Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Life lessons

You know those videos about life lessons, or what you should do to make this life bearable, to not give up easily, any topics in that line?.

I watched some of those. Then they got me thinking. If it was me (not that anyone will ask me to make a video or to talk in front of an audience about it), what would I say?.

I thought long and hard about it (just to make you think I put some thought into it). And I came up with 5 points.

5 things that I think many times, have saved my ass from feeling that life is a bitch. Rather, it really is, a beach..

Be good at something, be really good at it.

Actually it was my father who taught me that. "If you can say you like doing something but you are not that skillful in doing it, then, it’s all useless" (his way of saying it's all bullshit...). He used to say that to me.

Being very good at something will not only safe your life one day because you really know how to go about it to make a living if you must, but it will also give you a feeling that you have achieved something.

And it doesn’t have to be a big thing. As long as it is something worth doing, and something that makes you feel good about doing it, be very good at it.

And don’t start thinking of doing it for the money. But if you are very good at it, eventually someone will take notice, and pay you for doing it.  

Be kind, but don’t forget you have your own needs.

We have all been taught for being kind. And as I’ve grown older I’ve also appreciated this: be kind to others because you don’t know what they have gone through.

But then I also learned something else. Being kind, without using your brain a bit and think of what you need for yourself, is not really good for you. There must be a limit in being kind because we also need to take care of ourselves. Being kind can drain your emotional energy. And when that happens, it can be quite debilitating.

So be kind, you must, but be aware that you are also an important person in the world. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are not useful for others. Take care of your emotional energy.

Have a good laugh, even when your heart hurts.

Smile, when your heart is aching. Smile, even though it’s breaking. Those have always been my favourite lines in ‘Smile’, the song first composed without lyrics by Charlie Chaplin and Nat King Cole recorded its first version with lyrics and made it so famous until now.

I don’t have to explain much I guess, that if a smile helps you to get through a bad time, then, laughter IS the best medicine.

Although maybe it only works for a while, but at least, once you’ve laughed, you can see life with a different pair of glasses. It looks bright, even for a split second before you suddenly feel that pain again pinching you on the side. But that brightness, will give you a sudden boost that makes you feel that it is stupid to linger in the heartache.

And anyway, nothing lasts forever. When you've been hurt, the wound will still be there. Don’t ever believe anyone who says time heals it. But believe this: time will teach you how to cope with the pain, and one way to do it, is to laugh.

Being able to laugh at yourself is a sign of mental health. So, practice it. Often.

Count the little things. Little things, count.

Many of us in the midst of a fast-paced life, operate on auto pilot. And in doing so, we often  forget the little things that contribute so much to how our life evolves.

We forget to stop for a while and enjoy the chirping birds. We forget to stop and just, breathe. We jump right out of the bed (or, just go right back to sleep to then panic for being late), forgetting to just close our eyes just for a wee bit to enjoy that morning stillness and silence. We forget to stop and look at those people with whom we’ve lived. The wrinkles they have developed. Their smile. That twinkling star in your spouse’s eyes as he makes silly jokes.

We take things for granted because they are not the big things that we always associate with bigger rewards. Be them money, pride, joy. We are too busy chasing the bigger things that are harder to come by.

Let’s stop and learn from children. They laugh at how a caterpillar moves. They look in awe at birds that fly so high above them. They know how to enjoy the little things.

Let’s count them. Before those little things disappear into thin air and we realise what we are after are nothing but bubbles.

It’s not just you. It’s everybody’s.

I always dislike people who can easily say, “I have achieved this because I blablabla”. Nothing is ever because of us alone. There is always someone else. Or, maybe even a bunch of others. Who support us. Help in their own ways. Even, in prayers.

We often think that we have achieved something because we have strived for it. Oh yes of course we all have struggled to get to where we are now. But please have a moment of silence and think: who were there with you?.

And also think of those whom you’ve probably never even met. The farmers who have planted the seeds so you can eat your vegetables. The cleaner who has cleaned your office so you can come in the morning not worrying about your empty glass you left on your table yesterday. The workers who have made it possible for you to live in your comfortable home.

Think of whether you can live your life now, without those people. No man’s an island. No achievement, is individual.

There. My two cents on life lessons.

Oh if none of the above works, that's why I've gone back to diving. It's so peaceful and quiet down there that I can forget I have to deal with the world. So there is a 6th lesson: everyone needs an escape once in a while. Find your escape route, to regain your sanity when you feel that you've had enough of what's happening around you. 

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