Earlier this month I turned 28, and this weekend is my 10 year high school reunion. As much as I would love to go, unfortunately I am stuck being many hours away with no real cash to make the trip. However the whole experience has given me pause to stop and think about the lessons that I have learned over the past ten years, and how much growing we do between the ages of 18 and 28. Though there are many deep lessons and items that can be discussed below are three particular life lessons that I have come to reason were the most important. At a glance they might seem simple and obvious, however I have watched hundreds of people, myself included, disregard these simple thoughts time and time again even into their 30s. So in celebration, and honor, of the past ten years I thought I would share some thoughts.
- Always do what you think is best. It is difficult to go against the wishes of family, or advice of others – particularly when you are very young. However when you disregard your own calling for the sake of others, the only person you end up hurting is yourself. Granted you need to make smart decisions, but if you find your heart truly and painfully calling for something, try it out. Do not be afraid, being your true friends and family they will support you no matter what. Further you could end up doing more damage then just not following your heart. When I was 18 I was a rather rebellious sort, and when I was not allowed to take some time off before college, I found a way to force the issue which ended up costing me even more in the long run. I did eventually go to college and had a great time, however looking back now I wonder if I would have chosen something closer to my current field if I had been given a chance to do some soul searching before hand. Finally I feel like it is eaiser to sallow your own mistakes, then knowing the mistakes were created because of other people.
- There is a lot more to friendships. Be as Independent as you can. Friends are great, lovely, and wonderful. They can also be a supportive and an understanding shoulder to cry on when thing go array, or can help you out in a pinch. However if you can try to 95% of the time be able to provide for yourself. Friends are what make life so wonderful, but they are people too and have their own worries and troubles to deal with as much as you do. Try not to pile more on them if you can handle it yourself; and do not be offended if they are honest with you and tell you that they can not be there for you right now. Again they are people too, and sometimes they have their own issues that they have to contend with. Also be honest with them and speak up. I have seen so many people get hurt over the actions or the disregard a friend has given them; but upon retrospection it turns out that there was a lack of honesty and communication. If you are not a touchy feely person and do not like opening yourself up that is fine, your friends should know that and respect that; but if you fail to tell them you have a problem in the first place, can you blame them if they act like nothings wrong? Even just telling them that you ‘just need someone right now’, or ‘just can’t be alone’ that will at least let them know there is something serious going on, and it allows you to stay private. Honesty within ourselves and others is highly under rated in our society, but it will yield the best results and cause the lest amount of long term pain. The real friends are the ones that wont judge you, and will take you as you are. Giving them the space to do so as well as returning the favor, are what great friendships are built on.
- Monitor your relationships. I have been in a fair amount of abusive relationships, from romantically to friendships that were abusive. Sometimes I was awesome at seeing the signs and getting out before things got bad, and sometimes not so much. It is important to understand objectively what a real healthy relationship looks like and what a not so good one looks like, without becoming paranoid. It is also important to know what both you and the other party bring to the table, and how to compromise. Fairy tales are a rare gift, and they do not always happen on their own. Relationships of even the best kind take a lot of work and compassion from all parties involved, but they are worth it. On the other side, life is far too short to be caught up in any kind of abusive relationship, and if we are caught too long we can begin to feel more comfortable with the pain than with happiness leading us to seek out one partner after the other of the same type. If you notice you are in an abusive relationships, there are ways out and ways to heal. Speak up, or leave the relationship all together. Lovers are not the only people that can be abusive either, friends can sometimes take on that role. Figure out what you have to offer and what you need from a relationship, if you are falling short (always or more often than not) and getting the basic needs of a relationship maybe its time to really think if it is worth it.
Again these might seem simple enough; but if you really take a look I bet there are a few places that could use some work. These were thing that took me over ten years to learn, and I am still working on putting them into play in some areas of my life. Though I have for the most part smoothed out the big stuff, it is the small details that are harder to come to terms with. If nothing else just always be who you are, and things will eventually workout.
Practice in Peace and Love ❤