As I wrap up my time at Texas State University and KTSW 89.9 FM, I want to leave whoever may read this some words of advice and, hopefully, of hope. At the age of 35, which is by no means old, but still old enough to have gathered some life experience, I have been through some strange events.
A lot is going on in this world, almost too much for us to mentally handle sometimes. From the continual around-the-clock media coverage of negative events to the politics of the day to the constant trolling, arguing, and useless fighting on social media platforms, it seems as if everyone is always mad. I can say from experience, that is far from the truth.
While there are important topics that must be addressed, getting angry and upset while railing against every injustice is a surefire way to become miserable, and what eventually will happen is that we will become so engrained in looking for things to be upset about that we will miss many great aspects of life.
Sometimes the best option is to let things go. It’s great to have causes we care about, to see people treated equally, to have the same options as others no matter your background, but in a world that will never be fair, letting go must not just be an option to consider, but must become a way to live.
Stoicism, which originated in Greece and became very popular under Marcus Aurelius, an Emperor of Rome, teaches about dealing with what life throws at us without complaint and acceptance. If people cut us off in traffic, what point is there in getting mad? Who are we hurting? Ourselves. If someone calls us a racial slur or insults our gender or sexuality, that isn’t great, but returning fire with fire only escalates the problem.
We then find ourselves hating the opposite gender, race, or a certain group of people, and in the end, nobody wins, ever. But do we let others just run over us? No. However, sometimes, there isn’t a point in trying to teach someone a lesson, or showing someone up, or to show how upset you are about this or that. Sometimes, letting go and realizing the situation is bigger than you or I could ever be, is the best response.
Let go. Relax a bit. Have some fun in life. It’s already hard enough. We can become consumed easily with all the ill effects of life. There are times to be serious. Times to stand up for yourself and let your voice heard but use it sparingly and when the situation is appropriate.
I observe many people thinking they need to let their voice be heard constantly, so they’re always talking about everything. Have you been around these people? How fun are they? How fun is it to be around someone who always knows everything and seems so consumed with everything?
One day, we will all have to look back on our lives, and when that day comes, will we truly be able to say we left this world better off than we found it? I was faced with this question a long time ago and realized that I was not a happy person. In fact, I was miserable. I was self-consumed, selfish, rude, and overall, a genuinely depressing person to be around. That realization was hard. Changing from that style of living and existing was even more difficult, but it can be done.
I’ve heard time and time again that personalities can’t change, that may be true, but mindsets can. The world is a great place, with many great people trying to do the best that they can. There are rotten apples out there. There always has been, and always will be. There will be those who talk too much about themselves while never letting anyone else speak. There will be those who don’t care about anyone but themselves and those who are downright mean. But in the end, that’s a small number.
Throughout my experience, I have found many people of all types to be extremely helpful, caring, attentive, gracious, giving, generous, kind, and downright joyful to be around.
It’s time to begin letting all the petty things go that rob us of our time, energy, joy, focus, and our life. That may mean cutting out certain friends, relationships, family members, or deleting one of the many social media platforms we have, or turning off the news. It could be any number of things depending on the person.
Focus on what you can fix. Focus on those around you. Focus on the people that are in your life. Big changes come from small beginnings. Let go of all the noise around you and focus on what truly matters, which is different for each person. Choose wisely. We only have one life. How do you want to spend it?\
Featured Image by Randy Heinitz via Creative Commons.