Monday, March 15, 2010

Time To Go Inward

I don't want to sound like somebody obsessed with the clock but I came to the startling realization today, just shy of a month late, that I'm 20. Now some of you reading this are probably thinking, "psshhh 20 what are you complaining about?" I'm really not but it still got me thinking.

I think when anybody reaches a milestone in their life it gets them thinking about the past and the things that change. If you would've asked me who the people I'd associate with would be, and the place I'd be in my life now, ten years ago I probably wouldn't have been anywhere on the board with my answer.

Things change. People change. Times change.

I've learned that even though there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, a perfect best friend, a perfect friend, or a perfect family member you still find yourself loving them for the imperfections.

I've learned that the way you shake someone's hand can make a big difference.

I've learned that if you can't laugh at yourself never laugh at another.

I've learned that just because somebody says that they have your back doesn't mean they aren't stabbing it.

I've learned that you aren't immortal just because you're young. I've buried friends and I've cried my eyes out every time. People die. There is no changing that but you cannot stop living your life because there's ended. It's about the good times you had not the way it ends that we carry on.

I've learned that every person you meet in your life has an impact on you, as well, as you on them.

I've learned that slamming on your breaks on slush and ice is never a good solution. Its better to slow gradually. I think this can stand as a metaphor for a number of other things.

I've learned that just because somebody may have authority over you does not mean that you do not have the right to be respected. Respect is a two way street. When you don't get it demand it. If you don't get it maybe its time to reevaluate where you are and why?

I've learned that just a little bit can be one too many.

I've learned that one too many can one too late.

I've learned its never too late to do the right thing.

I've learned to never fear ridicule for what you believe in.

Life's lessons are in front of us. It is up to every person individually to be able to grasp their own meaning of how to live their lives. If we ignore these lessons we are doomed.

"Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
-Winston Churchill
This famous quote was actually paraphrased from the following:

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana
Men of two very different walks of life and ideologies coming to the very same conclusion. You can apply it to history, politics, sports, competition, business, yada yada yada. I personally believe it is hands down the single most important and valuable lesson. Why?

It defines life.

We are only who we become and we are accountable for every single action we commit.

"For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction..."
-Issac Newton, Third Law of Motion
AKA Accountability

The bones that we bury in our lives only remain covered in dirt for so long. You can only run so far from the things that you've done and regardless of whether there is an afterlife or not,whether you believe in God, Buddha, Allah, the Flying Spaghetti Monsters; it will catch up to you. Depending on whether you've owned up to your mistakes and learned from them will determine whether you've really grown or whether you've become a living lie.

Nobody wants to be a lie.

Somebody asked me the other day whether I believed in fate, that our lives are predetermined, and everything happens for a greater reason. I didn't know how to answer it then. Now I can say I buy half of it.

Life is...

Success vs Failure
Celebration vs Mourning
Completion vs Setbacks
Roadblocks vs Shortcuts
Health vs Illness

They're different scenarios but from everyone of them we learn. From every loss we gain wisdom. From every experience we retain information that influences our future decisions. If you don't learn you become ignorant and when ignorance spreads it produces paranoia and bigotry. Where there is paranoia and bigotry there is hate. Where there is hate there is evil.

Remember what Santayana said? "...
and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual..."

Look at the fanatic fringes and extremists of the world. Example: Westboro Baptist Church & Al Qaeda. Both are made up of terrorists. One kills people while the other hasn't, yet, at least that we know of. Both disguise and justify their hatred with religious literature. These people can quote you a verse from any part of the Qur'an or the Bible. Does it really mean anything in the grand scheme of their actions? Nope. Why?

They haven't learned anything. They have refused to open their minds to anything outside of their religious mantra. They have refused to learn from any experience in their life that tells them that what they're doing is wrong and evil. Two groups of people from two different cultures and worlds both completely ignorant to the real world that rest of us try to peacefully live on. So instead of taking these religious pieces as parables and metaphors to apply to their daily lives, one's strapping bombs to themselves while the other is terrorizing the families of fallen soldiers and homosexuals.

Close-mindedness begets ignorance. Ignorance begets paranoia. Paranoia begets bigotry. Bigotry begets hate. Hate begets violence.

Yeah this post to the blog wasn't funny. It probably didn't brighten your day or make you laugh so hard tears were streaming down the sides of your face but it probably, at least for a moment, made you think. Where am I in my life? What can I do to change? What have I really learned about who I am?

When you know who you are as a human being and stay true to that where you're going is no longer something to be feared.

That's why I say:

Think. Laugh. Live.

Until next time,
Remind Yourself

Peace & Love,

Joe Kupski

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