There are too many life lessons out there in this crazy and very full world we live in. People are really beginning to see and understand the insides and outs of how this world works, which has influenced an influx of life lessons to hit our screens, our billboards, our books, our faces every day. Everyone is preaching, everyone is theorizing, everyone is teaching. But the funny thing is not many people are listening. We hear these preached words and these abstract ideas and these lessons with attached meaning every day, but which ones are actually speaking to your soul? Which out of the hundreds maybe even thousands of metaphors and lessons or words of wisdom actually mean something to you?
I know for myself, there are 5 life lessons that I have picked up along the way and have been snuggled deep into my heart and mind. Each life lesson I have learned from people who strived to inspire me, and they may not know it, but they really did have a huge affect on my life. Especially now as a junior in college where I am finally becoming the person I have dreamt of being, these life lessons I hold even closer to my soul. And I finally have the courage to spread these life lessons. So call me a hypocrite for criticizing the overload of life lessons in this world, but these are actually some real good ones for you to actually listen up for.
1. Don't be afraid to reach for the stars.
I don’t know if it was the cute little saying on my leotard, or maybe it was the 10 years of the same finale song at the end of the recital that has influenced this saying to be ingrained in my head. Either way I love this saying.
My dance studio growing up had this saying as it’s slogan for its many years, and each year it motivated me to literally reach for the stars. I was always the shortest girl in the dance class, so reaching for the stars was my daily task as I tried to elongate myself to match the other dancers. But this lesson has affected my life outside of the dance floor and recital stage.
When I think of reaching for the stars, I think of reaching for the impossible. I think of going beyond what is believed of you. The stars are a long way away, maybe even out of your reach, but that shouldn’t hinder your motivation to go for it anyway. Reach for the stars. Take that leap of faith. Go for the impossible.
2. Play like a champion every day in every way.
There’s nothing like a good game of basketball where you’re stealing the ball and scoring on the fools against you, beating them and the crowd cheering for you. There’s also nothing like the feeling of being that team watching the other team standing in their glory in the middle of the court as you pack your bag and leave the gym with your head down. I have experienced both, literally while on my middle school basketball team and figuratively in life.
Winning and loosing are two very different and distinct experiences. But what is unique about them both is that you never know which one you are going to experience until it happens. You don’t go into a game saying “Alright let’s hustle for that loss today,” or “Hey I know for a fact that the other team’s star player is going to get hurt and we are going to pull out the win in the end.”
No one has that knowledge, even in life; you never really know if you are going to hit a win or loss, an accomplishment or failure, a promotion or pay cut, a lottery or a bank account hack, you never know. Every situation has the same potential for a win or a loss. But if you play like a champion, not only on the court but in the office, in your relationships, in life, that’s all you can do. Playing like a champion in life is simply going after whatever you wish for with all your heart, putting in all the work you can, trying your best, striving for success no matter and no matter what the perceived percentage of chance for a failure may be.
Just playing hard, leaving it all out on the table, putting in the work, having nothing close to a regret in the end no matter the results.
3. If you fall, you can get back up.
Lying on your back, head ringing, dirt all over you, confusion and pain consuming your self. Yeah what you’re feeling now as you picture yourself in that scenario is what I felt but 10x worse when I was kicked off my horse into the ground in the large training corral at my riding stables. I was so happy to finally start jumping my pony, but my pony had a different idea of what jumping I was training for.
As I was there in the ground, sunned by what happened, my mind was preparing myself to burst into a hysterical cry. My trainer picked me up from the ground and looked me in the eyes and said, “Are you going to stop now or are you going to keep going?” I felt like saying “I’m going to stop since I just got bucked off a horse and probably almost died!” But instead I quickly answered, “I want to keep going please,” and I did! I got back on the horse and ended up jumping one of the highest jumps for the day.
And that is how life works out! The lows are going to throw you down, the failures and struggles are going to shove you to the ground, the hurtful painful experiences are going to drag you further away from the light. But if you are able to get to higher ground, if you are able to walk towards the light again, if you are able to get back up, life is going to treat you right with a reward.
The time frame is unknown, the way to do it is on your own, but no matter what, the recovery leads to the healing, and the healing leads to the betterment of yourself.
4. Anything is possible with family beside you.
Family is a unique word to try to define. I spent a lot of time trying to create a special and smart sounding definition for family, but it is out of my capability. I think it is so hard because family is such a unique concept, too special of an abstract, an open ended idea. Family can be anything, from the family of mice eating your spilled cheerios under the fridge to the foster family trying to make ends meet every week.
A family has no distinct definition because there is no distinct family. The only part of the definition I could come up with is the fact that a family is a group of any size that is connected in a way no one else can connect.
For me I understood this in high school when I had more families than anyone else. I had my blood family, my friends as a family, my high school family, and my rowing team family. That team exemplified what family means to me. A unique group of individuals who came from all walks of life but were all connected through our passion for such a sport.
More intensely, it was the connection I felt with my coaches that exemplified this even more. I gained a crazy Cuban grandfather, a Thor looking brother, a cake making and joke cracking sister, and an older sister who I still look up to today. My teammates became my family, and with that family I learned more about life than I had in my previous life before them.
With that family, I felt invincible, in the times of struggle I knew I had 40 people to hold me up and ease my aching heart and soul, and in the times of happiness I knew I had 40 people to congratulate me with humility. With family, no matter what form your family takes molding to, with them, those people, whether it be a dog or a family of 40 crazy teammates, with them, you can do anything.
5. Life is way too short to not live it.
Last but not least, as you’re planning on telling your family how much you love them, as you’re plotting your exciting comeback from a hard month, and as you’re setting up your agenda for a successful dream chasing path, stop. Stop the planning, stop the deciphering, stop the debating, stop the plotting, and stop the stalling and waiting. Life is too short to plan, to decipher, debate, plot, stall or wait. Life is happening, and you never know where it is going to take you or what is going to happen next.
You don’t know that the star you are reaching for is actually a meteor that’s coming to crash on your home. You don’t know the one you fell in love with would actually be your worst failure in life. You don’t know the family you once belonged to is now actually just people you once knew. And you don’t know that the life you think you have set for yourself could actually end right now as you are reading this sentence. Life is happening no matter how much you try to slow it down or control it, and life is ending whether you like it or not.
So make the most of what you do have control of, which is the moment you are living in right this second.
For me, I have learned this being a college student and by taking the chances I get to make my life more full and exciting and making it worth it! Go do what you love to do, cut loose whatever is causing you hardship, travel through your bucket list, and live. Life is too short, so make the most of it. I am just learning this lesson now, this year. Don’t wait until what you think is the next milestone to change or chase your life. Do it now. Your life is waiting, but not for long.
So open your ears and listen.
Take it from me, someone has experienced it all. I've reached for the stars, I've fallen flat on my face, I've played hard, I've failed even harder, I've risen from the ashes, and I've been burned by life, I've loved my family, I've hated myself, I've tried to live my life, but I just started really living this year.
No matter what you have experienced, there is still time, there is still another chance, another star to go reach, another game to play, another person to meet, another life waiting to be lived. These lessons may seem average especially coming from an average girl like me, but these lessons have created an above average life for myself, and they can do the same for you.
Good luck, my friend :)