Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Things I Wish I'd Known or Realized When I Was a Child

~Make friends with the things that go bump in the night. Doing so will make embracing the necessary balance or light and dark (both tangible and otherwise) easier. Also, it will save you money on future electricity bills.

~Don't be contrary for the sake of being different. We are all different in our own ways, so refusing to try something because you "don't like it" (even though you've never even had it before) doesn't do anyone any good. Try it once every seven years, too. Taste-buds change.

~Keep reading. Yes, reading aloud in class because you're forced to is embarrassing. That never changes. We were asked to volunteer to read something out loud at a work meeting the other day. No one jumped up for that, either. But keep reading. Even if you think you hate reading, eventually you will devour a book that consumes your imagination. That book will be your gateway drug into bigger and deeper stories. I promise, it won't be like reading in class or for an assignment. The only time-constraints will be set by you; no deadlines, no eyes of peers staring you down, no teachers telling you to "sound it out."

~Talk to your elders. Seriously. This is something I try to do every time I'm near the older members of my family (and did as a kid, but not nearly as much as I now realize I should have...) Ask them what life was like. Ask them to tell you stories that their grandparents told them. Ask if there are any family members that you don't know, and what are their stories? Embrace where you come from. In a world where we are told to embrace differences, but treat everyone like they are the same, having roots and knowledge of your own family can help you keep your bearings, and bring you back to yourself when you're confused.

~On that note...Get lost! Go somewhere you've never been before. Start small, though. Take a side road you've passed on the way home dozens of times, and have wondered where it lead, but never taken.

~Don't get into the habit of telling white lies to avoid hurting feelings only to turn around and talk about someone behind his or her back. It's a nasty habit (even if it was born of good intentions) that roots and grows as quickly as dandelions, and it's as difficult to overcome. There's no "weed killer" for this type of behavior.

~Stop telling everyone you can't, because your conviction is convincing your own self. My mother constantly told me that it was likely I got my inability to understand math from her, and it was my father who was the "math person" in our house. Making that comparison, and never wanting to be like him, I naturally accepted defeat, and grew up strengthening that belief as I told countless others that I couldn't "do math." When it clicked once in a while, I chalked it up to luck. Then, I stopped telling the world, and myself, that I was bad at math. What happened then was an incredibly uplifting and proud semester of Statistics in college. The same goes for my memory. It's faulty, of course it is; I'm human, but when I reduced the amount of times I told the world "I have a terrible memory," my recall was quicker and more varied.

~The world is not very big, but it will always feel HUGE if you never go anywhere.

~Everyone is weird. We all have our secrets. But there is at least one other person out there with the same secret, so you're not alone.

~Wishes DO come true, so choose those words wisely. Additionally, the rule of a wish taking 8 years for fulfillment is true. Be patient, but don't just wait for it to complete. Fill your time with other activities and things that you CAN control.

~You may envy others, but you are not the bottom man on the pole; there are others that want what you have. Similarly, realize you dislike that person because you see something in them that reminds you of you. Fix yourself, and you will gain that which you seek.

~Keep using your imagination. Just like muscles, your creativity can atrophy. Just like unused parts of your brain, like those neurons that have not been strengthened through regular practice, your imagination can dissolve. Don't let the harsh realities of the world embitter and jade you. Appreciate the wonder of the stars at night, keep the rusted gate song of the Red Wing Blackbirds in your heart, feel the warm embrace of the summer breeze, and see the magic in all that is within and without. There are always going to be people that don't understand and can't see it, but they are none of your concern.

~Above all, keep being you, in every incarnation. Change only for yourself.

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