In an attempt to embrace the wisdom that comes with “aging.” Last October, I compiled a list of the life lessons I’ve learned so far. This month I’m back in reflection mode and I’m curious if people feel the same way so here are some of my nuggets of wisdom in proper “list porn” format:
Control is a myth or as the Great Master Yoda says: “Impossible to see, the future is.”
A wise friend once told me: “Your true challenge in life is to accept the unknown.” Few truer statements have been uttered in this life. Recently, I have concluded that happy people are those who work hard to perfect everything within their control and don’t spend their time and energy obsessing over things they know to be out of their control.
Fact: You don’t control when and where you’re born, parents you’re born to, # of siblings and your natural likes and dislikes. You don’t control who you’ll meet and whether they’ll like you ( Sure you can try to be likable, but you will never be able to control the outcome) and finally you have no control over a drunk driver possibly hitting you or one of your loved ones on a random Wednesday.
The universe is full of unknowns . Embrace them and you’ll be surprised how much lighter and happier you feel.
There’s more to life than vacationing
We are obsessed with our vacations and our trips (as we should be) and wanderlust is definitely healthy and fulfilling. I would even argue that most people associate paradise/ultimate winning with pristine beaches, colorful cocktails and doing nothing. That sounds epic, but let’s face it, real life is what happens in between those vacations. You should be spending that time obsessing over your purpose in life (whatever it may be) and depleting your energy in pursuit of said purpose then going for that inspiring rejuvenating vacation so you can live to fight another day (for chosen purpose).
I understand this may seem ludicrous to some people, but what makes vacations so special is their scarcity. Otherwise you’d be surprised how “doing nothing in beautiful places” gets old pretty quickly.
What you want for others may not be what they want for themselves
We’ve all judged the life decisions of people we care about. Be it friends, parents, siblings, children, or significant others. Of course we usually only judge them when they spurn our advice and follow their own hearts.
One way to approach is would be to stop attempting to control the actions of others but the other would be to accept that what you want for those you love may not be what they want for themselves.
People have different passions, drivers and life goals. Some people work for money, others for appreciation or passion, some people marry for love, others for status or security. So, live and let live. Give people your honest opinion when they ask for it, but respect and support them regardless of whether they took your advice.
Also, apply this to yourself because you’ll notice that what you want is not necessarily what you need. So, just digest that for a moment.
Beware of “The Great Gatsby Effect”
I define “The Great Gatsby Effect” as the aggrandizement and perfection your mind bestows on someone/thing/where that you no longer see regularly.
In the case of Gatsby, this happened with Daisy, a beautiful shallow vain selfish woman. Gatsby spend years away from Daisy and his mind started painting her an angelic personification of perfection. His disillusionment was a painful struggle and never should have happened if his mind hadn’t tricked him.
We all have our own version of “Daisy.” It could be an ex, high school crush, charming Italian town, childhood candy or even an old boss. The the sooner we force our disillusionment, the easier it will be to move on and lead a healthier happier life. #Spoiler alert, Gatsby dies at the end of the story and Daisy doesn’t even blink. #Fail
Speaking of disillusionment….
Social media is Photoshop for real life
Unless it produced legit entertainment value, Why would you post an ugly picture of yourself on social media? Why would you share boring life details that no one cares about? Apply the same rules to other people and that should take care of all that “Life is unfair, how come everyone else is doing all these cool things all the time” blues. It literally is Photoshop-style editing that people apply their lives.
For more retouched vs. real life comparisons: http://www.messynessychic.com/2010/10/12/the-reality-of-celebrity-photoshop-before-and-after/
Self awareness doesn’t come naturally to everyone
Self awareness is a gift and not everyone has been blessed with said gift. Some people talk about themselves for a good 45 minutes without realizing they haven’t asked the other person a single question. Others have a direct approach which they don’t realize might offend others. This list can go on and on. The key takeaway is always give people the benefit of the doubt and try to nudge them in the right direction before you put them in a box and cross them off forever. Always remember that someone might be giving you the exact same treatment.
The more you make the more you spend
During her MBA, my friend’s professor told her that “The greatest gift you can give yourself is the ability to walk away.” He then explained that part of being flexible is not confining yourself to a certain lifestyle. As your income increases, so do your spending habits and if you end up losing that income for some reason, reverting back to your older lifestyle will be difficult and painful. The way I see it, the key is to be cognizant of that and to never take anything for granted. Never lose sight that these lifestyle changes are a privilege and that privilege may not last forever then plan accordingly.
The Best is Yet to Come. ALWAYS.
If you internalize this statement and believe it, I honestly believe it will come true. Good things will happen if you don’t stop seeking them. Enjoy what you have, but never stop wanting more.
For some inspiration check out:
- The story of Madam CJ Walker who went from picking cotton at 14 to making building her own multimillion dollar business when she was over 40.
- The story of Diana Nyad who swam from Cuba to Florida at 64
- Stan Lee who didn’t write his first “Marvel” comic till he was 39
- Crazy ways people found their significant others
and in the “The best is yet to come” spirit, I leave with some classic wisdom from the Master Jedi himself:
“Do or do not… there is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
“When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.” Yoda, Return of the Jedi
“Wars not make one great.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
For more priceless Master Yoda wisdom, check this out!