Wednesday, March 4, 2015

29 Things I've Learned


At the end of this week is my 29th Birthday. 

Twenty-nine years old.

Nearly three decades.

I remember dial up, know how to use a rotary phone and owned a Caboodle.  I remember the discontinued foods of the 90's like Orbitz drinks and 3D Doritos.  I know the words to the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and can't resist singing along.  I've seen every episode of "Seinfeld" and "Friends" (before it was on Netflix).  I remember listening to the radio all day to record one song on a tape, and buying CD singles instead of the whole album. For my 13th birthday, my friends and I went to see "She's All That" in the theater... and please believe, I miss the Freddie Prinze Jr of the 90's.

Birthdays are hard for me as an adult. I remember waking up on the morning of my 18th birthday and believing that adulthood would mean life would be entirely different.  When I turned 21, I reveled in the idea that I could go anywhere and do anything.  Since then, however, my birthday stands as an occasion for an overly critical self evaluation of my life and harsh reminder of my own mortality.

While some people only "face their own mortality" in the event of someone dying, I experience the anxiety, sense of urgency and self examination around every birthday.  My father was 44 when he died. My parents busted ass to make sure I had the best they could provide in terms of nutrition, education and healthcare and as a result I have an advantage my father didn't have. In spite of this knowledge, there is something inside of me that screams "This could be the middle of your life and look what you're doing with it!"

And what am I doing with my life?  I look around at other people my own age, and sometimes I feel like that screw up who isn't doing anything.  When other people my age were experimenting and exploring life, I was trying to negotiate grief.  Now that I've dealt with that grief, I sometimes feel like the tables have been turned and I'm trying to experience the things I missed out on (and thought of as immature for it) while those around me struggle with the lessons I was learning years ago.  It can be hard not only to relate to people my own age, but to feel like where I'm at is ok.

As far as the rest of my life...I love my job more than I ever thought I would love a job, but I want a career someday because this isn't going to last forever.  There are women I went to high school with who are on their second marriages, and while I don't envy anyone the divorce experience I'm over here like "Never Been Kissed", only it's more like "Never been kissed by an adult male I'm in a healthy relationship with that actually has a future" (moments like this make me thank whatever powers may be that there more than likely wont be a movie about my life).  It's not that I'm afraid of being alone because I like my space, but the idea of dying alone and unloved (not actually unloved, but not loved by someone who isn't required to "love" me by reason of genetic fault) is kind of a hard pill to swallow.

I spent a lot of my early adult life caged by fear and anxiety.  I still feel that way sometimes, but when I was 22 I started embracing the fact that I want to see and do as much as I possibly can, and that regret would hurt less than being haunted by "what if?"  I decided that if this is the middle, then I better cram in enough experiences to be considered a full life because I didn't want to be someone with a short obituary that leaves you wondering what kind of life the person had. 

And so here I am, with 29 pieces of wisdom my life has taught me this far:

1.  I have Open Mouth Insert Foot Disorder.  That doesn't make me a bad person, it makes me a person who doesn't have an ulcer.


2. Sometimes in life, all you can do is laugh.  Even if because the only reason you're laughing is to keep from crying.  Life changes should come with free wine and snacks, and it is a shame they don't but make sure you take some time to have a glass of wine and some cheese.

3.  I don't care what anyone says, it is NEVER a good idea to mash a banana and smear it in your hair as a "hair mask".  Just trust me on this one.

4.  If all you see when you look at someone's art is vaginas, you should just unfollow them or threaten to send them vagina cupcakes and they'll stop.  If all else fails, try talking about your own vagina.

5.  Underwear is important.  When I was growing up, my Dad always said it was important to wear clean underwear just in case something happened to you wisdom that was allegedly passed on from his mom).  The way I see it, if something happens to me I'm probably going to end up shitting myself anyway so I don't really see what difference it makes. 

The point here is this... sometimes, you really should listen to all the things your grandma told you about underwear, lest you find yourself committing a fashion faux pas that leaves your hot pink panties on display in a maximum security prison.  And one should never underestimate the mood-boosting power of new undergarments.

6.  Sometimes beauty isn't the appearance of something.  Sometimes, beauty is a moment.

 7. I've had some of the best moments of my life with the worst people. Those moments don't redeem their deep and intense character flaws, but are proof that most people are capable of being amazing even if the moment is only fleeting.  Cherish those moments with those people, even if you find yourself incapable of saying anything else good about them when all is said and done. 

8. When it comes to insecurities, make sure the feelings that you are feeling are actually YOUR insecurities and not someone else's criticism lest you find yourself with the taco farts.  Speaking of criticism, when someone criticizes you, consider how hard and how long they spent focusing on the subject of their criticism because clearly whatever it is you are doing is more important to them than what they have going on in their own life.
 
9. If you don't really love yourself, you cannot say you have no regrets because they made you who you are.  Keep in mind that a regret only becomes a learning experience if you actually learn from it and make changes to avoid the same situation/reaction/decision again. 
 
10.  Choosing to walk away from someone is the hardest thing.  Bonehead, who is one of the biggest frustrations and greatest loves of my life, once said this to me and it is one of the most life changing pieces of wisdom anyone has ever given me: Sometimes in life, there are things/people we have to let go of in order for them to grow in their own way.
 
When it happens that you have to let someone go, I believe you should always conduct yourself in a way that when you look back on how things ended, you can look back on your actions without regret. 
 
I have been fortunate to be blessed in this life with people who are full of great wisdom.  My cousin (who is truly a wise goddess) once told me the best way to part ways with someone is to do it with grace and speak blessings on them.  This has been adapted from her original phrasing, but I've found that it has always served it's purpose well:
12.  If my life were a quilt, it would be made of the people who love me the most, the times I'll never forget, great loves, great losses, every lesson I had to learn the hard way, and all of my many mistakes. The batting would be made of warm and fuzzy memories. The backing would be good intentions. But if my life were quilt, it would be stitched together with Awkward Moments.  And I kind of like it that way.

13.  Do not shit where you eat.  While this normally applies to things like dating in the workplace, in this instance I mean it quite literally.  As in, do not shit where you get your food.  What this means is:
  • Be nice to waitstaff and the people who are handling your food, always.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, date someone who is employed somewhere you like to eat or purchase groceries from.  While taking advantage of their employee discount will bring you great joy for awhile, in the event of a sour break-up you will end up seeing them there every time you go or you will end up buying your groceries from across town.
  • And while this doesn't apply to dating, I feel that it would be remiss of me not to tell you that you should, under any circumstances, never attend a sex toy party thrown by a coworker.
14.  Never loan something to someone you can't afford to lose, and this includes letting them drive your car. 
 
15.  Try as we might, we are not in control of everything. 
 
16.  I have met some of the most beautiful people in the darkest, scariest places and I have known monsters who live in the daylight.  This means a lot of things.   But one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned is that sometimes in life, people make bad decisions and that doesn't necessarily make them bad people just as there might be people you will encounter in life who are monsters and might never see the inside of the cell they so richly deserve.
 
17. Always consider the opinion of someone who has something to lose, over the opinion of the person who is only risking being wrong in their convictions.  While I respect that everyone has a right to their opinion, I think more weight ought to be given to those with a dog in the fight (if you'll pardon the expression). 
 
18. NEVER read your ex's online dating profile.  It will just make you bitter.  Also, unless you've got the patience of a saint, a great sense of humor, or are really and truly desperate... it is just best to stay away from Online Dating.
 

20.  Sometimes, the best thing you can do for anyone is be a blessing to them.  It is amazing what kindness from another person can do for us, and we should all try to be kind to each other now and then because you never really know how far a little kindness is going to go for someone
 
21.  I have found that the keys to happiness are having something to do, something to love, and something to believe in.  The times in my life where I have been my lowest were usually lacking in one of those areas. 
 
Sometimes, we just find ourselves living in unhappy situations.  Mine happened to be an abusive relationship. While there were many promises of change, eventually I had to ask myself if I could live with it if my future was more of the same situation I was living in. 

22.  Acceptance does not mean approval or resignation. I spent a lot of time in therapy on this subject.  For me, a huge part of acceptance was forgiveness because I eventually came to realization that forgiveness isn't about the person being forgiven.  When you forgive someone, you accept what happened and choose to refuse to let whatever they did, or what happened, be something that you hang on to.  Forgiveness does not mean you have to let someone back into your life, that you condone the behavior, that you will let someone act that way towards you in the future, or that you approve of what happened... it means that you're choosing to move on without holding on to things like anger and grudges.

23.  More often than not people will tell you exactly who they are, you just need to listen.  If someone believes you can't trust anyone, more often than not it is because they can't be trusted.  Someone who regularly tells you stories where they are the victim is the common denominator in every situation they told you, which makes them very unlucky or someone who creates their own storm then stands there crying about the rain.  And run from men who describe all of their exes as being crazy because chances are if a man says he's only dated "crazies", he probably drove them to insanity (and if you don't run immediately, when you finally do he'll tell everyone you were crazy too). 
 
24.  When you want to take power away from something, the best thing you can do is laugh at it. Someone once told me that if people had laughed at Hitler and kept laughing, World War II might not have ever happened. In many ways, I believe this could have been true. I know that in my own life, I am not really ok with something until I can laugh at it and while it might still hurt... I know if I can laugh at it, I can survive it somehow.
 
25.  We've all had those moments in life where it seems like our name must taste like chocolate because it is rolling around in everyone's mouth.  But at the end of the day, consider the person talking to you or about you.  If their word holds no weight with anyone of consequence, if you don't love them, rely on them or respect them enough to have them in your life then nothing they have to say about you matters.  In fact, you have more to lose by reacting negatively to what someone says about you than you do by their words alone similar to the way it is best to remain silent than to speak and remove all doubt. 


26.  Be careful of the things you take into yourself, because life is the best example of Pointillism.


 27.  This:
28.  Animals are the best companions. 

29.  I've always wondered when I'll be "complete". When the world will make sense. When I'll have all of the answers. I've spent so much time running towards this goal of completeness, but that isn't realistic. Life, people.... we're always evolving and removing and growing and changing. 











2 comments:

  1. Loved this post so much!!! I enjoyed your great wisdoms and how you're able to convert your feelings of fear and anxiety over the future through your healing. Happy birthday blessings to you honey. 😊💗🌸

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  2. Beautiful, poignant, (& some funny) reflections. Hope your birthday was good and that this year brings you happiness and love ❤

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