Experience and Knowledge
You can’t really know something unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. To truly know and believe and have conviction, the experience itself is what creates the foundation. As children, we are carefree and are often times protected from the realities of the world. We are filled with hopes and dreams that revolve around fantasy and magical creatures. As teenagers, hormones and attitudes are in full force causing a tumultuous lifestyle for any family. Although our parents have been there, teenagers (and adults, too) refuse to learn life the easy way and sometimes, only sometimes, are the better for it.
Life Lesson #1: Credit cards are 95% the devil with 0% APR.
Financial stability is one of the most important goals to have in this life. Being able to pay your bills without fear of your bank account draining each pay period is what most of us try to strive for. However, when you don’t have enough at the end of the month, you resort to sordid ventures to raise more capital. Things like selling your favorite shoes or purses, babysitting other people’s kids, or working more than one job are great alternatives to earning some extra cash.
Then there’s the wolf in unicorn’s clothing: credit cards. Little rectangular pieces of plastic that promise you a certain amount of money if you promise to pay it back by adding more money than you wanted to “borrow”. If you don’t pay it back within a certain time frame, then you get to pay it back with even more money added to the balance. It’s totally a win-win situation.
WHAT I LEARNED: After years of debt and horrible screaming matches with debt collectors I learned that credit cards are not very helpful. They enable you and create dependency issues. It’s extra money that’s always there and all you have to do is pay it off so you can re-use it again. This is a false ideology when it comes to financial stability. Credit cards, loans, and the like should be used for functional and value driven purposes, if to be used at all. Paying things in cash is a great idea, but doing that all your life doesn’t provide the credit you need to purchase things such as vehicles or homes.
Using credit cards or other forms of credit should be a well thought decision and should have a valued goal in the end. You should also be in the financial position to pay the advancement back and in full within the specified time frame. If you are not, you’re better off selling kisses at a holiday booth for $5 a pop….hmmmm….I wonder…
Life Lesson #2: It really is different when it’s your own kid.
There’s nothing more joyful than hearing your children laugh and seeing them smile. Knowing they are safe, happy, and healthy is all I could ever want for my children.
I didn’t think I would be an attentive (albeit semi-paranoid) mother or even have kids at all. Hanging around smaller children with their yelping, screeching, and high energy levels got me out of sorts when I was a teenager. I knew that kids were precious, but having patience with them (when you don’t know them) was the hard part.
WHAT I LEARNED: I didn’t realize how much patience and unconditional love I had until I had my own kids. These little ones were mine and I carried them for 9 yucky months. As a family, we know each other’s traits, triggers, and motivations. We are okay with different energy levels because we live with each other every day. Other people’s children, well, it’s easy to jaw-drop or disagree with certain behaviors. In any case, your kids will always be precious and be the most special people in your life, even if they fart on command or puke all over you in the middle of the night.
3 Other Life Lessons!
Life Lesson #3: Filling out forms should be on your resume.
I’ve never filled out more forms in my life than when my husband and I bought a house. The agents involved would just shove the teeny tiny printed books and bibles at us as if we knew what we were signing with 100% accuracy. I highly doubt that most of them know what is actually written on those forms. There wasn’t a class about form filling out-ing in school and I advocate that there should be.
From applications, to hospital questionnaires, to government assistance, it’s hard to fill out the blank spaces with accuracy and in the manner that agencies want. Forms are also a bad way to get yourself in trouble if you don’t fill them out right.
For example, I applied for a job several years ago and I had already worked a couple jobs before that. So, I was pretty good at filling out job applications. However, because I rushed through the application for whatever reason, I didn’t mark a very important box the right way. I went back a week later to check on my application and the lady I spoke to said that they would have hired me, but that I wasn’t a legalized citizen of the United States. I looked at her with such confusion, she pulled out the application and showed me what I had done. I had marked the box that said “NO” when asked if I was legally able to work in the United States.
WHAT I LEARNED: Companies have to abide by what you mark on the application so marking certain boxes the right way is very important. Most forms require the same type of information so after you fill out a few, it will become almost like second nature, but you should still go over it before you actually hand it in. You still need to handwrite your answers to some questions on some forms, so practice your handwriting and write legibly or you may end up being treated for ebola instead of ecoli.
Life Lesson #4: Sex can be dangerous.
He looks at you with that brooding look, with sweat glistening down his muscles. You stare back with a sensual stare and slowly move forward, hoping he grabs you like the barbarian you hope he is. Oh they joys of sex. But danger lurks if you’re not careful! Sex is dangerous for the following reasons:
It can increase your risk of contracting STDs.
After intercourse, your body has the ability to support a parasitic life form for 9 months, literally sucking the life right out of you, but in you.
Said life form will exit your body in the most obscene way, and, if you’re lucky, in the most painful way.
Many women have died from giving birth.
Adventurous sex can lead to injuries such as bruising, concussions, and back injuries (not that I would know).
WHAT I LEARNED:I had a few scares when I was younger and it agitated me to the point where I was physically getting sick. I’m sure I stressed the hell out of my mother, but it wasn’t until after said scares scared me straight. Sex can be dangerous, life changing, and expensive. And I would do it over and over because without such a dangerous act, I would not have had my children and the ultimate joy they bring me and my husband. 😉
Life Lesson #5: Aging isn’t graceful for anyone.
When you’re dating, trying to look your best, hiding all the disgusting things about yourself, it can be exhausting. After you’re married, worked for a while, had kids, and aged past your twenties, the level of hygiene, among other things, goes down.
Although I’ve been okay with the way I look, I still have a peeve about my complexion. Vanity is a terrible sin, and can increase the negative view you have of yourself. When I was in my twenties, I wanted to still have my youthful glow, but realized that after my first child, the glow sort of leaves you. It didn’t stop me from wearing a lot of foundation. What made matters worse, it was the wrong shade.
One day I went to work and someone asked me if I was sick. Apparently, my foundation had darkened around my eyes and lightened around the rest of my face. The dreaded line across the chin line didn’t make matters any better. I had to wash it all off to look “normal”, but was self-conscious the rest of the day.
WHAT I LEARNED: I’m in my early thirties and when I look in the mirror, I see small wrinkles, larger bags under my eyes, and piggy hairs on my chinny chin chin. Then I realized how okay all this is. I, nor any cream or injection, can stop the aging process, the less graceful moments in life, or the growth and/or shrinkage of certain body parts. It’s going to happen. Gravity will take over, pollutants will be in the air, and stress will always be lurking around my face. Accepting your age and being okay with the way you look, now that’s graceful.
Listen to Your Instincts AND Wise Old People
Sure, I could have learned all about adulthood the easy way and learned what my mother and other people were trying to teach about these all too important life lessons, but I was stubborn and wanted to do it my way.
The results were expensive and overly stressful. Regret ensues when certain situations come up, but I do believe that I’m all the better for my chaotic experiences. I know have the tools and knowledge to teach my children how easy life can be if they just do it my way. Har, har, har.
It’s okay to do things your own way, but it’s also okay to apply tried and true methods to certain aspects of life, too. Learning and growing doesn’t stop, but it gets easier as you get older because your mentality is just a little bit more logical and reasonable. We all learn differently, but we all learn some things the hard way. Maybe it’s time to start doing it the easy way and save ourselves the trouble.