Lessons Learnt II

Life-lessonsI guess when you’re so consumed with life, it becomes increasingly difficult to write about it… and… thus my excuses begin. I can’t believe it has been this long since I last attempted to reach out and share my thoughts. Actually I can, who am I fooling, as usual I’ve lacked the commitment. I’ve continuously, consciously chosen everything else but to sit down and make sense out of the constant rumblings in my head. I guess maybe it’s true, I’ve really been consumed with life to have enough time to stop and make sense out of the whole thing. But i guess it is life, most days, it doesn’t really make much sense.

Life has been interesting, to say the least. It has been filled with joy, with hardship, with confusion, and as always with so many lessons. As random as I view this life to be, there’s something wired in me that always forces me to look at the lessons in all situations. I’ve found learning the lessons to be quite worth it. Like President George W. Bush once said, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” Even though I’m not sipping whatever it is that he’s sipping, like Mr Bush, I try not to be fooled twice, especially by life. Even though there is no rehearsal to this life we can always view others’ life and our own past as a good source of wisdom. We just need to be awake enough to notice. So yeah, here are some life lessons I’ve taken to heart.

It is all in the small things:

If there is a single realization that has completely transformed my life, this would be it. We are always told to dream big, to view only the sky as our limit. We are almost wired to appreciate the grand, the majestic, the achievement of the seemingly impossible. We celebrate college graduations, weddings, the start of new families, financial achievements. We celebrate breaking of world records and new discoveries . For sure, these are things worth celebrating, but in our constant craving of seeking happiness in these grand achievements, we’ve totally undervalued the grandness of seemingly small things, even though life is all about them. If most human emotional misery can be boiled down to one thing, it would be our inability to see greatness is small things, our inability to live in the moment and embrace it. We waste our lives dead, unconscious, chasing after everything else but the small miraculous moments.

Joy is in the cup of coffee you sip while talking to your dear friend, it’s in the contagious laughter of a toddler. It’s in the immersion of a novel, or watching someone like Merlyn Streep bring the novel to life. It’s in the embrace of a lover and the security that comes with it. It’s in watching Woody Allen’s fretful characters come to life on-screen. It’s in the sharing of secrets with friends, and knowing the love you share with your family. Life is rarely about big moments, it’s about our consciousness of small miracles.

Have the courage to be yourself:

Know who you are and be it. It’s so easy to live the life everyone else what’s you to live. It’s even more difficult to decipher between what we want and what other people expect. Most times we think what will make us happy is living up to the standards of the society we live in. The simple example would be this idea of getting married, especially for women. If i had a penny for every time girls i knew decided to get married to men they hardly knew because everyone was getting married. The pain and despair i feel for most of these girls… (this is a whole other post on its own.) The whole idea is know what you want, know what it is that makes you happy and at peace. It may not be some grand success that’s usually celebrated by the average person, but it will be you.

Also, know what your values are – This just makes making decision much easier. Whether it is in work or relationships, clearly knowing your values will help to distinguish between the bullshit you’re willing to put up with and the ones you’re not.

Don’t give up on what you want:

If you feel there’s something you want out of life don’t be afraid to go after it. There is no reason why you shouldn’t. The way i see it, aside from making yourself a good and decent human being, what else are you going to do with your life? We have 24 hours everyday, the time is going to pass anyway, and it’s up to you to decide what you want to do and do it.

Love:

I think the simplest ingredient to make life worth living is to love. Not only to love humanity from a distance, ( Wasn’t it Dostoevsky that said i hate individuals but i love humanity?) but to love individuals with all their NIFT and all. When you truly understand life, the only thing you can conclude is, what else can you possibly feel for a fellow human being but compassion? At the end of the day we all have the same beginning and the same end. And the only thing that makes the middle beautiful is love.

Life really is too short:

The earliest great lesson I’ve learned in life must be this – Shi amet ayinor. I’ve always been acutely aware of  mortality a lot earlier than i should have been. This must be why I’ve never been one to stress out more than what was necessary. It could all end in a minute. I heard or read somewhere that everything we do in life is to distract ourselves from death. No truer words have ever been spoken. This world would be so much different if we were always conscious of our mortality. How easy it would have been to love, to empathize, to be kind if only we kept this truth in front of our minds. But rather, now it’s so easy to hate, easy to hurt other people, so easy to be selfish and destructive to ourselves and this earth. In our attempt to deny death, we destroy life.

Don’t get fooled with all that glitters:

Don’t believe in most of the bullshit people show you and tell you about their lives. People lie. keep in mind they don’t do this intentionally, they simply don’t want to air their dirty laundry or be pitied by anyone. I guess we all gotta keep up appearance. People you think have it way better than you probably don’t, they just know how to edit their Facebook profile accordingly. They are more concerned about looking happy than actually being happy. Life is tough, It’s pretty fair that way. We all go through difficult times, and when you do, never think the grass is greener on the other side. Believe it when they tell you, If everyone threw their own problems in a bowl and you got to see it. You’d pick your problem back up and walk away happy.

Cut yourself some slack:

It really ain’t that serous, so don’t take yourself so seriously. Life has the potential to be beautiful, as long as we’re ready to see it, as long as we’re conscious and awake. Like they say life is a roller coaster, so when things seem to be down, know it’s not forever. Life is hard and it doesn’t discriminate. Things might not go your way once in a while, so what can you do? Try again, let it go or go take a nap.

Ok, I think that’s a good enough reminder for the day. I spend more days than i should oblivious to these realities. Hopefully now this will cement it in my head once and for all, and hopefully yours too.

Tena Yistelegn.