What Lessons Are Left?

Life lessons learned so far:

Be kind – It takes more strength to return selfishness and anger with kindness and empathy than it does to lash back at the person or try to prove you’re right. This doesn’t mean you are obligated to subject yourself to cruelty from others but returning anger with anger or hate with hate doesn’t produce anything of value.

Don’t judge others for superficial things – You rarely know what other people are going through, or what their true intentions are, and we all see the world a little differently, so putting other people down because they are different from you won’t actually make you feel better or solve any of your own problems.

Fear is often a liar – Back when we were primal creatures fear was an integral and much needed emotion to keep people alive. However, now that we have much easier access to food, shelter, and society (most people, not all, there’s still lots of poverty and war) fear is bored and it likes to manifest in insecurities that cause people to lash out at others. Projecting your fears onto someone else doesn’t make your own insecurities go away. Pushing people away before they can potentially hurt you in the future doesn’t protect you, just keeps you isolated. Fear has its place, usually to keep you from doing dangerous things that could kill you, but often it’s just lying to you and ultimately causing you to miss out on amazing people and experiences. Learn to recognize when fear is useful and when it’s just fucking with you.

Money is nice but it isn’t the most important thing in life – Money is a tool that you can use to trade for goods and services, to travel and experience new cultures, to provide a sense of security for everyday living. However, it is an arbitrary item that we all just agree has value, it’s an inanimate item that can not provide you with authentic love or happiness long term. It is worth having but shouldn’t be your sole focus in life.

No one is perfect and life needs balance – You will fuck up plenty in your life. You make mistake so you can learn what not to do. Your mistakes do not define you, but your repeated actions do. Eventually you have to make a choice about the kind of person you want to be. Some people will be destructive (usually because they’ve experienced trauma or weren’t taught any other way) others will be constructive and strive to create general goodness in the world, but without the contrast how could we define one or the other. Many people will be a mix of both good and bad over their lifetime depending on external factors and internal feelings. Indulging in questionable choices or vices, when they don’t negatively impact others and are done in moderation, can provide a balance that helps you figure out who you are.

Life is less stressful the more open minded you are – When you don’t close yourself off to new ideas, new experiences, or new people you don’t have to waste your time freaking out about anything that differs from your pre conceived notions or pulls you from your comfort zone. Instead the sense of security you get from having a vast store of knowledge lets you face life with confidence and fortitude. You also get in less fights or pointless arguments with people online.

When you love, do it unconditionally – Love, real love, doesn’t come with conditions. Again, this doesn’t mean you subject yourself to abuse in the name of love, but learning how to love another person regardless of their flaws is one of the greatest experiences in life. Having the strength to be open and vulnerable with another person and to have them feel safe enough to do the same…fucking magic right there.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well – I’m not sure how much explaining this needs, but basically it always feels better to take pride in what you’re doing.

Leave the world and people better than you found it/them – Don’t shit where you eat. Don’t destroy the planet you depend on for survival. United we stand and divided we fall. Building others up is more beneficial than tearing them down. Lead by example. Pet all the soft furry domesticated animals that are friendly.

You are never done learning – I get the irony of listing this in contrast to my title but I already understand that for as much as I know, in relation to all knowledge I know barely anything and each day will bring new information, new ideas, and new ways to accomplish things. That being said, please do share the life lessons I’m missing because I’d love to add them to my list.

My Life in Boxes

Back in 2008 I discovered there was mold in my apartment and I grabbed everything that was “absolutely essential” and moved into my brand new boyfriend’s cramped apartment. The rest of my stuff all roughly 75% of my total belongings were packed up courtesy of my boyfriend, brother and father and moved to my parent’s garage. Life happened (as it’s prone to do) and before I knew it 2008 was over and it was the end of 2009 and I was getting married. Suddenly I had even less room in the cramped apartment and nowhere to put my boxed up belongings. I figured I would get them once we got a house.

2010 and husband and I closed on our first house. We were looking forward to finally having room to unpack all our wedding gifts and to retrieve all my stored goods. Except the house also had mold that the seller had covered up and failed to take care of, it showed up with a renewed vengeance as spring thawed out all the frozen water on the roof and we realized that the seller had also lied about the roof not leaking and there not being asbestos in the basement. Needless to say there would be no unpacking anything. To make things worse by August things were so bad I ended up having to stay with my parents, sleeping on a couch.

Even more of my life was relegated to boxes and I lived out of suitcases until November of 2011 when we moved into a temporary condo residence because someone had set my house on fire early in the morning on Halloween. 50% of my belongings were in boxes in my parent’s garage or mine and 50% of my stuff burned up in the house fire. Insurance gave me money to replace the things that burned and I finally had clothes in dressers and a fully stocked kitchen for the first time since early 2010, though I was sleeping on rented furniture and eating on rented dishes. The belongings in boxes stayed right where they were however.

Spring of 2013 we moved into our rebuilt house but left our boxes where they were. There was still so much work to do on the house our priorities were not on unpacking boxes from years ago. Finally last night husband decided to grab half a dozen boxes of ours and start unpacking. I found things I didn’t even remember that I owned and didn’t realize I was missing. CDs I have been searching for for years were uncovered. Earrings I would’ve sworn burned up in the fire resurfaced in piles of random junk. I had actually forgotten how many books I owned until I saw all the old familiar titles emerge. There are still over a dozen more boxes in each garage to unpack, these few were just the tip of the iceberg.

Obviously I have learned to live without many of my belongings and a part of me didn’t even want to go through the effort of sorting through what I wanted to keep and what I now considered to be trash. A part of me kind of liked starting over and not having every drawer cluttered with unnecessary crap. The more I unpack the more full my house will be. On the other hand, it was really nice to rediscover some hidden treasures of my youth. I can only imagine what digging through the rest will uncover.

One thing I have come to realize from this whole experience is that when you have your life disrupted for such a long period of time it becomes very hard to settle back down. I have been in my house for almost a year but keep putting off unpacking because in the back of my mind I feel like it is pointless, that I will just be moving again soon. I have changed the way I look at living and owning things and I can’t seem to be able to change back. I haven’t even decorated or put out a single picture because I still feel like my house isn’t my permanent home. Of course that may be due to the awful history I have with this place. One of these days I will tell you my homeowner horror story, that one is a doozy.

Time Lord Style

When I was a little girl my parents watched Doctor Who, when I wasn’t reading or playing I would watch it with them. Even though I was young I enjoyed the premise but not enough to keep up with the series when the 3rd Doctor regenerated to the 4th, or maybe that was because my parents stopped watching it then. Either way it has been over 2 decades since I last watched a Doctor Who episode. Then came my blow to the knee and several days spent working from home. After exhausting all my preferred on demand shows I decided to see what the Doctor was up to now and began with season 7 episode 1 (11th doctor). Over the past week I have watched all of season 7 & 5 completely out-of-order, half of season 6 and randomly threw in the transition episode of Tennant to Smith and the introduction of the new companion Clara. The strange thing is I have a dead set rule that I will not watch any series unless I can start from the very beginning and watch them all in their correct order. I not only broke my rule by starting with the current season but I hopped from episode to episode with no attention to where it sat in the advancement of the story line. It occurred to me that by doing this I was not only forcing myself to re-think some of the frigid rules I have for myself but I was also watching a series about a time traveler who is consistently appearing at different points in his own timestream, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind but eventually all the adventures come together to make a complete story and I was doing the same thing by refusing to keep continuity in the order of viewing. Even as I write this I feel like this is coming across as a silly topic and I am not getting the point of it across very well. The reason this seemed important to document, I think, is so that in the future I can look back at this and remember that sometimes by choosing to break out of your habits you can create an experience that changes how you look at your life and your abilities or allows you to better connect with someone or something. That breaking personal rules doesn’t always have to turn out badly. I watched out of order and it didn’t ruin the show, I still enjoyed it. Out of the chaos I had to pay better attention, had to use my memory and that is not something I normally do while watching television. I need to apply this to the rest of my life. Look for opportunities to break free from the shackles of routine and find new and better ways to live.

Life Gets In The Way of Living

The day-to-day routines and obligations have a funny way of robbing you of the time or opportunity to really live. I find that I constantly have to remind myself not to fall into the comfort of sitting on the couch to watch TV after a long day of mind-numbing work for more than a day or two because otherwise I’ll blink and a week has passed with nothing to show for it. With all the options out there to expand your horizon and open your mind, it sure is easy to ignore it all for fast food and a Storage Wars marathon. It’s time to go out and do better, but I hate how life just keeps getting in the way of living.