I’d like to take this time to go through a list of some of what I think are the most important lessons I learned in life, and how I came to learn them. With any luck, maybe you won’t have to go through the same embarrassing or painful situations I did to learn them.
#1: Life is always teaching you a lesson.
Granted, a lot of those lessons you’ll know already because you learned them at a young age. But I’ll be the first to tell you having experienced a lesson doesn’t mean I learned it. Repetition helps reinforce the message, and sometimes it can take a hundred different moments until the lesson finally sinks in. I had a girlfriend once when I was younger, who kept cheating on me. We’d break up, then she’d come back to me saying she was sorry, and the reason she did it was because she was afraid se’d hurt me, so she’d tried to end it. And each time, I’d take her back. This went on for a year until finally something changed. I’d met someone during our breakup period, and had just set up a date with her. But being the idiot I was then, I broke that off when the first girl came back. Within days though, I realised I’d made a mistake. I could have had something much better, but I’d let myself be swayed by her apology. I soon broke up for good with the first girl, but it was too late. The new one refused to speak to me anymore. And I don’t blame her. I’ve wished before that I could find her again, and try to get her to forgive me, but I wouldn’t even know where to start looking. One more chapter closed.
#2: Being older doesn’t necessarily mean being smarter.
This is sort of a recurring one for me, I see it everywhere. From random strangers to the people I work with, to even my own family. Case in point? There’s one older fellow I work with, who’s always telling me how he knows the kinds of tricks I play to get out of work or whatever (which by the way, he’s usually wrong, but that’s besides the point). The thing is, he plays just as many tricks as he thinks I do, and it’s ridiculously transparent to me, but he thinks he’s so clever and sneaky. Knowledge doesn’t automatically come with age. In order to get it, you need to pay attention to the lessons you’re being taught.
#3: The truth will out.
No matter how well you think you’ve covered your tracks when you lie, there will always be something that could give you away. Now, the people you’re lying to may not ever find out, but is it worth the risk? Back in the days of my youth, I lied to my parents about my plans for one evening. I’d had a date, and wanted to keep it to myself until I knew what was going on, so I told my parents that I was going to a friend’s place instead. It would have been fine, but my cell phone had died at one point, and so my mum couldn’t get ahold of me. Thinking to call my friend instead, she discovered I was in fact not with him, and it set the tone for their opinion of me and of my date for the entire relationship. And the worst part about that lie was it didn’t even need to be told. So why not be honest from the outset? People might not like what you have to say, but they’ll always handle it better than they would when they discover it’s a lie.
#4: Always be willing to try something new.
This is a hard lesson, and one I’m still learning. If you close yourself off to new ideas, foods, perspectives or even people, you’ll miss out on so much of what makes life fun and exciting. For instance, I went to an all-you-can-eat sushi place once with some friends. I don’t really like sushi, but I went because there isn’t a sushi place that exists that doesn’t serve at least some kind of other food that I would likely enjoy. So my friends, baffled by my dislike of sushi, kept trying to convince me to try one kind or another. And I would refuse again and again. But then they suggested a spicy crab roll, which also had some tempura in it. And I figured what the hell, it doesn’t sound too bad, and I do love crab, so I’ll have one to shut them up. And you know what? I loved that little thing. So you never know. Just because you think you’d hate something doesn’t necessarily mean you will. You have to try it to know for sure. One disclaimer though? If it’s dangerous, other rules apply, and you shouldn’t always be so ready to try, because keeping yourself alive is more important at that point.
So there you have it. Those aren’t all the lessons I’ve learned, but it makes for a good start for now. Some other time perhaps I’ll write out some more. Only time will tell.