Reblogging this again. We’ve gained a ton of new readers since, and always like to reach out for feedback from time to time.
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I am a man who will take a beer for simple means.
Tumblr Neighbors should be there for one another - that is when they become good friends. As a good friend I will not post Stefan Dennis’ “Gonna make you feel good”.
Well done, sir.
As one of the more stable individuals on the planet, on several occasions recently I’ve been asked by others for some advice on getting through a transition of one sort or another —- a graduation, a move, a new career.
While the conversations would typically start with the practical, i.e. look here for the best apartment or job listings, they always eventually drifted toward the more existentialist.
Over the years, I’ve had a few moments that, immediately after they occurred, I felt as if I’d been slapped across the face by The Message Fairy.
Without further ado, I’d like to share these lessons I’ve learned with you. Each has an anecdote to go along, but I’ll keep the explanations here short. Feel free to pry the stories out of me over a drink sometime. They all sound so simple, and they are. Truly.
1) “Do what makes you happy.”
Life’s too short not to.
2) “What’s the use in worrying?”
I don’t mean to suggest you should go through life entirely carefree or, more importantly, ignorant or inconsiderate of reality. I’m the ultimate pragmatist. What I mean is don’t let worry or anxiety paralyze you or trip you up. Basically, worrying about something doesn’t make it go away, so why waste your time doing so? If you’re determined to do something, skip that step and just focus on the rest of the journey or task at hand. If you ever feel overwhelmed, take 10 deep breaths. Seriously. Take a whole minute to do so. Do it right now. Long, complete breaths. It’s almost impossible to still be worked up afterward. This is the antidote to the fright-fight-or-flight response.
3) “It’s not where, but who you’re with that really matters.”
I have one of the healthiest home lives of anyone I know. Close family. I’ve known most of my best friends since the womb. And those who I haven’t, yet feel the same sort of bond with, are particularly treasured. I know not everyone has this and I am eternally grateful for it. It gives me so much strength to know that I am never more than a phone call away from an encouraging word, a good laugh, or a pick-me-up. Cherish those who are close to you. Appreciate them when they’re with you, and when they’re not. Especially when they’re not. “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” right? It can be very easy to lose sight of others when you’re doing your own thing, be it a demanding career, while traveling, or when settling in a new place. Just don’t let these people out of your mind and you’ll never feel alone.
4) “A friend is always good to have but a lover’s kiss is better than angels raining down on me.”
An extension of the previous lesson. While friends and family are tremendously important —- I can’t stress that enough —- they won’t keep you warm at night! She’s out there, I know. I know love is not something you can look for or calculate, but rather, it finds you. “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas.” (The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.) -Blaise Pascal in Les Pensées (“Thoughts”), the namesake for this blog. You’ll know it when it comes your way. Don’t settle until then. This one hit me while traveling abroad on my own a while back. Every time I experienced something amazing, in a small place in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think how much I would have liked someone special there beside me to share it with. Mark Twain put it well, saying “To get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.”
Do what makes you happy.
What’s the use in worrying?*
It’s not where, but who you’re with that really matters.*
A friend is always good to have but a lover’s kiss is better than angels raining down on me.*
* - Yes, those are lyrics penned by Dave Matthews (Dancing Nancies, Best of What’s Around, and #40, respectively). They came to mind when each of these lessons presented themselves to me. Don’t hate. They’re perfectly succinct and to-the-point.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?