Thursday, September 22, 2011

If I Die Young

I find it hard to believe that its been over a month since my last post, but in retrospect, looking at all the events that have taken place since then, its harder to believe it hasn't been longer. I find myself in disbelief that I'm well into the fall semester of my Junior year at Virginia Tech. It really doesn't seem like I should be that old. I am voluntarily shadowing a middle school choir at a local school one or two mornings a week and was introduced a couple weeks ago as Ms. Schneider. WHAT? I think I aged 20 years in those 2 seconds. And so begins the days of being addressed with formality. I suppose I'll look back on that moment someday and say, "Those were the good ole days" but until then, I feel SO old.

I have jotted down so many things that I wish to write about, but with 21 credit hours, 11 classes and barely enough time to eat and sleep in between, the time to sit and reflect on said thoughts has simply evaded me.. I'll perhaps get to those as time allows. But for now, I think I'll pick up where I left off in an effort to get back into this more actively. If I Die Young by The Band Perry was one of my 'Songs of Summer' and at some point I started wondering if I were to die tomorrow what I would be leaving behind... Not because I anticipate doing so by any stretch of the imagination, but because it got me to thinking about how I have invested, am investing and will continue to invest the time I've been given... I don't know if you're a religious person, and to be honest, I'm not sure if I am either, but when it comes down to it, if I find myself face to face with God, I want to be able to say, "I used everything you gave me." I have since realized that in order to ensure I'm doing what I should with what I have when I can, I must first evaluate the things I value, the life lessons I hold in high esteem, and the people I surround myself with. I started this list this summer and have since added to, taken away, and modified slightly the things on it. So without further ado, and in no specific order of importance, I present to you, the 21 most important things I've learned in my 21 years of living.

1) It is better to be silent then to be silenced. It is no mistake that silent contains the same letters as listen.
2)It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at shouldn't take death to make you realize how important someone is to you.. if it does, you need to seriously re-evaluate your relationships.Where you invest your love, you invest your life. I can't speak for the stock market, but I'm pretty secure in my investments.
3) There is no prescribed path... but you should have a plan. Followed by a series of 'what-if' back ups. Its important to keep in mind that the moment you try to force things, they'll never happen. So while keeping in mind the bigger picture, take baby steps. You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.
4) You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything. If you're not convicted enough in yourself and what you believe in, who will be? You cannot live eternally behind a brick wall of eggshells. At some point you must take responsibility for your own happiness... even if that means being selfish. Sometimes you simply must save yourself. 
5) No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.
6) We are given moments. They turn into hours, that turn into days, that turn into weeks, that turn into years, that eventually make up your life time... Invest in them wisely, spend them well, give them freely, and treasure them forever. Waste not want not.
7) People are going to disappoint you... the sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be. Don't place your faith in anyone who wouldn't place their faith in you. Don't cry over anyone who wouldn't cry over you... Sometimes the ones who are supposed to be closest to you will fail you the most... Unfortunately, you often times learn that the hard way.
8) When you are most secure in your circumstances, prepare for the other shoe to drop. Everything happens for a reason. When painful things happen it is important that you realize its because good things have fallen apart... But its more important to realize that better things will fall together. The best thing you can do is try your best to grow instead of falling to pieces. You must not forget the good was there to begin with..
9) The most important requirement for success is conviction in your dream even if the world thinks its worthless pursuing it. The second is coupling that conviction with the relentless action to make it come true. Be the best you can at what you're doing... in every aspect of your life. Push your limits, no one else is going to do it for you. Do it or don't, just don't do it halfway.
10) The hardest part of teaching is realizing you are in fact the one being taught... the moment you feel you are done learning, begin looking for another job. Cause you missed the point.
11) Take the good with the bad and make something better. Life is not fair... let it go.
12) You can never say I love you too much.. unless you don't actually mean it.
13) You have two choices in this life: to enable or disable. You decide.
14) Try to focus on how lucky you are instead of how lucky you are not... because no matter how bad things seem, it could ALWAYS be worse.
15) Blood is not thicker than water. While I love my family, I have expanded it greatly and I can honestly say I'm not at all related to some of my closest family members.
16) Do not go to bed angry... Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and hoping your enemies die. Forgive the source of your anger for yourself and evaluate in the morning. Forgiveness is not about forgetting, its about releasing the hold you have on somebody's throat.
17) Do one thing every day that scares you.
18) Enabling the dreams of others is often times more rewarding than achieving your own.
19) You never outgrow Crayola crayons. If you think you have re-prioritize your life.
20) 'Goodbyes' are the one thing in life that doesn't get any easier with age, practice, repetition or preparation...
21) Something earned is twice the value of something given... but when given something, never forget to give back. Foolish is the man who does nothing because he can do little. In everything you do, pay it forward.

In addition to this, I'm in the process of creating a bucket list... Its going to be comprised of things I want to achieve, things I want to do, things I want to see, but most importantly, things I would love to someday be able to do for others. I have been abundantly blessed with good family, great friends, and a lot of people who have really enabled me to appreciate what life is truly about... I would be absolutely lost without them... I am eternally grateful to all of those people and only hope that I can give back to humanity a fraction of what they've given me. 

"If I will love than I will find that I have touched another life, and that's something worth leaving behind."  -Lee Ann Womack