I’ve heard this thought, expressed one hundred different ways, a thousand different times since I’ve left college. It rings true if you’re an honest student of your chosen profession, assuming, that is, your chosen profession requires any depth of knowledge for expertise.
Yet there are those who never cease to set themselves up as ultimate experts. I know one man who relies on Wikipedia for all knowledge, and we laugh at his “degree” from the “university of Wikipedia.”
It’s not my intention to disparage the information you can find there, because I reference it myself frequently, but it’s not always balanced and is rarely complete. It doesn’t even claim to be. It is, after all, an encyclopedia, and that’s a center of knowledge best known for abstract pieces of truth that ultimately teach you nothing.
A quality education, therefore, is not what you learn, but how you learn it. The value comes from leaving not with a packet of notes, but a mind that discerns and questions. The source of your knowledge is not your textbooks or reference material provided by a single professor, but by the world of information available to you.
If I had only one course to take in college, it would be Logic, for that was the course that taught me to think and sort through the drudge and mire that surrounds so much of the information out there today.
A pile of information makes you an interesting, albeit limited, conversationalist. The ability to discern makes you a greater mind than most.
Photo Credit: © Denis Razumnly — Fotolia.com
I have friends, true friends, who have stood by me when I fully believed they would walk away, and frankly, they had every right to, given the perceived circumstances. But I was more important than my presumed actions, and they stood by who I’d proved to be, not who others claimed I was.
You find out who your friends are when you have nothing left to hold on to but the people in your life.
It isn’t as though there weren’t clues beforehand about the coming betrayal, but sometimes we’re blind to them for one reason or the other, and other times we’re naïve in our beliefs. I always trusted authority, and now I shake my head at that foolish blind faith. I haven’t completely lost my trust of those in charge, but I’m much more cautious, far less willing to believe they’re always worth my confidence.
Shortly before the man I believed was my friend turned on me, I had a vivid dream of a wolf wearing a mask, dancing on a dark road. There were other elements, dark, foreboding images I’ve since forgotten. Far, far down that road were some white flowers.
While I didn’t, and for the most part still don’t, believe in dream interpretation, this one was so vivid I decided to look up the imagery. It was clear: someone close to me was going to betray me. But the white flowers meant there was hope further along the way.
I haven’t lost my confidence in everyone. In fact, in some ways I’m still the same person, inclined to believe in and trust others. But I’m wary, and yes, a little angry.
I’m clinging to that hope. Things are better, but they are not what they should be, and the future frightens me. This is where my faith kicks in. I’ve had faith most of my life, but I’ve never had to draw on it like I do now, to say: I trust in God, a God who provides for me, a God who conquers with faith, hope and love. And I trust in those friends who’ve stood by me when I needed them most.
Image Credit (cat and mouse) © wegener07 – Fotolia; (flowers) courtesy of Pixabay
Emergency vehicle sirens terrified my brother, two years my junior, throughout his childhood.
He’d run crying and hide in a closet, refusing the comfort offered by my confused mother. For years both suffered his pain in their own way.
All the while the guilty culprits, those who prompted and perhaps cultivated this fear, went on with their lives and for a good long time kind of forgot what they’d done.
You guessed it – I was one of the guilty. My sister, the middle child, was the other. We were mean at the age of four and five, although our round faces and wide eyes belied that fact. And hey, Santa ALWAYS showed up. So just how bad were we?
Well, you be the judge: It’s a sunny day. The three of us are playing in our yard with a few friends. A siren is heard in the distance, perhaps a fire truck, perhaps a squad car.
We amble over to our brother, age three. “Thommmmm,” we whisper. “They’re coming to get you. Those sirens? They’re going to take you away. We’ll never see you again.” Who knows how many times this happened, why we started or why we finally stopped.
As I write this, I’m mortified. That was really, really mean. After a short time, my brother forgot our threats, but clung to the fear, and never could tell our mom why he was afraid. Eventually (in our early twenties) we confessed to him what we’d done. I think he forgave us. By that time, there was likely a heap of other things to make him angrier.
My mom, however, not knowing the truth, held on to the pain of not being able to help her son with his greatest fear. We had no idea how difficult that had been for her, and it was another twenty years after our initial confession before she found out the truth. I’m not sure what she thought about it, and I have no desire to bring it up, not being particularly proud of it.
Surprisingly, I grew up to be nice to a fault. So parents, never fear, you’re not necessarily raising sociopaths. I don’t know how you do it, the constant pressure to bring your kids up right, and the pain when you think you’ve failed in one way or the other. There are always those facts we don’t have, and maybe never will have, so don’t be too hard on yourself. After all, your kids will do that for you.
And who knows just how much of it in reality is their fault anyway.
In case you’re wondering about my relationship with my brother today, it all worked out. Here’s a post I wrote about it a few months ago: sibling revelry
Random lessons…some of it wisdom shared from others…
Obviously, not a comprehensive list of what life (and my dad) has taught me, but here are ten thoughts:
- Whether times are good or times are bad, they always change.
- Listen when someone you respect tells you another person is not to be trusted.
- Every generation thinks they invented sex and swearing.
- You cannot save the world, so choose your obligations wisely.
- Life is better with a loving pet, and the most loving pets are rescued animals.
- Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day.
- It’s wrong to always need to be right. You wear people out, lose friends and anger those forced to be around you.
- You are known by the company you keep.
- Quality, classic clothing is worth the extra money. It lasts longer, looks better and is more honorable for worldwide humanitarian reasons.
- No one wants to listen to you do all the talking, no matter how fascinating you think you are. They would rather talk about themselves.
Image Credit: (hourglass) © kuzmafoto – DollarPhotoClub.com; (sky background) © Pakhnyushchyy – DollarPhotoClub.com
Sometimes, when I start to write, I’m surprised, even shocked, by what comes out.
I’ve learned something about myself I didn’t imagine was true. I work through those thoughts, and maybe I realize I’ve been holding on to some foolish beliefs without even realizing it. Other times I laugh at my words. I may only believe what I’ve written for as long as it’s taken me to write it. It rings true until I finish typing.
If I’m lucky, I find I’m wiser than I knew. Over time I’ve discovered the truth is easier to write than what I want to be true, even if the truth is painful.
I write to discover what the pen reveals. I write because it’s a part of me, a talent I was born with that needs to be honed and refined. I feel better after writing, even if what I’ve written isn’t all I think it should be.
I write because it fulfills me.
Image Credit: (typewriter) Denis Topal — Fotolia; (background) flas100 — Fotolia
I’m glad fall is near for one simple reason: I look so much better in fall & winter clothes.
I’m not particularly thrilled my ego is that sensitive, but at the same time, I dread the day I no longer care about my appearance at all.
It would be nice to start caring a little less as a I get older, and I think I probably already do, or I’d be in a panic as I watched the signs of aging creep in on me. I don’t recall ever believing I’d get this old. Not that I thought I’d die young, I just didn’t think I’d ever age. Yes, logically I knew I would, but my mind generally wouldn’t go there.
It still doesn’t, until I look in the mirror and can no longer deny it. I’m in my 50s. How the hell did that happen so soon? It’s not going to get better, so I need to figure out how to deal with the disappointment. Just why does it bother me?
Part of it, I suppose, is being single. Like it or not, how you look affects your ability to captivate the opposite sex, and I’m not feeling the same power I used to. Not that I ever felt powerful, but still, on a good day I felt competitive.
So to keep from getting lonely, I need to look good? I don’t think that’s a truth I want to start believing.
But here’s the other thing: aging gracefully is a requirement for people older and wiser than I (believe I) am. The driver’s license isn’t letting me get away with thinking I’m any younger, but wiser is harder to assess, and I just don’t know if I measure up.
I don’t want to be an old fool. I know a few of those, and becoming one probably scares me more than anything else.
There is one piece of wisdom I’ve acquired. All the plastic surgery in the world isn’t going to keep you from looking older. It has its benefits for some, but it’s not likely it will ever be something I’ll consider. I’m looking for other alternatives, including attitude, to take its place.
Attitude, and hair color.
Image Credit: (clock) © Jakub Krechowicz; (water) © JulietPhotography; (sky) © Kirsty Pargeter; (wood) © Filip Miletic
I’ll never be an expert, by any definition, of any sport, but I do have some expertise in pretending to care.
First, a little insight into my own level of knowledge of the game of football, and then a few tips for
getting through enjoying the game, or at least letting your friends think you do:
Some years ago,
I was late for my first date with a man who ended up being my boyfriend for an eternity. “I’m so sorry,” I said as I sidled up next to him at the bar (classy date, huh?). “I just had to watch the end of the football game. I know it’s only pre-season, but so-and-so is back from injuries and I wanted to see how he’d do.”
Condescending look. “That’s okay,” he said, “How did he do?”
I went into a two-minute recap of a game it turned out he’d watched in its entirety at that same bar. As I spoke, he had a look of increasing surprise, and when I finished he said, with a tone of incredulity, “You really do know football!”
So I know a little. However, I could have grasped only one fact about football — where the fifty-yard line is — and he would have been equally amazed. My point being, you’re probably not facing great expectations, and I can help you meet them.
Okay, that’s tip #1, illustrated. The fifty-yard line is smack-dab in the middle of the field going the long way. Once you’ve got that one down, here’s how to further pretend you love the game:
#2 Wear team colors
in some sort of tacky fashion. Mismatched socks will do. This will take a little pre-game research, but it’s important if for no other reason than you shouldn’t be wearing the other team’s colors.
#3 Bring a beastly yet delicious snack treat
and call it your “traditional football (name of food).” Don’t over-think this one. Remember, football fans love melted Velveeta cheese mixed with canned chili. The bar is not set high.
#4 Listen to the others gripe about the game,
and take your cues for shaking your head and saying, “you are SO right about THAT!” This tip is a little tricky since someone may ask a for a follow-up, so only do it if you dare.
#5 Every time you hear someone on TV say,
“it’s first and ten…” yell, “FIRST AND TEN! DO IT AGAIN!”
(If someone points out the other team has the ball, smile sheepishly and say, “just another chance for our guys to sack the quarterback.” What that answer lacks in logic it makes up for with perceived quick thinking and advanced beginner knowledge.)
#6 Forget it.
You’re not fooling anyone. Take out your cell phone and text all your real friends about how bored you are.
Image Credit: (football field, w/o writing) © gomolach — Fotolia