A list of things I've learned this year.
Some learned through practice, others, only realized in theory.
I'm 30... I have been for about a month, so this is due.
1. There are moments in life that feel like an end... with transitional periods of mourning, then the slow, gradual adjustment to change, dragging tails and strips and braids of melancholia and longing for the past, just because it's the past most of the time.
Feeling unlike oneself.
These seem like periods of stagnancy... as if we've become a lake instead of a river.
But there's the rain, and the fish...
In these moments, we are collecting... experiences, memories, lessons.
Until we overflow and take course again.
Lesson: ends are not The End
2. Hence, we need to update our concept of Self.
Install the necessary software, uninstall the obsolete, delete junk files.
There are awkward moments during adulthood that we are not prepared for, especially for those of us who were so self-aware in the recent past, so mindful of being the best person you could possibly be - when we had the time.
We engage fully in our new responsibilities, projects and relationships.
We are constantly becoming, as always, but might experience embarrassing program errors... awkward moments when we act automatically, then realize a moment later that our values or perceptions have changed.
Similar to putting on a plaid miniskirt and deciding to change it (and get rid of it) once you remember you're almost 30.
Just because it's yours, it's your closet, you rocked it, and you loved it once... you don't have to keep wearing it.
3. Friendship means more.
Staying friends with people requires more of an effort than before, back when you could see them in college or social events (events you now have to write down on your schedule or calendar and plan for).
If your friends are in the same age range as you, most of them are in the same position as you (particularly those you studied with)... which, to summarize, means really busy.
Those friends who have managed to stay in your life nonetheless, at this point, feel like partners for life.
I'm not even talking about the people you spend real time with - but those who reach out in any way possible, whether with text messages out of the blue, a response when you needed it, or asking something from you. Sometimes favors, sometimes company for unimportant events, like lunch.
These are people you knew and who knew you (before the updates), people to feel proud of and who in turn, are proud of you.
Or people you weren't close to before, but become close to now, with shared bits of the past.
These are the people who make you feel connected, never alone.
They don't even have to be there to be there, and don't expect you to, either, but they know.
4. Breakups are like death.
We're haunted by loved ones when they pass away. We hear their footsteps, feel them in a room, have conversations with them years after they're dead, see them in dreams which are mostly comforting... I've often had to use this analogy in order to understand my own thoughts and feelings.
I've mourned for probably longer than people should. But I've also been haunted in the best possible ways.
Relationships end because they have to... when done with love and respect (and, at times, out of love and respect), you have a world to go back in time to when you want to remember what it felt like to be loved, in love, and happy.
And you also just might love this person forever for who they were with you.
5. People die, and so will we.
It's important to be good to people and give as much love as you want to them, in whichever way you can. Even if in words only.
The single most important thing that matters when someone leaves us is being sure they knew how much we loved them... and I think it will be the same most important thing when our time comes.
(Also: when I say "people", animals are included.)
6. People are strange.
We tend to use our own logic to evaluate others' actions, and maybe come to judgmental conclusions.
People will surprise us with insanely fucked up behavior.
It's important to realize that some people are simply incompatible with us... and we may analyze situations a hundred different ways, and understand them in one way, maybe a few. Maybe revise our opinions and theorize further... but just because we understand, we shouldn't have to accommodate people who do us any kind of harm (slight or serious).
Some situations may seem too incredibly awful to actually be happening, or people may be awful beyond immediate belief... but these mythical awful people exist - and they are among us. Be aware.
7. You will adore unexpected people.
You will meet new people in specific circumstances, such as bosses, colleagues, people in the same line of work as you, and in my case, many, many, many students.
You get to know people through situations that will probably not end in friendship, but are still valuable in your life, even if for temporary periods.
8. Love yourself the same way you love others.
There's a brilliant moment... when you hear yourself giving advice to others, notice your altar full of pedestals, put others' feelings before your own, notice how you forgive unconditionally - but only when it's someone not-yourself... that you realize how you're reduced to an erased page in your own life and are just a medium for good things, instead of an actual good thing.
It seems obvious... but you rarely look inside your own heart for reasons other than evaluating how you relate to people on the outside.
You rarely look in the mirror for reasons other than how people on the outside will perceive you.
When neglected, in solitude, with the lights out... you don't want to think of yourself, or else you will see a tangled mess of flaws and neuroses, one you rather paint over with a calm and smiling face, one you rather keep busy doing the good things you know how to do well, avoiding that which will bring out the worst in you just because you don't want to see it.
When neglected, you will cram crowds into your heart, but when the noise is gone, there's nothing in that hall but garbage and an echo.
You know others see greatness in you, yet you are still in the habit of getting stuck in a negative loop as some illogical means of improvement.
9. Making memories is also a priority.
If you're the kind of person that remembers everything extraordinary (yet sometimes forgets the routine), when by yourself in the empty, echoing halls of your own heart, you'll find that it grows with you. You'll find that all of the above, as well as your time alone (which did not make it on this list because I've been all about alone time since I was born) is as important as your books and music.
Memories is what enables everything I listed before... so sometimes putting off sleep to go hopping over cemetery gates with a friend at 3 in the morning is worth it. ( +Collapse )