During a recent visit to my public library, I saw a glass display case filled with the junk that jerks have forced into the drop-box for books and movies. The case held plenty of trash, glasses, a mannequin head… what is WRONG with people? Those poor librarians! Will displaying this stuff make hooligans reconsider shoving garbage into the drop-box, or will it inspire young’uns to commit similar acts of General Stupidity?
(In related news, get off my lawn!)
During this same library visit, I saw a small cardboard box of free Life’s Lessons written by local library patrons:
Great idea, eh? I stopped and read them all.
Sadly, I can’t remember a single one. Life’s lessons must forgettable, or we wouldn’t make the same mistakes repeatedly. Or maybe none of those lessons resonated with me because every life is unique — you may have have to write your own advice.
Here are few lessons from my life that may help you, too:
1. Don’t wait around for validation. Get out there and validate yourself. For many years, I searched high and low for someone famous with my fluffy hair, rounded nose, or wonky knees— so I’d know I was acceptable. I relied on my report cards to prove my worth, and nearly fell on my sword the first time I got a B. Year after year, I waited for someone to tell me “Rebekah, you should definitely keep studying singing.” I kept quiet about my religious doubts, because I desperately needed to be seen as A Good Person and didn’t know Good People were allowed to speak freely.
Please, please don’t live that way. You can wait a lifetime for permission to be yourself, or you can turn to the nearest mirror and say “permission granted!”
2. Face your fears, because they won’t go away by themselves. I say this as a spectacularly anxious, fear-filled person. But every single time I screw up my courage and try, facing the fear pays off.
3. Keep a running list of your old home and work addresses, plus names of supervisors. Because sooner or later, you’ll be filling out a job application or something and realize you have no idea exactly where you’ve worked. When I started working at a bank, they required a list of my addresses for the past ten years. I’d moved at least seven times in ten years, and couldn’t remember half my old addresses.
4. Eating a whole box of Little Debbies will never fix your problems. Unless your problem was having too many Little Debbies in the house, or slightly loose jeans.
5. Hang out with the kindest people, not the coolest ones. Sure, sure, some people are nice AND cool, but plenty more achieve their coolness through cattiness. Leave people with nothing nice to say to their own devices (when possible), and go make the world a better place.
6. Make big changes— when they feel right to you. Looking back, the three most dramatic life changes I’ve made were A) moving from Indiana to New Mexico, B) leaving the LDS church and C) shaving my head for the first time. Each choice scared me silly, and required jumping social and psychological hurdles. I received more than enough criticism for my choices. But every one felt essential to my soul, and each one felt like being born again.
7. Too scared for big changes? Make small ones, then. Work your way up.
8. Write your own commandments. As mentioned, sometimes you need to write your own life advice, because you know where you need the most help. Whether or not you subscribe to the Original Top Ten, you may need a few extra commandments to see you through. Gretchen Rubin has some great ones.
Please leave a little friendly advice in the comments. What has life taught you?