Experience: fosters wisdom and paves the path to self-awareness.
There. I said it, and that is probably why I am so committed to learning from my experiences, not from other people’s theories. It doesn’t necessarily make for an easy way, but it makes for an interesting life. And if I’ve learned anything about writing my experiences, it’s that no one can change what I know to be true of-about-for me. A few have tried. Save the planet, I say. Stop wasting oxygen. My experiences keep me grounded in my truth. My experiences are the petri dish where I test out life’s theories. And until tested, theories are all that exist.
Oh Lordy, what started this rant?
Well. A few weeks ago, a friend and I were having dinner and talking about life. You know. Life. I shared how many years ago I was up to my eyeballs in credit card debt. Another friend at the time, who was a financial counselor, put me in touch with a debt consolidation agency that helped me pay off the debt in five years. No small feat and a lot of beans and rice I can tell you.
Soooo…my friend and I were talking, and I said, “I don’t know how I racked up so much debt. I didn’t have a lot of fancy clothes or new furniture or a fancy car or any of that stuff.”
She listened to what I said for a while and got quiet. Then she asked what I used the card for. I told her: college tuition, books, travel, music.
Quietly, she said, “You have experiences. They’re so much more valuable than stuff.”
I thought for a moment. “You’re right,” I said. “I would not trade a one of my experiences for all the stuff in the world.”
Everything in these pages comes from one place: My own experience. I do not talk about what I do not know about. I use my own stories to reflect on my life and the choices I’ve made. I gather what pearls of wisdom I can from my own mistakes and successes. And by my own standards, based on my own experience, I have more successes than failures.
Life is so full of riches, and experiences teach me what it means to continually go for authenticity. The more I stay in and with my own experience, the more authentic, the richer I become.
If I don’t know about it, I don’t talk about it. For me, experience trumps theory every time. If I have a political view, it’s based on experience. Religious attitudes? Experience. Economics, relationships, or people? You got it; experience. I’m not saying that I don’t study. I do. Then I weigh what I’ve read-heard against what is real—for me.
Experience keeps me from taking someone else’s opinion of another person as my own.
Experience keeps me out of the cesspool of preachy, proselytizing fear mongering. Because everyone’s experience is different—just look at how my siblings and I remember a single moment differently—owning my experience allows me to practice being non-judgmental.
I trust my experience much more than I trust another’s “ideas” about how the world operates. And based on my experience, I try to remember:
Most people want to do the right thing. More people are committed to protecting the planet than harming it. Youth is a state of mind and heart. Physical beauty manifests first in the spirit.
It is my experience that a sense of generosity, compassion, open-mindedness, and faith must come from one or both parents.
It is my experience that a mean young person without significant life experiences will become a mean and wisdom-less old person (hapless and hopeless at best).
It is my experience that mean, wisdom-less old people are not happy.
It is my experience, and my belief, that deep down, the heart, by nature, is forgiving.
It is my experience that knowing one’s own personal values is more important than anything else on the planet. And that’s the work.
(Okay, and a bit preachy…)
Experience this beautiful day, wherever you are.