The Things We Learn About Life After Being Really, Really Bad At It

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Over the last twenty-three years life has spoken to me. It has spoken to me through heartache, through hardship, through joy and celebration. Life has taken me by the shoulders, it has shaken me, and it has bellowed into my bones. It has said:

Understand that you will hurt people. You will hurt, and you will be hurt. However, you will also love, and you will be loved in the most magnificent ways. To live life is to understand that together these extremes thrive within you — your heart is both a blessing and a blade. To put your soul into the hands of someone who could wound it or heal it is quite possibly the most courageously beautiful risk you take. It is like looking someone right in the eye and saying “You may hurt me, but you may also love me, and I am willing to take that chance. I am willing to trust.”

The things you do, the aspects of your life that you dedicate your time and your heart to, should never revolve around prestige, wealth, or approval. Prestige often warps your mind into thinking that you are doing something meaningful, when in reality you are looking for instant gratification — you are seeking approval. You must dedicate yourself to the things that truly matter to you, the things that may not end in esteem, but rather passion. At the end of the day you are going to be immortalized in the beauty you inspire within other people, and that often comes from a place that has rooted itself much deeper than any fortune or luminary.

You must be generous with your time, with your heart, and with your thoughts. Human beings exist around you within all aspects of your life, and you influence them within the things that you say, and how you devote yourself to them. You must make an effort to be compassionate, rather than critical, of those you share this paper world with. Be generous with your encouragement; be generous with your experience. The greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of mutuality, the gift of understanding that we all share the same scars, though we often try to hide them. Be the renegade who rolls up your sleeves and exposes your scabs, be the person who shows someone that they are not the only one experiencing the world they way they are.

Most importantly do not seek out the answers. You do not need to know what happens next, you do not require a step-by-step account on how to achieve meaning in this unpredictable world. Think about past moments that truly took your breath away. They were unwarranted, they surprised you. Think about all of the unexpected beauty you stumbled upon while you were simply living, while you were simply making it up as you went along. Choose that over the answers. Choose the lump in the back of your throat the first time he held your hand. Choose the nervous energy that tucked itself within your chest when you got lost in a new city. Choose uncertainty, choose discomfort, and in doing so, choose the freedom to make mistakes, to start again, to discover with childlike wonder how you want to live. TC mark

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