Lessons Life has taught me
|Well, I am finally there! |
Yes, I have finally lived for just over 3/4 of a century!
Finally hit middle age, as I plan to be healthy, happy, have a wonderful Lady on my arm, living life to the fullest, and to pass away peacefully at 154 years old on a warm rainy day in a comfortable bed. (Wish me luck with that, eh?? )
I am aware this may not happen, but it is my goal. (Interestingly, I may live much longer as a psychic recently told me I will live much longer that I actually expect.)
The following random lessons may save you some time.
So what can I tell you today? I thought I would just ramble a bit with precious insights from what I have learned. So here are some random thoughts in no particular order.
1. Don’t hand feed wild animals as they may well eat your hand….Grin, especially bears. This means stay away from wild animals (and some other’s pets) as they may be cute but also very dangerous.
2. Try not to get drunk, the hangovers are killers. If you accidentally get sloshed, take some vitamin Cs and pain killers prior to falling into bed.
3. Never get old! The caustic mist of reality intrudes on this and our bodies will age but you can retard that a bit. However, we can control our minds much better. Keep your mind young regardless of your body’s ageing.
4. Your life is a journey, a wild and sometimes wonderful series of emotions. If you allow yourself to become staid and set in your ways you will surely become old mentally. It is entirely your choice. Always try to learn something new every day, no matter how small. When life hands you lemons DO NOT MAKE LEMONADE, damn it all, make the best lemon meringue pie you can and savour every bite.
5. Learning is a lifetime endeavour, there is so much to learn and adapt to that 100 lifetimes is too short to even scratch the surface. What we do learn is temporary and changes. When I was in high school the smallest particle in the universe was the atom. It was true because that is what the scientists of the day proclaimed as fact! Guess what? If you proclaimed that aloud today you would be laughed at!
“In 1982, futurist and inventor Buckminster Fuller estimated how long it took for all accumulated and transmitted knowledge up until the year One CE to double in size.” It took 1500 years, then by 1750 it had doubled again, Oh by 1900 again doubled. His guess is another doubling by 2000 and by 2017/18 once more doubled. At the end of this last period, they figure it was doubling every TWELVE HOURS!
We used to call someone who was an expert or respected scientist or specialist a “Know it all”. Now you can realistically just call them “Simple Minded” or more harshly “Idiot”.
Celebrate that you can keep learning. Facts, science, languages, history the way it really happened not as the winners wrote about it and the losers couldn’t.
If you keep trying to learn you will stay young and be a vibrant individual whatever your physical body’s age. Plus it is interesting and fun. I am a font of trivial and sometimes useless information but really enjoy learning, reading, and questioning reality.
6. Take time to enjoy the beauty of all around us. Do you know that in my youth I thought there were only a few shades of each colour. Until I took a photography class and some painting classes learning there are millions of subtle shades and I started looking more closely at the marvels in nature that surround us. Try it, do it, love it. Not only will it expand your mind but will help bring peace and tranquillity to you.
7. Explore your innate talents, explore them, expand them.
I have and thus you see me as a poet, painter, photographer, dance instructor, teacher, mentor, romantic, idealist, and reluctant realist. We each are many people, just like a lettuce or cabbage with many different layers.
Make time to do the things you think you may like, so you can determine if you really do. When you find enjoyable ones, cherish them and ensure you keep them up at least for a minimal time each year. Don’t lose them or come to this realisation late in life as I did. You will have so much more fun and enjoyment.
8. My recent concentration on poetry has given me an epiphany.
The meaning of Life is, are you ready?
“Life, long or short, is a journey of emotional reactions to the process of living. Regardless of how long a person lives this is true in its basic form. Poets try, but don’t often succeed, to use words to translate these emotions in an understandable way.”
Language is perhaps the worst possible way to express emotions. A sigh, or look, or groan, or body language is more easily understood by all. But, because we cannot always be in the presence of other people's experience we have to try with words. We all need to communicate our emotions so others can relate, understand, and feel empathy.
It can be helpful and healing to know you are not alone on your journey and others understand.
I am told that some of my poems achieve this. Even poems I have written that I don’t like and would have deleted. This understanding came to me when a poem I hated was posted on a website for readers to evaluate. One reader responded and said how clearly it related exactly how she felt and thought it precious. I couldn’t believe it but learned " beauty really is in the eye of the beholder". So I never delete anything I write.
Elby Wordsmith’s (aka me) equation
Life (L) is endless experiences
Emotion (E) all experiences are emotional
Poetry (P) is words expressing emotional experiences
THEREFORE it makes sense that
L = E = P Or Life = Poetry
Try reading some poems!
9. This is one of the most important things I have to say! Took me decades to understand. Hope I can save you some time.
You have to like and love yourself before you can be happy. You have to be the most important person in your universe and what drives you must be the most important. Only then can you love & thrive with others
In my generation it was a fad for people to “Find Themselves”. Everything else was secondary and they withdrew from reality as if there was some magic cure that would make them whole. The whole psychological community thrived on the millions of dollars spent on helping with this delusion. Lives were wasted in the search, families broken, people devastated as they wandered, mentally and/or physically searching.
I use the word epiphany here several times, if you need the meaning look it up! I finally had an epiphany, in my 40s, summarised in the second paragraph above.
“How to” is the real question. Here is what I figured out.
a) Think about who you are right now, recognise your strengths, your weaknesses, and your “so-so’s”. Be realistic and harsh and try to ignore all (mentally or written) of the defences we all use when we think of ourselves. Make a list our good and bad points. Be as honest as you can, if you delude yourself or think of excuses it won’t help.
b) Think about the people you admire, like and enjoy. Analyse what traits or principles, or perceptions you have that makes you feel towards them the way you do. Think of the mistakes or flaws or mis-steps you feel they have. Make a list of their good and bad points.
c) Think about the people you dislike, frown on and despise. Analyse what traits or principles, or perceptions you have that makes you feel towards them the way you do. Think of the mistakes or flaws or mis-steps you feel they have. Make a list of their good and bad points.
d) Realise you are definitely never going to be perfect, none of us are. Even those better than us have flaws we don’t see.
e) Compare the lists above. You now can plan your improvements. Try to improve on one or more of the areas you need to improve when you can. Just a little effort will work wonders.
It will take time to enact, tailor and implement change. The old saying “Two steps forward, one step back” applies here. We are human and are programmed to repeat actions we have done before. So celebrate your improvements, even if short lived, and do not despair when you succeed then fail in any one area. Just keep trying until the new you emerges.
10. Communication & Miscommunication
The most difficult thing in the world is understand what both you and they mean when someone speaks. It is almost like no one speaks the same language, even when they do.
A truism “you have two ears, only one mouth for a reason”.
The best example is an argument, where two or more people try to drown out the others with their own verbiage. Never effective.
So learn from this. Listen to the other person, pause and think before you respond. Try to slow the conversation down with pauses to allow everyone to think and decompress.
Look into the person’s eyes when you listen and when you are making your response. Doing this has several advantages.
1. You can more easily sense if they understand or are confused.
2. It transmits to them that you are really paying attention.
3.If they avert your eyes it can mean they are untruthful,
devious, trying to confuse or intimidate you or are confused
themselves. Books have been written about this, read some.
11. Children & communication
I have found that by getting down to the child’s eye level is huge in getting their confidence and communicating with them. Also, never be so “Adult” that you cannot actually play with children. That includes getting on the floor, playing Hide n Seek, etc. Tell them stories, let them tell you stories, sing with them, just have fun. They love it and it builds strong bonds. Everything in 10. above applies here too.
12. Life is difficult and throws barriers at us all the time.
Damn well depressing.
It also bathes us in joy and happiness. We never know from one moment to the next what it will serve us. So. do your best to:
Remain an Idealist
Be an Optimist
Enjoy being a Mad Romantic
These three tools can help you survive.
13. A kid at play. In my elementary age we used to play outside all of the time. The rule for all kids in the “project” was that when the street lights went on we were all to go home. None of us had watches in those days, or cell phones to set alarms or show the time.
For many years it was the prime activity to build a “go cart”, then race it down the street. Some of the teenagers and even parents would help their family and even others to build a cart.
A very simple design, you made a big letter ( I ), the centre board was usually a 2” x 6”, the two end pieces were 2” x 4”.
Then the trick was to find four wheels. Baby buggy wheels were the best if you could get them, Ideally all wheels would be the same size but we still built them if they were not. To attach to the end of the cross pieces you could use a 6” spike (if you had adult help a bolt may be installed).
Easy to attach the back axle, just a bunch of nails pounded down.
Front axle was a problem as you had to be able to steer. some would use a spike with a bunch of washers on the top & bottom to allow steerage. Best was drilling a hole and using a long bolt with washers and tighening the nut on. Then you nailed a long rope on the steering axles and Wolla! You had a fantastic cart.
Well usually you sat on the cart on the road, had friends give you a push start, and moved down the hill. Often, you may get from 2-10 feet before the steering broke or one or two wheel broke off.
The point is you should always "Try, try again", and we did.
Assuming you got teen or adult help you eventually had one that worked. Boy was that fun. I remember one guy, call him Brian, was starting down his second run when his Mom came running out and yelling “Where are my baby buggy wheels you little monster. He had taken them off his baby sister’s buggy. Needless to say that was his last run.
Finally, the more you can see the humour in Life the happier you will be!
I hope you can relate/use some of my findings! Live long and prosper