Recently, I came across this delightful article Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living by Maria Popova and found it completely inspiring. There are lots of things out there that give us advice and spout interesting and thoughtful life lessons, but this captured my attention on several levels. First of all, I used it as a teaching resource along side the short film based on the text. Its challenging vocabulary and thought provoking sentiment, which is beautifully written and developed, did us all some good on a cool March day.
Secondly, it gave me the perfect activity: what are the seven most important lessons you have ever learned? And, being a big believer of being able to do any writing activity I set, I got out some paper and pen, dusted off some brain cells and sat down to consider and hash out the following…
Things I’ve Realised After 29 Years on this Earth
1 . Value time alone
Being able to be in the quiet, at home alone with the television turned off and your phone on silent is a treat and privilege. Learning how to enjoy peace and quiet, appreciate your own company and be present in the moment on a stroll somewhere quietens the mind and settles the nerves.
2. Doing things is much better than having things
Spend your money wisely. Travel, visit, look. An extra museum visit is worth more than a new handbag, honest.
3. Mental health is as important as physical health.
Be balanced, be happy, be healthy. Make sure your legs can run, your lungs can breath, and your mind can beat to the right rhythm. Your brain needs as much exercise as your body, whether its meditation, mindfulness or some silliness. Take care of your mind and it will take care of you.
4. People will like and respect you if you do what you want to do. Those who don’t, don’t matter.
Join, go, meet, pursue your interests. At Uni there was always the fear of missing out on something social, not being around when something happened. Realistically, all I’d have missed out on was a few hangovers and these regrets about not making the most of opportunities I had back then to maintain hobbies and find new ones. If it interests you, do it! Find your thing and be proud of it.
5. Being kind and forgiving of someone who doesn’t deserve it is better than being mean and resentful of someone who does deserve it.
6. There is always another side to the story
Even when you know you are right. Even when you know you deserve an apology, Look at things from all angles, even the angle you can’t really see. Remember, people have stuff going in their lives that make them do stupid things. (Also remember that you’ll be that person at some point or another too.) There is no need to be a doormat, just don’t take things too personally or make them too final.
7. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say I don’t know.
Two in one, but simple enough, and yet often the hardest thing to do. You are not indispensable, you are not required to have all the answers, and you are allowed to make a choice.
And there we have it, seven things I have realised that make my life a little easier. Maria Popova writes about it better. For me though, running with the idea and taking time to think about the lessons I’ve realised is as satisfying as carrying out number 4, finding my blogging love and going with it.
Do I always follow this advice? Nah, if I did, I wouldn’t be half so mental. But I do try…