30 – Life Lessons From People Smarter Than Me

Current Mood: Grateful

Current Song: Coming Back by Gotye

I turn 30 today. There I said it. Actually, I’m happy about it. I’ve always felt that this would be my favourite decade. We keep learning, but we’ve learned the hard things by now (I think). It’s apparent that we all learn from people who went before us. Let’s face it: There are people a whole lot smarter than me. Here are the lessons I’ve been inspired by.

1. “Live in rooms full of light.” ~ Cornelius Celcus 
This is kind of cool architecturally (I love big windows), but also mentally. Coming from a place of light is much more pleasant.

2. “I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” ~ Jewish proverb
Life isn’t really easy, so sometimes we really can’t ask for our burdens to be lightened. They are what they are, and all we can do is hope for the strength to endure so long as we need.

3. “When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.” ~ Anais Nin
A much more poetic way of saying “be yourself”, don’t you think? Nothing good comes from pretending for too long.

4. “If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” ~ Anonymous
Change: That necessary, sometimes painful phenomenon.  But really, beautiful things come of out change. Sometimes immediately, sometimes at a much later date.

5. “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” ~ Paul Boese
This one has always been a struggle for me. But forgiveness is, in the end a way of freeing yourself for whatever is endeavoring to brighten your life. It creates the space we need to grow up and out of our circumstances.

6. “The best rule of friendship is to keep your heart a little softer than your head. ” ~ Unknown
As much as we’d like to be logical with all our friends, sometimes you just can’t be. And that’s alright.

7. “Praise the bridge that carried you over.” ~ George Coleman
The last 5 years have been an extreme exercise in gratitude. Sometimes we take the simple things for granted. Remembering to be thankful is probably one of the greatest character traits anyone can have.

8. “But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?” ~ Albert Camus.
So true. Being aligned is where happiness happens.

9. “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” ~ William Shakespeare
Old Bill, bit of a realist I think. But in it all, is the crucial lesson that nobody deserves hurt.

10. “All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.” ~ Martin H. Fischer
There is just so much we can learn from the world. Why not treat our surroundings as one big lesson? 

11. “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” ~ Ludwig Van Beethoven
Most of you will know the huge impact music has had in my life. My favourite composer says it best, of course.

12. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~ Thomas Edison
Hard work, it appears is pretty much the driver of opportunity. If we wait for things to land in our laps, they probably won’t.

13. “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” ~ St. Augustine
It is truly a virtue. And I always find that things sort themselves out in time.

14. “Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” ~ Anatole France
How I love to travel! It’s so good for perspective on life, on others, on relationships, on wisdom. I hope I can do it more, and do it often.

15. “Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.” ~ Mark Twain
Genuine emotion is truly a gift. I even find myself expressing it at times!

16. Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: “I’m with you kid. Let’s go.” ~ Maya Angelou
This is one I need to live by more. Taking charge a little bit of your own destiny.

17. “Since everything is in our heads, we had better not lose them.” ~ Coco Chanel
Probably one of the smartest women that I have ever come across. She’s right, you know. 

18. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ” ~ Proverbs 4:23
This is very biblical, but I like it very much. We need to take care of our vital organs figuratively, like the heart, because they serve us well

19. “All art requires courage” ~ Anne Tucker
Standing up in front of people to sing was never easy – especially if the Dalai Lama might have been in the audience. To create is bravery.

20. “Good things, when short, are twice as good.”  ~Baltasar Gracian
Mostly this is for writing.  I do like it when things are to-the-point.

21.”Trust your own instinct.  Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.”  ~Billy Wilder
 This is a big one for me. I have learned that all the advice in the world won’t keep you from following your gut – right or wrong. I suppose it’s how we learn.

22. “Faith and doubt both are needed – not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.”  ~Lillian Smith
A little bit of doubt helps us find the best solutions. Much like science and faith, they don’t fall on opposite sides of the spectrum, but go hand in hand like many polarities in this world.

23. “Be beautiful if you can, wise if you want to, but be respected – that is essential.”  ~Anna Gould
I think we earn our place in this world. Respecting others and yourself and earning it is probably one of the most important lessons I have learned.

24. “Don’t try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night.”  ~Philip K. Dick
Worrying never sorted anything out, and especially not when you lose sleep.

25. “Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”  ~Robert A. Heinlein
Nobody can attest to a childhood that wasn’t a barrel of laughs more than I can. But I’m grateful for every moment I had to sort things out for myself. It gave me the wherewithal to think on my feet at the very least.

26. “Sometimes, we need a few people in our lives who will calmly call our bluff.”  ~Dr. SunWolf
I am so happy to have people that’ll tell it straight to me. We all should.

27. “Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”  ~Edwin Hubbel Chapin
I am a big believer in karma and our actions reflecting directly in our environment. Like my younger sister, I strive to do no harm to those around me. I truly believe it comes back to you, sometimes in multiples.

28. “Don’t set sail on someone else’s star.” ~ African Proverb
Follow your own path. It’s been really crucial in my career, which has oddly completely taken its own course. Best to roll with it, provided you’re guiding yourself at times.

29. “You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands.  Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it.”  ~John Updike
The world is infinitely full of possibility and there is something new to learn everyday, and a chance to leave your mark. We do well when we treat the world as a curiosity rather than an obstacle.

30. “You owe it to us all to get on with what you’re good at.” ~W. H. Auden
And you certainly owe it to yourself to know your path in life (however winded it might be).

6 thoughts on “30 – Life Lessons From People Smarter Than Me

  1. Happy birthday again, Mehnaz! I’m so happy to know you and so very happy to share in some of your future adventures.

    (2 and 18 hit particularly close to home right now.)

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