Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Life Lessons (The Meaningful Ones)

It's been a while since I posted last, so I felt obligated to write today. Nothing has inspired me though, enough to share with people on my blog anyway, so I resorted to a random writing prompt generator on the internet.

What is the greatest lesson you've learned so far in your life?

Good freaking question. I'd first have to say that I'm kind of young and I haven't learned a whole lot of lessons so far, relative to what I'm sure will come in the next many decades of my life. The majority of things I've been learning in these first 19 years is factual information, due to this mandatory thing called schooling, and then my willful continuation into higher education. 

Learning life lessons comes from what you experience, mainly with hardships, relationships, and Pirate ships. Just kidding. But so far my count on the first two is kind of low in my opinion. Nothing traumatic has happened to me yet, nor have I fallen deeply in love and known what I wanted out of my future. But at the same time that doesn't mean that what I have experienced meant any less because it doesn't carry the same magnitude. When you're a teenager, the highlight of your day might be a really brief conversation with a boy you like. It takes over your mind and you'll end up thinking about that person till you fall asleep, and maybe even then some. In adulthood, those menial things happen everyday and bigger stuff takes over. So I feel like whatever I may have to say about my life so far will pale in comparison to the wisdom held by my elders. 

So let's try to get a good list going here, of what I HAVE learned. A lot of it sums up to what used to be my motto of "Expect the worst and you'll never get let down." Always. For a while in a darker period of my life it seemed that whenever I had something to look forward to, things somehow always went awry and I ended up in a very lonely place. I couldn't ever have hope in a budding friendship because something would come along and ruin it. I couldn't look forward to a planned gathering too much because I'd have this grand idea of how perfect everything would be, and reality would have it that actually it turned out to be a boring, uncomfortable ordeal that made me feel foolish for being enthusiastic about something. This still happens to me, but not to the same extent. Maybe it's because of a changed outlook on life that I haven't noticed but just somehow took over. Or maybe I've just been particularly blessed with this past year of my life. I don't know. One thing I do know is that if I had answered this question a year or two ago, it would have been a misery-filled response that sounded like I never got to experience joy, and that's not true. 

Another thought just popped into my head, that maybe all the important things I've been learning lately aren't exactly life lessons, they are just about ME. Figuring out who I am: what I value, what things attract me, what I disrespect or am apathetic about, what makes me the most satisfied. Those kinds of things. And I'm not talking about my favorite food or movie genre, I'm talking about deep stuff. Such as ... am I the type of person that obtains fulfillment from a successful career or from relationships? I think I've already got a good feel for this one, and I'm sure it will just become more and more clear the older I become. On the other hand though, I know that nobody is ever dominated by one trait over another, which leads me to another thing I've learned, which is the importance of balance.

Balance can be applied to many aspects of life. In that previous example, it means that I can receive fulfillment from both work AND relationships. I, and most people, will have a preference, but that doesn't mean the other is irrelevant. Balance is important in what pleasures you allow yourself in life - everything in moderation, right? Eat balanced meals. Don't become addicted to anything. Exercise on a regular basis. Such statements are self explanatory. You should also have balance in the priorities which take over your time. I see a lot of people my age becoming way too bogged down by school, or work, or both. It creates a large amount of stress when you don't even have time to relax and hang out with friends. Speaking of friends, balance applies here too, as you should not get caught in the delusion that you are best friends with multiple groups of people and not put enough effort into maintaining those relationships. Further, balance the tools you use to make decisions - do not put everything all on your heart or your head, but consider logic and emotion in every situation. 

All of the sudden all these ideas keep coming to mind! Never assume you know everything and that your opinion cannot change. It's good to have opinions, but always be open to learning and questioning and absorbing new information. The more you know about all sides of a topic, the more fine-tuned and responsible your opinion IS. 

Don't tell someone you love them unless you're sure of it. This is the item on the list that doesn't belong, it feels a bit out of place, but I had to say it. Continuing on.  

The Golden Rules works wonders in any situation. As long as you take into consideration the fact that some people might prefer a different outcome than you. For example, you feel most cared about when people express their interest through words and encouragement, whereas others might resonate more with significant actions displaying affection. Anyway, the point is to think of others and not be selfish all the time. 

And for me, personally, faith in God. Is very important. And I will stop at that.

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