GUEST COLUMN: Some of life’s lessons
Monday, 12 November 2012 by Mark Magnan
I have seen a saying over the past few years, mostly used by young people, "That which doesn't kill me, makes me stronger." Of course I have looked up the most likely origin, but that is not really important. This seems to be a popular quote with a younger group. What is strange is that a lot of folks that have repeated this, either in writing or verbally, probably have not even come close to seeing a realistic example. Oh I am sure they have had a "traumatic" romantic breakup, or had something happen in their life that seemed like the end of the world, perhaps losing their cell phone and all their contacts. But there are a lot of life lessons that do teach you from a valuable experience, not all are hazardous to your health.
I learned a lot when I was young; actually many of my most memorable experiences were from my youth. I learned early on that no matter how well I spelled my father's name on a school report card, it didn't actually fool the teacher; apparently my father rarely used a purple crayon to sign his name. Ignoring difficult homework didn't cause it to go away, it did however create more problems down the road. Goofing off in class led to not actually learning what the teacher was trying to get across and, therefore, made the aforementioned homework more confusing.
As I grew a bit older, the lessons seemed to increase in importance and, at times, pain. I learned that speeding is a costly habit, and there is rarely a logical excuse that is accepted by the police officer, no matter how good it sounded to me. I now know that there are parts of the internal combustion engine that will burn the heck out of your hand, and they don't even have to be glowing red hot to do that. I know that parents and teachers really don't see the humor in sarcasm, especially when they believed that I was at fault for a situation, and that sometimes there are funny comments that should just remain unsaid.
Did you know that even though a little doggie might look cute and harmless, he can still bite your hand? I learned that little baby animals grow into larger versions that are not as cute and can sometimes have habits that are not desirable. Did you know that a possum is not the only animal that "plays possum", and some of those animals will bite?
I have a lot of wisdom that I could share with younger members of society if they were interested. Think long and hard before you make some long range decisions. Not everything that seems like the end of the world right now is really that serious, and probably won't matter in a few months or years.
I certainly don't want to seem cynical, because I am not. I learned a lot by making mistakes, we all do. What a great way to learn: pain can be a great teacher. Of course there are a few things that I would have appreciated some warnings about, but I probably wouldn't have listened.
I keep on learning. Here are some freebies: If you buy a piece of furniture and it comes in a flat box, the instructions will be in broken English, the drawings will be terrible, and there will be a needed part that is missing or defective; If you are working on something trying to repair it, you will lack a specific tool that will keep you from finishing the job, especially when the appropriate stores are closed; That one missing odd ingredient in a recipe will either change the taste, or cause the dish to fail completely; When something says "one size fits all", it won't; When the doctor or dentist says "there may be a little discomfort", there will be more than just a little; When a friend is guiding your vehicle and says, "you got plenty of room", often that is worth a second opinion.
One of the biggest and most important lessons I know is that no matter how bad you believe our country is today or where we are headed, we still live in the greatest country in the world.