Almost 30 (and still cooking frozen meals)

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“A famous artist is approached by a student. “You don’t remember me,” the student says correctly, “but years ago you said something that changed my life. You said, ‘Photography is death.’ After that,” says the student, “I threw out my camera. I began again. I want to thank you for changing my life.”

“Leave me alone,” says the artist. “Photography is life.”

― Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories

I remember the 16 year old me imagining the 30 year old me as if it would be a whole different person; someone else with the ability to solve any problem; a tall figure running around town all day solving important problems in a nice suit and still getting home on time to cook a 5 course dinner.

But the truth is you never become someone else. All those years pass by and you end up a bigger person, never a different one.

There is no magic that transforms you.

One day you are answering non-sense questions about trains, ethics, apples, and the meaning of life on your 7th grade test and years later find yourself answering the same on a job interview.

So, you see, i’m not qualified to give life advice to anyone, really. In fact if i ever give you one you should probably do the opposite, but that said, i did manage to pick up some things along the way. And for what it’s worth here they are:

I’ve learned that if people don’t care about you at the beginning, they won’t later. No matter what you do, no matter you send them cheesy, embarrassing videos about how you would love them even if they had no hair or no teeth (really..), no matter you cross continents.

I’ve learned that is impossible to escape a mistake you need to make. It will keep punching you in the face until you take it and learn from it.

I’ve learned that sometimes you need to fall in the mud, and stay in the mud, and live in the mud. Until your clothes get ruined and your hair gets so soaked you forget what color it used to be. Until you know that puddle well enough to never fall in there again.

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I’ve learned that hate exists, and also that is useless. That is a grenade that will destroy you too if you let it go off.

I’ve learned that some of the most painful life lessons will come to you in the form of people.  And that no matter how big or important the things lived were, once over, you need to let go.

I’ve learned that when one door closes another one opens, sometimes an old one you were too young to open 5 years ago.

I’ve learned that i’m not going to be the philathropist i believed i’d became when i was a 7 year old, and that’s ok. I’m not going to discover a miracle cure or save any endangered species. Being good, for most of us, ends up being about simple things as saying please and thank you to the people around you, and giving a hand to your annoying cousin even when your schedule is full.

I’ve learned to be rough with my friends. To be honest even if it makes them upset, to yell if they don’t want to listen. And also to walk away and let them be when i have to, because sometimes the only way to teach someone something is to let them live it.

I’ve learned that age is just a number, but experiences are not. Some people will get to your life at the wrong time, and they will need to go away and love a lot of other things and places before they reach you. Sometimes it will be you who’s not there yet. Sometimes the difference will be so big that the two of you will never meet at the same place.

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I’ve learned to keep my eyes open when i’m scared. The monsters in horror movies look fake once you stare at them too long; the monsters in real life do too.

I’ve learned that no matter how far away you go, or how many new people you meet, you’ll always keep coming back to your childhood friends. You’ll end up forgiving anything those bastards do. You can’t escape them, they are part of you.

I’ve learned to give people time instead of gifts. And to appreciate the people who give me theirs. Unforgettable moments are too undervalued and they are the only thing that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life.

I’ve learned that i was born lucky and that i need to stop complaining so much.

I’ve learned to listen to my body, to love it,to take care of it, to push it to the limit, to use it. It’s not an ornament, it’s the only instrument we get to experience the world. If you’re not nice to him, he won’t be nice to you. If you don’t take care of him he will start giving you hangovers that last 3 days.

I’ve learned that people you trust will betray you and some strangers will surprise you and even change your life.

I’ve learned that you should always keep at least one person in your close circle that’d slap you when you’re being too dramatic.

I’ve learned that what you’re going to wear and how happy you’ll be that day, are the same thing: Choices that only you can control.

I’ve learned that people will lie to you, hurt you, betray you. And you have to try not to take it too personal, they are not against you, they are just looking out for themselves.So be careful who you trust, not everyone wants to help you. Trust your own instincts instead of someone elses, let it be your success or your mistake, not theirs.

And most of all i’ve learned that life is too unpredictable to keep an agenda and too short to mourn too long for plans that didn’t work out.

There are no formulas, no right way of mixing ingredients, no rules to follow. The only thing you can really do is wake up every day and keep moving; even when you see no roads, even when you feel like you have no chances, even when everything’s dark. Because waking up alive IS your chance. And we already learned to make fire about a million years ago, so you see, we have no excuses, no matter how dark everything gets the power to make your own torch and light your way lives in you.

(If you do make that torch you can also use it to keep away your enemies by wagging it on their faces and screaming)

And that’s it.

That’s all i know.

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9 thoughts on “Almost 30 (and still cooking frozen meals)

  1. Lula, as much as I love your poetry, I enjoy reading your reflections and introspections on life. How have you been? I’m sorry I haven’t visited your blog in a bit. This age my son is at, 20 months, is just a joy. 🙂 I hope your daughter is also providing much joy right now too.

    There is so much good stuff here and I was thinking as I was reading that many of these lessons I’ve learned too, but seeing them in words helped crystalize them in a way that made me smile. As always you find a way to express yourself with beauty and elegance, even when your words have sharp edges and that is no easy task.

    The tag line for my blog says “Let’s meet at the intersection”. This line was taken from a aural poet Sarah Kay (https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter?language=en) and I really do believe that life is a series of intersections. But just because two people intersect it doesn’t mean that they were meant. If everybody is traveling, meetings at intersections are bound to happen. Sometimes those people weren’t ready for you, or you weren’t ready for them. Sometimes they are just terrible, and sometimes if you’re lucky you meet someone absolutely amazing. And even then there is no guarantee that they feel that way about you. But all we can do really is continue the journey. If you stop, you still lose, because you lose all the things you might have gained by continuing on the journey. But if you’re really paying attention and you think deeply about those experiences (which you obviously do) you’ll become a wiser traveler and the journey always gets better because you can better appreciate the joy you get at those intersections with much less pain than you used to. Things might get less surprising as you get older, but that doesn’t mean they are any less fulfilling.

    I shall end these thoughts by saying I am glad we’ve intersected. The internet has expanded the landscape of one’s journey so that we can intersect with more people in life, and maybe it’s given us a bit of a birds eye view so we can choose who we intersect with, with at least a bit of a filter. Of course it often insures there will be a greater distance between those two people which isn’t always a good thing. Safe isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. And while it’s unlikely that we’ll meet in person, and we never become great friends I’ll be thankful we have met. It makes me happier knowing that there is another beautiful heart in the world that’s out there. Thinking and feeling, trying to make sense of it all, and trying to get better everyday. Even though you say nobody should take your advice, it’s clear to me that you are worth at least listening to. I think you’re the type of person that when you meet them, even if you take their advice, you have the ability to help people think about things on a deeper level because I can tell you feel emotions very deeply yourself and you aren’t afraid to be honest with yourself. That’s the kind of courage we all need.

    1. Hi! I’m happy to hear from you 🙂 As always, thank you very much for your words and for paying attention to what i have to say.
      Glad to hear you are doing good and busy with life, i’m doing good too thanks for asking, as you can see a lot of things are still blurry lol, but overall me and my kid are doing good. 🙂

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