I was going to write a year-end post about loss and growth and how the things that are worth doing and are most rewarding are never the easiest options.
But I think most people know this stuff. Wa-ay down deep, we all know it. But we live in constant denial of it. The easiest route, life, option - rarely pays off to the same degree as the option that kicks your ass and leaves you at the curb.
So I'm just going to list some of the things I've learned this year, interspersed by a collection of photos from the past year.
“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”
+ I lost three people within 3 months this summer. Then two more people I knew, though not as closely passed away. Two of the first 3 I'd known for most of my life. All unexpectedly. Life got to the point that I was just being and going through the motions. Not really processing feelings. I could do little more than just accept that things happened. Three of the five had pre-existing conditions, but none had any advance warning that they were going to make their exit in the hour they did.
We very rarely get to choose how or when we're going to leave this world. It's important to come to terms with that fact and stop wasting time being stuck in whatever you're stuck in right now.
+ When shitty things happen - many people will call/email/text once. Some won't at all. The people who try to make contact more than once are almost always the ones who have gone through something similar and know that most people only make contact once and feel that they've done their duty - but you're still there every day and nothing has really changed.
Check in more than once, it's very likely you'll be the only person who did that day.
Initiate, don't ask.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
Henry David Thoreau
+ The word literally is over used by people who watch too much TV and don't read enough.
+ Everyone is fighting their own battle. Just because they don't tell you about it doesn't mean they aren't fighting one, too.
+ But.. just because you're fighting a battle doesn't give you an excuse to be a jerk.
+ Not all friendships are forever. People change - not always in compatible ways. But if you ditch someone, find the courage tell them why. Just don't disappear.
+ Treat people the way you expect to be treated. If people don't treat you as well as you treat them and you're not getting enough positive things out of having them in your life - see above.
+ Don't be a jerk.
+ If you make a habit of cancelling plans, being unreliable, taking people for granted or outright lying to people in your life - don't be surprised if you get ditched.
When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
- Mark Twain
+ On NYE someone asked me how I have the guts to take a year to do what I want to do. And do it so often. She thought she was too lazy to leave the status quo (her words). I told her that leaving can't be important enough if she truly thinks she's too lazy - that she likely hasn't had the shit scared out if her yet (she's 30).. and maybe she's perfectly happy as is. She agreed.. then wondered what if something shit-scaring never happens to her? I told her that if it doesn't happen to her, it will happen to someone she knows.
It's just a matter of how she processes it and what she does with the experience.
+ There are at least 3 versions to any story - yours, theirs.. and something closer to the unbiased truth. You rarely hear all 3 versions - but have faith that they all exist.
+ Get used to knowing that you will hardly ever know the truth... about anything.
+ However many sets/reps you do doesn't matter unless you do so many that you physically, literally can't do any more. That's how you get stronger.
Yes, I do realize that's a metaphor for many things in life.
+ The more often you do something, the better you'll get at it. This applies to things that are both good and bad for you. See above.
+ Courage (in actions, words, thought) is exceedingly rare - most people would rather follow behind and let someone else take the risks. Those people rarely have your back if you fail. (see above)
Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.
- Amelia Earhart
+ Educate yourself and stand up for what you believe in, even if it goes against what those around you are saying and doing. You know you best. It will make it easier to live with yourself after the dust has settled.
+ But if everyone thinks what you're doing is batshit crazy - it's time to reexamine what you believe so strongly in.
+ Trying to understand someone else's point of view isn't the same as agreeing with them - even though many think it is.
+ "I'm sorry you feel that way" is not an apology. It is the opposite of an apology. Don't say it and don't accept it from others. All apologies that matter start with "I'm sorry I..." not "I'm sorry you...".
+ If you really don't understand why someone did/said something that you perceive to have far more negative/destructive/hurtful than positive consequences - ask them "Do you think that's the right thing to do?". If they say "yes" without explanation or clarification - walk away.
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
+ Narcissistic people will always put themselves and their needs/wants ahead of yours. Always. It's a constant power struggle and they won't change. Ever.
+ Some people really are Jerks. They're also, probably, kinda miserable.
It's not your problem.
+ Resolve to spend your time on the good (people, causes, events, thoughts). Don't waste your time on the bad/negative. See point #1.
+ In the big scheme of things - we all know next to nothing. But we are all in total control over how much and how little we know - about anything. Educate yourself.
+ My biggest pet peeve this year - It is not what it is. It is how you interpret it.
Happy 2012, yo.
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
- Steve Jobs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . click on any photo to view it on flickr
..all content and images copyright kanchan maharaj inHerEye photography. stealing is bad. very bad..