I won’t say my age because I don’t want to, but I’ve been around for a little while. I’ve lived through a few things. I like to think I know a thing or two – not because I’m some sort of scholar but just because I pay attention, well kinda – sometimes. I pay enough attention.
So, in my Milk, Drugs, and Time Travel post, I talked about talking to my younger self. I was reading through it the other day and thought maybe instead of a giving advice to younger me, how about giving advice to my minis. All three of my girls are very different but could probably stand to have some of the same life advice. And the best delivery strategy is probably a letter so one day I can point back at it and say, “HA! I told you so! Mother knows best – boo-yah!”
Here are just a few loose tips I will leave right here for them.
Art imitates life.
Stephen King said that the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event. Well, whether he said it or not, it was on a list of 14 Tips from Stephen King’s Own Writing that I found on Pinterest. It seems odd to nearly-quote someone that I haven’t actually read, but he’s obviously a successful writer, and I do love the movie Misery, which is based off of his book, so . . .
But my point in the previous paragraph is in the first sentence. A story is more about the people than the event. The event is just the means to bring the people, thus the story, together.
I find the same to be true in life.
Rules can be broken.
I was raised on the Golden Rule. That thing was pounded into my head – Do unto others as you would have done to you. Just the word unto actually being a part of the rule intimidated me enough to believe that this rule must really be golden.
For the most part, I like to think, I treated others the way I wanted to be treated. I think I still do. I’m kind enough, but I don’t get overly involved in the situations of others because, unless they tell me otherwise, I tend to think that it’s none of my business.
But here is the paradox of the Golden Rule. Am I so busy treating others the way I want to be treated that I totally leave them hanging when they are treating me the way they want to be treated? At what point have I demonstrated enough how I want to be treated and instead treat them the way they are showing they want to be treated? Should I inquire with each person I meet whether or not they follow the Golden Rule, so I know if they want treated as they so do? So many questions.
I saw an article on LinkedIn the other week that was titled 10 Ways to Get Along with Anyone. I didn’t waste my time reading it because I can answer it in two words – Be decent. No need to overdo or under-appreciate. Just be a decent person. No rules, tips, or tricks to remember; no questions. Just a simple way of life.
It’s an old phrase, but I remember Steven Tyler belting out “Life’s a journey, not a destination” in the song Amazing. That was the first I had heard the phrase, and I liked it. I am totally more journey than destination (but probably more Aerosmith than Journey).
I say, enjoy the ride. Look out the window. Look up at the sky. If something catches your eye, pull over and get out. Take the road less traveled and find out what you might have missed. Schedules suck; experience the trip.
Either way, whether you prefer being there to getting there or vice versa, you will have real opportunities in both cases to meet and possibly help others. Or maybe you are the one who will be helped, even if you don’t know you need it.
Of course, usually the purpose for the journey is to reach a destination. So for the destinationers, I say relish in the accomplishment – you should, you made it! But try to remember along the way to enjoy the journey – you couldn’t reach your destination without it.
Purpose in the Scars
Call me Debbie Downer, but I gotta say it – bad things will happen on the journey; that’s life. But even the really bad things that happen can serve a purpose – they can be used, given purpose.
I have a scar on my right leg that is about 10-12 inches long. I don’t know exactly because it’s pretty curvy, and I used a wooden ruler to measure it. Someone once mentioned (several years ago) that someday I could probably have the scar removed, and they were surprised, confused even, when I said I didn’t want it removed.
But the scar reminds me that the doctor didn’t amputate my leg. He talked about it. He considered it. He verbally mentioned it to my family as a very real possibility, but thank God, I have a scar instead.
I can’t do high-impact exercises (well, can’t is a strong word – I’ll live a happier life if I don’t), my right leg is a little bigger than my left, sometimes it just freaking hurts; but I have it and I can use it, and I am happy with both of those facts.
Anything that happens to us, good or bad, shapes who we become. Whether we succumb or overcome, it’s up to the individual. Getting my ankles crushed and my legs broken taught me a respect for time, life, and the human body that I might not otherwise have gained.
So, all of that to say: Life is short. Be kind. This is the journey. Purpose is more than a task. Or #LifeIsShort #BeKind #ThisIsTheJourney #PurposeIsMoreThanATask