Okay, so lately I’ve been thinking about some of the most important lessons I’ve learned to live my life. Most of these sayings, people have already heard or seen on a cheesy Facebook meme, or on a fridge magnet, but these are all important to me, and I often have to remind myself of them if I find myself straying away. I have chosen five to share, so feel free to read them, adopt them, ignore them, or do whatever with them 😀
First and foremost, always be excited about the little things in life, and don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for doing so. So many people get stuck in their daily routines and they forget to look at each day as a new day. I believe that it’s important to find something new to be excited about every day. There’s so much to be happy about and we often tend to take it for granted. Whether it’s something like your favourite brand of toilet paper going on sale, or the walklight suddenly turning on JUST as you get to the corner, it’s those little things that should make you think (or squeal out loud, like I do), “Oh yay! That’s awesome!” Today, one of my coworkers had made sushi and brought some for us to eat (so awesome!), yesterday I found out that a lady is going to do a perogy-making workshop at the farmers market this weekend (wtf?! SO awesome!), the day before I found out that some of my London flatmates will be coming to visit Melbourne in November (SO AWESOME!!). I’m sure people might get sick of me constantly getting excited over every little thing, but I think it’s important to genuinely appreciate all of those little things, and I’m happy that I’ve learned how to do that. (Included is a video of one of the things I was SUPERexcited about!!)
Second, don’t give time for excuses. Whether it’s you making the excuses or someone else, there’s no time for them. Maybe it’s because I work with teenagers every day and I’ve heard every excuse in the book, I just hate hearing them. And I hate giving them. Everyone is responsible for how they portray themselves – how they act, the way they treat people, what they choose to do, how they choose to do it, etc. Sure, things happen in life that you can’t control but you can still control how you handle those situations, as well as how you treat other people in those situations. When I hear excuses, I instantly think of my students and I start to realize that those people still have some growing up to do. If you can’t take responsibility for the way that you act or for something that happens, then you still have some learning to do. The one day that I was late for work because my housemates were running late was something I couldn’t control and yes, I could have used it as an excuse because technically it wasn’t my fault, but instead I owned up to it, apologised, and said it wouldn’t happen again (and it hasn’t!). Giving an excuse just makes it worse, so don’t let them happen!
Third, don’t make time for people who won’t make time for you. I often learn this the hard way, due to life lesson #5, and this is something that I’m still working on. When I was planning my going-away party before coming to Australia, it made me realize who wanted to see me, and who didn’t really care to. There were people who removed themselves from the event completely, declined the invitation with no explanation, or didn’t RSVP at all. Those were the people who sent clear signals that they didn’t really care to see me, even though I hadn’t seen most people in over two years. Then, there were people who declined and sent a message like, “Enjoy your time in Aus!” or “Maybe we can meet up when you come back,” which also was a pretty clear signal considering I’d be gone for another two years, and I was still in Saskatoon for a month after my going-away party so I still had lots of time to meet up before then. On the other side of the spectrum, there were the people who declined because they couldn’t come, but they sent me a message saying they’d still really like to see me before I left, and planned to meet up with me for coffee or for dinner. Then there were the people who actually came, whether it was for the entire time or even just for a quick 15-minute visit. There was someone who had been working outside of town and happened to have a layover in Saskatoon that evening so she stopped by to say hello!! It made me really appreciate all of those people who had set aside time for me, and I had such a great time that evening because of it! I notice those things, and even though it may seem like a small thing to show up to an event, it means a great deal to me! I may not always reach out and ask people to meet up but I have always made sure to spend time with someone if they ask. I remember being so busy in university and finding out that someone was celebrating their birthday on the weekend. I would work my butt off all week – making sure I did extra reading, took extra notes, finished my assignments on time, so that I could spend a few hours with my friends who wanted me to be there. They probably didn’t know how hard I worked in order to be there, and honestly they didn’t NEED to know, but I needed to make sure I would make the time for them because I knew that they would do the same for me. No one’s ever too busy. To meet up, to phone, to text. People carry their phones with them everywhere they go.. and if they honestly can’t find any time during their day to make time for you, then you don’t need to waste your time making time for them. This topic also got me thinking about people visiting Saskatoon. I meet people everywhere I go and if they’ve ever had a conversation with me, they will FOR SURE know about Saskatchewan (I’m loud and proud, plus I’m just sick of people thinking that because I’m from Canada, I MUST be from either Toronto or Vancouver). I have had so many people say, “Wow, Saskatchewan sounds really great. I actually really want to go now!” Do I ever believe them? Absolutely not. Why? Because how many visitors have I gotten from out-of-country people, or even out-of-province people? None. And honestly, I’ve never really expected anyone to come visit anyway. I’ve always been the one to immediately volunteer to go visit someone else because it’s given me the opportunity to see a new country, or explore a new place. Numerous trips to Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto and flights across the world but now that I think about it, no one has done the same for me in Saskatchewan (who don’t already have ties in Saskatoon). Then again, I haven’t actually BEEN in Saskatchewan lately so what would even be the point of going? However, I HAVE had tons of visitors when I was living in France, London, and Australia, so I guess it just depends on where I live (aka my hopes for a visitor in Saskatchewan are forever low).
Fourth, believe the best in people until they give you a reason not to. I hate it when people do the opposite and constantly believe that the world is against them. These people seriously believe that other people are intentionally trying to make their lives difficult. Sure, maybe my way is a bit more naive, and yes, I end up getting hurt because I don’t expect it when someone turns their back on me. But I do think it’s important to trust people until they give you a reason not to. And for me, once that trust is gone, there’s absolutely no way you can get it back. You can try… you can wait for years to go by and wait for me to forget what actually happened to make me not trust you, but there’s always some type of feeling inside of me that changes and it can never go back to normal; I literally can’t help it. So yes, people tend to take advantage of me trusting in them, but once they do, it’ll never be the same. It’s like that saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” I know better – if people won’t respect me the first time, then it likely won’t change.
And my most favourite lesson that I ACTUALLY try to do as much as possible… I read this saying on facebook a few years ago, and it stuck with me so I live by it. Every stranger is a potential friend. I truly believe that everyone comes into my life for a reason – maybe I have to learn something from them, or they have to learn something from me. I don’t think that a coworker is just a coworker, or a flatmate is just a flatmate, or the person I said hi to at the hostel is just someone to say hi to. I think that every person has the potential to be a bigger part of my life. I’ll ask questions and get to know a person more, and try to find some common ground. If they’re receptive, then great! And if not, at least I tried. I think that maybe because of this way of living, I get attached to everyone in my life a lot easier than most people. And maybe I’ll care about people I just met more than they’ll care about me. But I’d rather live life appreciating all of the new people who come into it, rather than just look at them as someone who’s just there in the moment and who won’t be a part of my life in the future. I want to learn what these people are there to teach me!
So there you have it. Five simple rules to live by. Maybe they’re just common sense, but I think more people need to put these lessons into action, because they actually make living so much more enjoyable! Hope everyone is doing well! Love always
Lessons for Later – Slow Hollows