1. Childhood friends are the best kind of friends: While our careers may change, our relationship status’ may change, our interests may slightly change, the essence of who we are as people is somewhat fixated. Childhood friends are the best kinds of friends, because they know who you are as a person. You may move away from each other. You may get married at different times, have children at different times, work in different industries, but your friendship is always based on the same foundations, and childhood friends always bring back a comforting familiarity.
2. Change occurs in small doses: When we make New Years’ Resolutions, we often have these lofty ideas that I am going to ditch the lifestyle I once had, start immediately shopping at Whole Foods, make plans to go to the gym every single day. And, it never works out that way, because it is cultivating small habits that create big changes. One time, I decided that I was insecure, not confident, and I wanted to change that. So, I thought of small ways to change that. I forced myself to not be on my cellphone while standing in lines, I forced myself to look at people in the eyes while I was on my way to class, and eventually, forced myself to sign up for activities and go places that I didn’t know anyone, and suddenly, I felt more confident.
3. The best relationships are those which have endured trauma: The best relationships that I have with people went through some kind of wringer. My siblings and I? Our childhood. My best friend, Brittny? Surviving our first years of teaching. My third sister, Stephanie? I won’t even go into detail of what that relationship has been through. But, these are the people who know me best, the people who I can laugh with, climb trees with, have romantic walks on the beach with, wear my footie pajamas around, tell the embarrassing story about the Chick Fil A cup. There is something about going through obstacles that strengthens a relationship; I think it’s because you see each other in the most vulnerable states, you break down barriers, and you build back up together.
4. We are all participators in what happens to us: It can be true that we do find ourselves caught in situations that we feel we have no control over and is completely a result of someone else; that someone is attacking us for no reason, because they feel threatened, and therefore are trying to stomp on our voices; that someone . But, the truth of the matter is, while we may be 100% innocent, we are not 100% guilt-free, because, in someway, our interactions spurred this treatment, and in some way, we could have done something to change the outcome. Say, for example, someone sends me a nasty e-mail. It is true that the blame could fall on them, because we should never send anyone a nasty e-mail. However, was there something that I did to participate in that e-mail being sent? Even if I am 100% innocent, my actions lead to this outcome in some way, and as a human, I need to take some accountability.
5. God provides: I can’t tell you have many times in my life I have been stuck in a funk, or a crisis, or a pondering, and something happens that sets me back on track. Perhaps I am having a bad day, and then out of nowhere, I get a text message from a long lost friend that perks me up. Or, I am thinking about how bored I am going to be this summer, and a travel opportunity pops up, and suddenly, I have something to look forward to. Or, I am wondering how I should act in a certain situation, it comes up as a topic of conversation, and suddenly, I know exactly what I am supposed to do. It’s just about learning to read situations. But, God does provide.
6. Assume best intentions….unless otherwise noted: As humans, we have this tendency to try to understand other people’s behaviors towards us, and usually, our conclusions are negative. So, when someone doesn’t call me back, instead of telling myself, “Oh, they must be mad at me”, or, “Oh, they must be a jerk”, which is potentially damaging to my ego, and also draining on my energy, I just tell myself, “They must not have gotten my phone call”, or, “Maybe they got abducted by aliens and will return my call when they come back to Earth”. And, if it does come true that they are mad at me, or that they are a jerk, well—we will just cross that bridge when it happens; no sense in wasting time, worrying about something that could very well not be true.
7. I can’t save the world, but I can surely touch it: I discovered a while ago that I can’t save the world. And, then I realized that, I can’t save the world, but I can surely touch people; I believe we are all quilts, fabrics of our experiences. We pull a little from this person, take a little from that, and we are representations of a conglomeration of these interactions with other people. So, I can’t fix everyone, but I can give everyone a touch of my essence, in hopes that they take that along with time while they pick up someone else’s, and eventually, collectively, we can all participate in saving the world.
8. Make your own judgments about people: We have this idea of truth, and how truth is constructed based on our experiences. So, my ideal of ‘truth’ is different than your ideal of ‘truth’, because we both come from different places. And, because of this, my perception of someone is going to be different than your perception of someone. We get ourselves into dangerous, dangerous territory when we use other people’s perceptions of people to create our own, rather than building our perceptions based on our own personal interactions. This is how gossip gets started, this is how reputations get tainted, and I always believe it is best to go to the source, because the source is going to give you the answer closest to the truth, and while I can take your interactions with that person into consideration, I also have to fend for myself, and that means creating my own judgements.
9. Take from the experts: I believe that each of us are designed to be experts of some sort; I hold knowledge of how to write a great resume, my room mate holds knowledge of how to get the Corolla unstuck from the driveway, my sister holds knowledge of how to take care of her horses. It’s humanly impossible for us all to know everything, so we designate certain people in our society to be specialists. And, when the time comes for me to utilize that knowledge, I go to the specialist, and I learn from them. If I want to be a more creative teacher, I find the most creative teacher I know. If I want to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow, I find someone I know who is good at archery. If I want to learn how to do a triple piourette, I find the best dancer that I know, and I learn from them. So, take from the experts; that is what they are here for: to disseminate their expertise to the ignorant, and willing.
10: The best part of working out? Post-steam room euphoria: Sometimes, my only motivation to workout at the end of a long, long day is knowing I can reward myself with the steam room afterwards. The steam room itself is great, but the best part of the whole experience is walking out, as my lungs fill up with fresh air, while the eucalyptus scent still lingers in my chest, and I can finally feel the muscle of my brain finally relax, the thoughts in my head go away, and I am free to roam.