Here are a handful of life lessons that I wish someone older had sat down and told me. Like, a little heads up or warning would’ve been nice. But I also teeter on the notion that sometimes our best education is through experience. On that note, here are 5 lessons that will ring to those who may be experiencing the same shifts.
YOUR PARENTS ARE HUMAN
When we’re very little, we idolize our parents. They are perfect in every way. They are our protectors, they keep us safe. And then as you grow, and are introduced to the world around you, your perception of your family begins to alter. You realized there are a lot of people being raised in a lot of different ways, and we’re different but somehow the same. You look at your flawed upbringing and you long to be “normal,” but don’t know yet that there is no normal. Let’s take this a step further…
You enter adulthood, and for many of us, you become the age your parents were when they decided to have you. And you realize how incredibly scary and unpredictable all of that must’ve been. Like, I can barely keep up with a houseplant, and someone my age just had a little human that they have to take care of. It’s mind blowing.
I can in no way say that my upbringing was fantastic or great, and I definitely can’t say I agree with everything that went down. However, I can say, seeing my friends become parents, I have a new respect for what that means. And perhaps, I have a more empathetic view on the weight behind some of the decisions my parents made. Starting from there, with the flawed rawness that is, is helping in how I shape my adult relationship with them.
YOUR FRIENDS TODAY MAY NOT BE YOUR FRIENDS TOMORROW
True story. I’m making a generalization here, so of course there are outliers, but follow me for a second. When we’re young our friends are made largely because we’re in close proximity to each other and are experiencing the waves of young life at the same time. And then there comes the shift (most likely the first of many). You either set out on a different path, or they do, and for some of them suddenly you don’t have much to talk about anymore.
There are several levels of friendship, and many that stand the test of time. I have plenty where months or even years go by, and we pick up right where we left of. But, I’ve also found that as I grow more in who I am, and as I step deeper into my passions and purpose, I’m connecting more with people who are meeting me in this new beautiful space, than with some people who have known me all my life.
[Tweet “I have to remember that even if someone unexpectedly cycles out, we are both still okay.”]
What does that mean?!? I believe that friends cycle in and out of our lives, and it’s become a delicate balance of fighting for something and also being willing to let go. I have to remember that even if someone unexpectedly cycles out, we are both still okay. And, I have to question if I’m losing someone that perhaps I never had. It’s been introspective work, to evaluate myself in my relationships… am I being supportive even if I don’t agree with a choice or move? Am I getting in my own way or theirs? Am I the only one who thinks about these things?
TECHNOLOGY WILL BITE YOU IN THE ASS
Have you ever broken up with someone over a text message? Or did someone misinterpret the subtext of a text, Facebook post, and so forth and so on, leading to an unfavorable confrontation? Social media creates a lot of opportunities to do good, to raise your voice, and to stand for something. At the same time, it takes out a lot of human interaction, and leads for a plethora of missed communications when the receiver tries to fill in the blanks.
[Tweet “A lot can be riding on 160 characters or less.”]
With respect to this, I tend to be one to give benefit of doubt, allow for margins of error, and simple misunderstandings. Folks, the world is not as kind or forgiving. A lot can be riding on 160 characters or less. I have experienced loss without closure or explanation, leaving my mind to backtrack and make up theories as to why something/someone derailed. There are way more gray areas here than what I’m accustomed to. With all the ways we are “more connected,” sometimes I feel like we are not talking to each other at all.
WHAT GIVES PEOPLE THE RIGHT?
Is it just me, or has Facebook in particular, created some blurred lines. I had this conversation with a friend recently, regarding a situation where I posted something positive and uplifting, and someone in my community of followers left an offensive comment regarding religious views. I ended up deleting this comment because of the unsettling energy it created.
In discussing this scenario, I wanted to know, what are the rules here? I have a ton of followers on Facebook, and this person in particular is someone from high school, who I haven’t seen in what…. 15 years? What gives him the right? Is it freedom of speech? I tend to shy away from online debates, which may have been what he was trying to instigate, just because I’m not here to argue over opinions. However, I try to be respectful even if I don’t agree. Not everyone abides by these rules. Where do you draw the line?
Of course, if he does it again, I will remove him as a connection. But I wonder about the choice of silence on this matter verses making my opinion known. At the end of the day, any action (removal, deleting, commenting) is an act in varying degrees of making my stance known. Overall my thought is that I no longer have the energy for forced interactions or unnecessary conversations. I’m not sure if I ever did, perhaps I’m only now becoming more aware.
STANDING UP FOR YOURSELF IS NOW A PRIORITY
Yup, it sure is. Because the more days you have here on earth, the more you realize that you’re the author of your own story, and its up to you to to move the plot forward. You’ve been given a power and maybe you’re not tapping into it. You start to become cognizant that you’re responsible for what/who you let in, and what/who you leave at the door. You get to the point where there is no one to blame for your thoughts and beliefs but yourself. You need to be in a place where you can evaluate your thoughts, patterns and behaviors, in a way that questions but doesn’t criticize, coming from a safe space of love.
A lot of our thoughts and ideals can be rooted in the past, or from times when we didn’t have all the information, and its reflected in our opinions. Yet we still hold on to them, because they are comforting, and something stable to attach ourselves to. This is a false sense of security, but we rarely take the time to evaluate a particular belief that no longer holds true.
[Tweet “No matter what you’re experiencing, its always a good time to stand up for yourself.”]
On some days I feel as if I’ve seen too much. Am I a divergent because I’m willing to admit a previous belief was wrong, or don’t mind being rattled a bit if it means I’ll reach a deeper understanding/connection with myself? We are leaving ourselves out of the equation even though we’re the orchestrator of the situations at hand. Where is our own responsibility and accountability? So when I say stand up for yourself, I mean really look inside and find yourself; start listening and getting in touch with who you are. That person matters.
I’m sure I’ll have many more lessons to share as I continue down my path and embark deeper into my life journey. For now, this is where I leave you.