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"Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future."- Fulton Oursler
It's 64 days five hours nine minutes 48 seconds until my 32nd birthday. I start my yearly reflection two to three months in advance. Asking myself "What has 31 taught me?" 31 has taught me to be kinder to people no matter how bitter someone is. I've learned to not expect so much from people. How you express gratitude, admiration, and love for someone won't always be reciprocal.
I'm not the most affectionate human being so give hugs. There are a million and one ways to show and express love. I love buying gifts for people. Anyone who takes the time to walk through a store with you in mind is special. The best feeling in the world is to see someone you love react to something you gave them.
Invest in things that can produce wealth and security. Work with what you have to set yourself up for the future. Spread the little money accumulated into tiny investments. Learn to never put your eggs in one basket with investments.
Change is a constant thing that never seems to take a break, no matter how hard you may work to fight against it. Change always seems to come faster and harder. Sometimes it's best to flow with the current or get out of the pool.
About a month or two ago. I had the most enlightening out-of-body experience. In psychology, they call it the "mirror effect." The mirror effect is "a reflection of one's self through the gaze of others. They use it in education as a meta-cognition tool and as a vector of knowledge." (Margot Phaneuf The Mirror Effect: Mediator of Knowledge and Self-Image). I started a new job. *Shelby (for security I've changed her name) was the person I reported to for help and training. I was excited to work under her because she was knowledgeable and she challenged me. One day an incident occurred that brought her out of character. Our director advised her to take a week off.
It was in that moment I realized that Shelby reflects what I could become if changes aren't made. Shelby is a woman of a particular age and has never spoken of a husband, children, or even grandchildren. The only thing she has is work. One day she was obnoxious and I labeled her the old cranky bitch. I could have matched her rudeness and then some. I took a different approach. I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I am not a certified psychiatrist, but I am someone who suffers from depression and she shows the signs. Making a mental note of that I decided to just show her kindness. Smile, small talk, laugh at her jokes even if they aren't funny, ask her questions even though I knew the answer. I try and make her feel valuable, special and needed.
I came to the conclusion that I do not want to be like Shelby. I don't want to feel regretful, bitter, angry, resentful, and lonely. It was in that moment I realized that I was on the path to becoming just like her. My attitude changed instantly. It was like I was meeting my future self. It scared me. I've learned that if your only hobby is making a living then you're not living at all. All I can do is try my best at work and leave all work problems at work. I've started to step out more and constantly plan and have activities. This experience is a marathon and not a sprint. Things will not change all at once but as long as you keep moving and keep dreaming you can create a life you'll never regret.