Monday, October 6, 2008

What I Know, Part 1

As the two regular readers of this blog already know, I've recently celebrated another birthday. Over the years, I've made some good choices and some not-so-great ones. Yet, the mistakes and the choices I have made have brought me to where I am now and that's not a bad place. Who's to say if I would have done things differently, they would have turned out better. Who knows?

Which brings me to the point of today's blog, I asked myself, what have these past two decades taught me? What wisdom have I gained with age? Here are a half dozen things that I've learned.

1. You Aren't Defined by Your Words But Your Actions: You can say anything. It's what you do that counts. Don't call me your friend and then suddenly disappear in my time of need. Don't talk about the virtues of family when you barely speak to yours. I've learned to be polite when people 'talk'. I nod and smile and let all those marvelous words in through one ear and right out the other. All the while, I'm watching people's actions because that's the true test of integrity and that is where real character lies.

2. Speak Up: When I was younger, I let a lot of people get away with a lot of things because I wanted to be nice or because I was scared of what people would say or because I didn't want to rock the boat. Well, my niceness was taken for weakness man times. So I learned to speak up. I don't raise my voice. I don't need to curse. I don't get all neck-twisty but if you cross me, you will know it. If you mistake my kindness for weakness once, you won't make that mistake twice.

3. It's Okay If You Don't Like Me: I was a pretty popular kid. As I grew older, I expected everybody to like me. If someone didn't like me, it really did hurt my feelings. I realize now how ridiculous that was. Not everyone will like me and I may never know why. It might not doesn’t have anything to do with me. Regardless of the reason, it's okay. I don't need to impress you. You don't have to like me. And guess what, I don't have to like you either!

4. Be The Person You Want to Attract: This goes for friends and co-workers as much as it does for a romantic partner. If you want loyal friends, be a loyal friend. If you want honesty in your relationships, you need to be honest. If you want laughter and joy, you can't be sulking around depressed. Like attracts like.

5. Be Real with Yourself: I can't afford the luxury of self-delusion. When I first started gaining weight, I actually thought that the dryer was shrinking my clothes! I also thought that my money problems would magically disappear if I just 'made more money.' Well, after more than doubling my just out of college income and gaining over 50 pounds, I had to get real. I was fat and managing money, not making it, was my problem. That was real. Once I was able to accept the truth, I could do something about it... it had nothing to do with the dryer or a FICO score, it was me.

6. Be Real about Others: If he couldn't be faithful to his other women, he won't be faithful to you (even if he swears on a stack of bibles that he will). If your boss has gone back on his word with others, eventually he'll go back on his word with you. If you've caught someone in a lie before, don't be surprised when they lie again.

What wisdom have you gained with age? Do tell!

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