Going to try hard this month to follow through with my friend Tahnie's Blogember challenge, because she is awesome and so am I.
The first prompt is one of the best lessons life has shown you.
Hooey, which is kind of a tough start, because if it was a LIST of lessonS, I could throw out a list of more concrete things like: move across the country if you want to! Never feel "guilty" for eating ice cream! Don't be afraid to be gay! Take as many road trips as possible even if you know all that driving is bad for the environment! Read National Geographic! Read the paper! Always realize that there are people out there who make less money than even you do and being poor is hard, so have empathy! Stuff like that.
But breaking it down to just ONE brings the pressure. But I've been thinking about this for a day, and this is what I've come up with.
People in your life are going to change a lot.
But you have to always be okay with yourself.
When I was an angsty teenager, all I ever thought I needed/wanted in life was someone to love, someone who would love me back. Since I am the luckiest person in the world, I have found that, and it is indeed important. It is the most important.
But what I feel like I didn't know was all the hurt that would come from friends changing. Friendship, in general, is never given as much attention in books and movies and stuff as romantic love, but it's just as much a part of any worthwhile life. And I thought that friendship drama would mainly be relegated to the teen years, to that weird transition in middle school where people who used to seem like Normal Kinda Girls were suddenly Super Cool Girls who acted weird, and you didn't want to act weird, or rather you DID want to act weird, and not normal, and so you split off. But it was fine, everyone got over it, it's cool.
But what no one tells you is that you may be, oh, I don't know, 30 years old, and driving around your town where you now live and where you are so happy, and you will still sometimes think about that friend that has known you forever, that suddenly decided within the past year that you are an asshole, and cut you off without ever saying a single thing to you about it. In fact, after a lifetime of being a pretty innocuous person who always tries to be kind to strangers and a good friend and stuff, as you move swiftly into adulthood you'll find more and more people who think you are an asshole. And you will tell yourself, whatever, you don't need people in your life who think you are an asshole, because clearly they never knew you anyway, so it's fine, and all that, but still, it will always seem kind of weird to you.
At the same time, the strangest, kookiest assortment of folks will end up forming the people you admire most. Like, random kids from your class in high school who turned out to be super awesome people, whose Facebook posts you secretly adore, who you wish you had been better friends with back in the day, who you feel stupidly proud of even if you're not actually like, friend friends. You will meet people who don't know anything about your past but still welcome you openly. You will meet people who are just so, so interesting and passionate and great. You will meet people who are uncomprehendingly funny. People you went to college with will end up being super successful, with their names flashing across your TV screen, and you don't necessarily feel proud of them like the people you went to high school with, because the connection wasn't the same because "people I knew in college" is probably the most superficial and flimsy type of connection you can ever have, but still, the fact that you know the human beings who are now writing and acting on TV shows reminds you that life is crazy and weird. And then the people who you knew in college that you actually DID know, like in a deep way, like you never really knew what friendship was before you met them way, they will continue to be awesome, and love you, and often feel like the closest people in your life, even when they live really really far away.
So the change can be bad, but it can also be good. They both seem remarkable to me.
The being okay with yourself part mostly has to do with the first group, the ones who change in weird ways, or the ones who decide they don't like you anymore. And being okay with yourself isn't really just saying, "C'est la vie, screw that." Because sometimes you HAVE done something wrong. Not always; sometimes people are just disappointing. But owning your shit is part of being okay with yourself. Being okay with yourself is saying, right, that thing I did wasn't great, and I can see that now, and I should have done that better, and I am always striving to do things better.
I am still not an asshole.
Because in the end, that is the important thing to know, and that is the thing that the second group, the group of people that surprise you and that will always believe in you, they're the ones that will help hold you up if you start to doubt it. So I guess this is my life lesson:
Never let anyone make you believe that you are an asshole.
Because seriously? You are probably pretty great.