and triple service. This week I have double churches, plus clean the yard and haul all the branches to the dump, and I said to myself, 'Am I a man or a woman?' But it all God doing.
"Then I started thinking to myself, 'I'm from Daufuskie. It all those rabbits.' Raccoons, squirrels is coming out that I was eating, not the ribeye steak I'm eating now. If you want to be strong, try some wild animals. It paid off in the long run."
Margarite does live on the run. She's worked 28 years at Haig Point on Daufuskie and eight years at the Beaufort County recycling center on Hilton Head.
On a recent day off, she went to church at First African Baptist and Queen Chapel A.M.E. on Hilton Head and then "went across the water to First Zion in Bluffton."
She picks up a grandson from the bus stop and gets him to Gator football practice.
Last Saturday she set up a birthday party for a grandson, including cotton candy and snow cones. That's a different world from her own childhood on Daufuskie. With no electricity, the kids would put sand on top of a soda bottle then run water over it from the hand pump. Somehow, that made it cold.
When Margarite was an eighth-grader, her new teacher found Daufuskie and its two-room schoolhouse to be akin to the Peace Corps assignment he sought but didn't get as Vietnam raged in 1968. He got fired from that teaching job, which he describes in the memoir "The Water is Wide." It was made into the movie "Conrack."
Margarite went to live with Conroy the next year in Beaufort because eighth grade was as far as school went on Daufuskie. She helped Pat and Barbara Conroy with their children and attended the segregated Robert Smalls High School. And young Conroy found his voice with pen and paper, telling the story of Daufuskie.
Margarite wishes they had stayed closer over the years, and that Conroy would again visit Daufuskie.
As she reviews her own life, she remembers the strength of home.
She said her mother, Flossie Washington, could cook deer so tender you thought it was stew beef.
They made little traps for birds and set brush fires to run rabbits out of the woods.
It took a lot of rabbits and squirrels for Jake and Flossie Washington to feed 10 head of children.
Sallie Ann Robinson, another one of Conroy's Daufuskie students, wrote about that time that seems so long ago in a 2003 cookbook with a foreword by Conroy, "Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way."
"There was a season for almost everything: a time to catch different seafood, a time to butcher the hog or cow, a time to plant and harvest each crop, a time for hunting each animal. Each nut, fruit and berry ripened in its own time.
"And it was always firewood season."
The late Billie Burns' book "Stirrin' the Pots on Daufuskie" has recipes for stewed 'coon and baked 'coon, but Margarite says she doesn't eat it anymore because she doesn't have to.
"For Thanksgiving and Christmas, they still have it on Hilton Head, too, but I don't eat it anymore."
Margarite tried possum only once.
She and her sister Edvina, the best cook in the family, still know how to turn out a good rabbit.
"Fry it and put a cut up onion in it and add water to it," Margarite said. "Put a little bit of flour in it to make the gravy a little thicker."
It just might put a little hop in Conroy's step, even at his advanced age.
Maybe it's what gave Margarite the strength to deliver a powerful eulogy for her mother last year. It's something that still rings in my ears, reflecting a wisdom not tested at school.
Before they buried Flossie Washington beside Jake in the Cooper River Cemetery, Margarite's words were clicking in the old wooden church like the Nancy Hanks train from Atlanta to Savannah.
"I remember Mama telling me last week, 'When God is talking, be quiet.'
"I remember Mama telling us don't let no man hit on us, and she meant it.
"I remember Mama telling us to have manners and wisdom and to always keep a job.
"I remember Mama telling us, 'Don't depend on a man. Always have your own.'
"I remember Mama telling us she wants the family to be close to each other and to work things out.
"I remember Mama going outside in the cold, washing our clothes on a washing board.
"I remember Mama feeding us first and then with what's left over, feeding herself."
Where does it come from? As Margarite would say: It all those rabbits.