A Few Things I Have Learned Over 37 Years Of Life
With my 38th birthday steadily approaching in the next couple of weeks I have been reflecting on some of the life lessons that I have learned thus far. I'm not usually in such a reflective mood when it pertains to my birthday but for personal reasons, I have been pondering the things and situations that have shaped me and made me who I am. I am always in a constant state of change and my personality and beliefs are always evolving, so I thought it would be a good idea to document what I believe in today so I can have an accurate account of who I am at this moment in time.
In no way, shape, or form is my sentiments a guide to life or meant to influence how you view the world. The journey of life that we all must navigate is a very personal one, and there is no shortcuts or hacks that will help you along the way. The only way to get through it successfully is to live by your own terms and to hold on steadfastly to your own belief system. Somehow managing to firmly hold on to what makes you special and unique and trying your darndest not to waiver. Always having faith that who you are or what you have to offer has always been good enough despite what anyone else says or values.
As I sit here and reread what I wrote I can't help but chuckle to myself because it all seems so simple but as we all know it is usually the exact opposite.
Life is work, a lot of work, and requires a lot of faith and endurance ( if you no longer have an abundance of the two it can seem quite bleak). I believe it is the most important job we will ever have. I have always believed that your life is what will define you, not your actual profession. I believe that when you die most people will reflect on their personal relationship with you more than if you were a good blogger, artist, doctor, cook, teacher, barber, maid, and etc. Life will constantly take from you and at times it may not seem that it is giving as much as it is taking, and if you follow local or world events it can really be discouraging, and that is why faith is so important. Faith is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. For me, faith does not manifest in a spiritual way but it has a more universal meaning in my life. I have faith that each future generation will somehow learn from the mistakes of the past and improve upon what our ancestors started while respecting the past and what it has taught us.
Books are always better than the movie. I just prefer a more detailed accounting of how the story unfolds than a short speedy narrative that discards major plot points to fit into a specific time frame. I rather read a 900-page book that I can savor all of the details than an hour and a half movie that doesn't live up to the book that it is based on.
Being different is interesting and I have never aspired to be ordinary. Well, for the most part. I did have a couple of years when I was in high school when I tried to conform but I failed miserably because who I was naturally always shined through and thwarted my efforts. Which pleases me to this day when I reflect on those memories. Since the day I was born I have always been told that I am different in a variety of different ways. My mom would always say and shake her head with exasperation, "Girl, you are something else". A constant refrain in my family is, " Well that is Toya. You know how she is". My close friends have called me a bit off, an odd duck, different, crazy (they swear it is in a good way), and that they have never met someone like me (which has always confused me because no two people are alike, so, doesn't it go without saying that of course, you have never met anyone like me). I have worn my individuality as a badge of honor because it means that for the most part, I have felt comfortable to be who I am regardless if the outcome was good or bad. If everyone was the same life would not be exciting and we would be bombarded with a constant stream of blandness.
I highly dislike quinoa, the color purple ( the actual hue not the iconic book), and techno music. I have never liked the smell of quinoa cooking. I have never liked the taste of it or the texture. I do not care how it is prepared. Everyone swears they have a recipe that I will like but I politely respond by telling them they can keep that sh*t. Lol! As for the color purple, I have never liked the shade on me and I'm not talking about a derivative of purple like a pastel shade but the actual true hue. To be fair I like the color on other people just not me. My worst nightmare was when I had to grin and bear it when I was a bridesmaid in a friends wedding and was forced to wear a purple satin mermaid dress. All I can think about when I look at the pictures is that we looked like Barney and the Kool-Aid Man mascot. As far as techno music is concerned, something about it has always given me an automatic migraine. After a minute listening to it, I feel like my head is about to explode. Maybe has something to do with the driving thumping beat and electronic instrumentation but I feel like I'm going to have a seizure if I listen to it.
Death and birth is a constant part of life. Logically we all accept this as fact, but most times we are not emotionally prepared to cope with it. We all know that babies are born every day and for me, these precious little creatures have always given me hope for man kind. They represent a new beginning and offers us a chance to break toxic cycles and behaviors that we may have learned from our parents and that has been passed from generation to generation. On the other hand, death means the end and we have been conditioned to celebrate births and run away from death as if it is not a natural progression and a part of life which leaves a lot of us unprepared to deal with an unexpected passing away of someone we hold dear. Whenever someone dies I have observed that most people try to "get over it" as soon as possible in a lot of unhealthy ways. Some people can't even offer support to others after a loss because it makes them have to face uncomfortable truths about mortality and their emotions.
White chocolate, pizza, caramel, tacos, toffee, cheese, and any lemon flavored dessert are delicious. Hey, I like what I like!
Think for one's self and do not be swayed or led by others. In this day and age of constant news cycles and the proliferation of opinion and commentary, I have noticed a greater percentage of people stopped researching and studying things for themselves and overly relying on other people's assessment of things and blindly accepting them as fact. This worries me to no end but hey, I have always been a worrier. Except that history has taught me to be very concerned about this issue because a lot of catastrophes, wars, genocides, and other atrocious acts happened because of people blindly accepting or allowing something to happen based on self-interest and a false premise that they could have easily researched and unfortunately technology has made us even lazier and more dangerous.
Cramps and PMS sucks! Any woman who has to deal with either issue knows exactly what I'm talking about. I do not look forward to knowing every month until I hit menopause that I can anticipate constant stomach and back pain, bloating, mood swings, acne, and migraines. One of my sisters does not suffer from PMS and I want to kick her in the shins every time she gloats about it.
Never measure yourself against other's and their achievements. Oh, this is a hard one. This will be a constant struggle until the day I die because we live in a competitive society. It is hard not to get caught up in the bullsh*t. Back in the day, I used to only compare my achievements against the people who I personally knew and that was folly because success is a combination of resources, networking, dedication, hard work, and a ton of luck. In the age of social media, it has made it even harder not to feel like you are lagging behind. It especially irks me how people down play how much luck actually has to do with success, because let's keep it real we know a lot of people who work hard every day and will never be famous, own their own company, make a lot of money, get married, have children, and etc, but it doesn't mean they didn't work hard or try. It is only a handful of people that are destined to end up in the history books and that is okay. It doesn't mean that you did not measure up. Look at the artist Vincent Van Gogh, he was considered a failure when he died because he was not able to sell any of his work. Not one single painting, but now he is considered one of the greatest painters of all time and his work sells for hundreds of millions of dollars, but he died not knowing the impact he would have on the world.
Appreciate the ones you love while they are still alive. This is another uncomfortable truth because as I stated before most of us have a hard time grasping our own mortality so it is even harder to face the mortality of others. We walk around with this illusion that we will have another chance or moment with the people we care about even though people die every minute of the day. For some reason, we never fully accept or grasp that it will eventually be someone we love, and most of us will not see it coming. So it is imperative that we show appreciation for the people in our lives and verbally reassure them of how much they mean to us and how they have impacted our lives. Make sure to hug them and kiss them. Tell them you love them or how deeply you care. Do something nice to uplift them. Be kind, considerate, compassionate, supportive, and empathetic.
When preparing this post there were so many points I wanted to make and things I wanted to say but decided to condense my message because I could go on and on, lol.
Thank you for sharing this moment in time with me.