What I have learned in my life


Happy birthday to me! It’s my birthday today. David and I went out for a nice dinner last night because he’s traveling for work today. We went to Circa 1886 which I haven’t been to for dinner yet. It’s also Charleston Restaurant Week. I love going out for restaurant week.

In the 32 years since I was born, I have learned a lot. I have learned lessons of patience and resilience, turning the other cheek, the importance of reputation, and that everyone has a bad day. I so much wish I was born knowing these lessons, but we all have to remember it takes bad experiences to learn them. But perhaps, I can impress upon others some of these lessons:

  • What you apply to your life is what you will get out of it. Has anyone else read those lists of people who are savage against exes? I actually just read one, and all I could think was, these people must live miserable lives if they spend so much time and money trying to make an ex miserable. Breaking up is hard, and being broken up with is even harder, but taking revenge may make your ex miserable, but it will also make your misery last longer.
  • This leads to another life lesson: learn when to walk away. Truly in every aspect of life, you get to a point where you are giving more than you will ever get out of it. A career, a relationship, a friendship. At a certain point, it isn’t worth it. Is your job really worth that paycheck when it is eating away at your soul? Is your significant other or friend really worth the relationship if you end up feeling worthless every time you spend time with them? Walk away. That being said…
  • Patience is a virtue. Nothing easy comes immediately. You have to work hard and wait for your career or relationships to show their value. Everyone goes through seasons in their lives when we need to be selfish. That goes for yourself (there is nothing wrong with being selfish and hibernating sometimes, even for no reason), but also others. Remember, everyone has bad days, and sometimes you have to be more patient and take a bit of an emotional beating because someone in your life is having a rough day. There’s no excuse for physical or emotional abuse, but perhaps let someone else win an argument, even if they’re wrong, because they’re having a bad day.
  • Hard work pays off. I really wish I had known this in high school. I had really good grades until high school when I went from almost straight As to Bs and Cs. In college I did little better, and in my 20s I worked a series of dead-end jobs because teaching was too hard. I really wish I had actually studied in high school, had the opportunity to go to a good college, and then worked hard through those extremely difficult few years of teaching, because I love teaching. Along that same line…
  • Anything worth doing, is worth doing well. I can actually hear my father-in-law saying this, it’s just one of those old phrases men like to say. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how true it is. I am still guilty of sitting around on social media when I could spend my time doing something so much more productive, but I am doing a much better job of completing tasks that need to be done. But at the same time…
  • There is no such thing as perfect. I used to look at my peers and think, they have such perfect lives! They are dating the cute boys and have so many friends and they have perfect grades. I can’t say I’m not still envious of their lives, but looking back, I can now see their flaws and how great my life actually was. Some of them had low self-esteem, some of them really weren’t all that mature, some of them didn’t follow the perfect paths set up for them and the cool kids sometimes just partied away their opportunities. But I’ve learned that everyone has a tough life, everyone in different areas.
  • Most tasks don’t take that much time. I talked about this in my post, keeping a home running smoothly, but I have learned in recent years that most tasks I keep putting off, such as taking out the trash, various phone calls, straightening a room, really only take a few minutes. And more importantly, I always feel so much better after doing them.
  • There is nothing magical about January 1. Every day, every hour, every minute, and even every second, can be a new beginning. Make a resolution to live your life better, starting now. At the same time, don’t expect things to start going perfectly just because you decide to turn over a new leaf, especially starting January 1. But, don’t forget to…
  • Eat the cake. Enjoy life. Mess up. Learn lessons the hard way. Cut corners. Do things that feel good but go against your resolutions. Eat a piece of cake or a piece of fried chicken. Don’t exercise. Sleep in. Don’t do these things all the time, but do them sometimes, and really enjoy it. As well as…
  • Spend the money. I relearned this the hard way this week. I ordered some slippers and decided to buy some inexpensive ones, saving about $40. I hate them. They are not comfortable at all. I need to remember that more often than not the better quality product is the more expensive product, and it’s better to spend a bit more and get a high quality product than to regret buying something and then never use it. But most importantly…
  • Enjoy life. I did a study abroad when I was a grad student with a bunch of undergrads a few years ago. When we were in front of the Eiffel Tower, everyone was taking a bunch of selfies, no one was actually looking at it! It made me think of that saying, “pic or it didn’t happen.” Take photos so that you can remember your life, but also make sure you are experiencing it! After taking a few photos, I just stood and stared at the Eiffel Tower. Almost every time I saw it for that week we spent in Paris, I would take a photo from the new direction I was seeing it from, but then just stare at it. It was incredible. But at the same time, I experienced such bad culture shock and became so disenchanted with Paris (we stayed near the train stations) that I stayed in my hotel room. I’ve heard it’s called “Paris syndrome.” But the times that I did go out, and went to nicer areas of Paris, I actually enjoyed myself. I wish I had forced myself out, even just for a walk, a bit more.

I know I don’t apply all of these lessons to my daily life, but I try to. I need to do better at completing everyday tasks, learning when to walk away, and remembering that patience is a virtue. But that is what life is about! Constantly learning.

What are some important lessons you have learned in your life?

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