Thursday, September 10, 2009


God puts a lot of people in our lives. Just think of all of the people you know. The ones you know well, the ones you've met briefly, the one's you've only heard of. Plus millions more that just occupy the same planet as you. These people all have the ability to impact our lives, often in the smallest ways. But that's okay, small can be good. For today, I'm talking about positive impacts. For today, I'm talking about learning from these people. Let them teach you. It's the best deal you could possibly get. It's free, there's no homework, no finals, no grades, no pre-requisites. Heck, half of the time they won't even be aware that they're teaching you. Take advantage of this. Schooling isn't always easy, and it isn't always cheap; especially not at a higher-education level. Take it from a poor college student. But aren't some of the most important lessons those not taught in schools?


Don't fall down. Did a teacher ever give you those directions to follow? Don't fall down. Don't trip in a crowd. Don't land on your face. No, that's a life-ism. You learn this in conjunction with learning to walk. If walking upright, proud, tall, successful is your goal, then what naturally is what you don't want? To land on your face. To get hurt. To suffer embarrassment. To fail.

You don't have to wait to be told this to pick it up. So why wait for anything else?

Don't hold out for an instructor to impart his irrefutable words of wisdom. Let yourself and the people around you be as much your teachers as any certified ones. If you see a co-worker mouth off to the boss over the lack of a window in his cubicle, and subsequently he is fired, let that be a lesson to you. Choose your battles. Which is more important? Daylight distraction? Or steady income? Choose accordingly.

And don't forget to let yourself teach....well, yourself. You're smarter than you give yourself credit for! (Probably.) They say you only have to burn your hand on a hot oven once to know not to do it again. Don't be that person who doesn't learn from past mistakes. And don't think that just because you've never actually been told something, it must not be right. You don't have to hear something for it to be true.

Also, we're all different. Me, I'm different from you. And you, you're different from the guy next to you on the bus, or in class, or in line at the movies. Sure, you may share some similar qualities, but just because that dude with the 'fro can wait until the day before the test to study and still pull an A doesn't mean you shouldn't just go ahead and start looking at those notes.


I learned that if I get an idea for something to write, I need to at least jot down the basic idea. And I mean fast. Because if I can recall it later-- and I mean if-- usually the feeling of epiphany is long gone and it's harder to manage very much coherent, enlightened thought. I learned this from a couple of times where great ideas were lost to a couple of hours of sleep, or watching TV. Now I know not to trust that I'll remember them with great clarity even in the near future. Especially after doing something else.

Another Example.

I am not a fun person to be around when I don't get sleep. Enough sleep. Lots of sleep. Ask anyone. Ask my parents, my friends, my dog. I mean it. Some people can pull all-nighters and be functioning members of society the following day. I, however, am not one of those fine individuals. I don't really have much midnight oil to burn. I get emotional, easily frustrated, irritable, inattentive, plus many other not-so-fantastic qualities. Yes, it sucks. But yes, it's true. So I try to get a decent amount of sleep, and all the best to people who stay up late, get up early, and on, and on, etc.

Parents are also fabulous teachers. Seriously. I know everyone has heard their parents tell them that, "You'll thank me when you're older," or, "You'll understand when you're older." Well trust me guys, I'm old enough now to tell you that THEY ARE RIGHT. And I'm still young enough that you should believe me. Your parents know what they're talking about. They've been there before, even if you can't imagine them as teenagers. They did it. They overcame it. They had homework, they had peer pressure, they had parents telling them 'No', they had annoying siblings, and guess what--They also came out on the other side. It can be done. And you should trust them. Learn from them. Take their advice, use their experience to better your own. You won't regret it. Cross my heart.

I would challenge you to be aware, be on the lookout for opportunities to take full advantage of the people that God has placed in your life. Learn from them, listen to them, take their advice and chew on it, figure out if it works for you. Figure out what works for you. Get to know yourself. It's so much easier for other people to get to know you when you know yourself. It takes awhile, it's not always easy, and really it's just an on-going process so don't expect to spend 45 minutes on it and be done for life. It comes and goes, pops up when you least expect it. It's in that advice your Grandmother repeated to you countless times, in that long talk you had with your Dad. It's in actions, too. Like the guy who didn't watch where he was going and fell flat on his face. Try not to do that. It's just common sense.

Here are a few things to get you started.

My Grandmother always told me, "Space is the cheapest form of insurance." This will make a lot of sense to you when you start driving for the first time.

My Grandmother also told me, "Don't give a rat's behind what anyone else thinks. Who cares!?" This is fantastic advice. I try to take it to heart every day. These are wise words. The sooner you can embrace them, the better.

My Dad taught me, "Pick your battles." This is not easy. Especially when you feel very strongly about something. But weigh it, think about it. Figure out if it's worth it. Sometimes it isn't.

My Mom taught me that, "A clean room will make you happier than a messy room." This is...I can't even explain how true this is. I hate cleaning my room. Don't get me wrong. But I hate living in a messy room even more than I hate cleaning.

My Great Grandmother taught me, "Don't cry over everything." Well, she tried to. But I was quite young. And I'm far too emotional. But this is still a very good lesson. It's too emotionally tiring to cry over everything.

My Grandpa taught me that sending someone a birthday card, or a Christmas card, or any card for any occasion can make that person's day so much brighter. Let people know that you think about them, that you care. I loved getting cards from my Grandpa.

My best friend, Matt, taught me that you should never leave a glass of milk in a hot garage for an extended period of time because it will solidify and that's just gross.

These are just a few of the lessons I've accumulated so far in my life-long life lessons education. Take them, chew on them, and feel free to add them to your life-isms catalogue as needed.

Carpe diem.


Matt Bukaty said...

Hahahahahahaha!!!! I'm glad to hear that I'm implemented something in your life ;)

Also, this is very well-written - easily could be a blurb in a newspaper or magazine. So props to you :)

And third, I can totally relate with the "jot down an idea immediately because you WILL forget it". I don't know how many symphonies, operas and Academy award-winning film scores I've lost to an extra five minutes of sleep or a second movie to watch that night...BUM.MER.

-Learned his lesson about the milk

P.S. "intherdi" is the word.

Sarah said...

I have learned many a thing from you. :-)

And thank you! I'm glad to hear it, and I accept the props. Happily, at that.

I knew I wasn't the only one! Yeah, if I don't write it down immediately...well, it's Bye Bye good idea! :-\ haha

And about the milk-- glad to hear you've learned your lesson. I know I sure wouldn't want to do that twice! ;-)