Thursday, May 23, 2013

BEDM Challenge: Day 23 Walking Around Sense

I was so excited for today's blog challenge prompt and I couldn't wait to get my MacBook out, get to my favorite cafe, and BLOG IT OUT! Day 23's prompt:

"Things you've learned that school won't teach you"

When I read the blog prompt the first thing that came to my mind was something that my mother used to say all the time when I was kid, "You have a lot of book smarts, but you don't have any walking around sense."

Gee, thanks Mom! 

However, you know she was really right because we always think that we know everything when we are young, but we know NOTHING about life. I remember being 17 and thinking that I had the world figured out, I was graduating, and getting as far away from my small town as my car would carry me. I was an invincible force of nature and the world was mine.

So for this prompt I thought about what would I tell myself if I could talk to me BEFORE I went to college. I used to think that all of life's problems could be solved by a degree and when I say all of them I mean ALL of them.

Here is what I came up with:

If I could talk to my 17 year-old self I would take her by the shoulders and give her a good shake. "Life is not as simple as you think," I would tell her while shoving her into a seat, "You aren't as street smart as you think. People are going to steal from you, they are going to lie to you, they are going to try and hurt you, and you can't always stop them."

I know that she would scoff at me and tell me she's got it all covered, and she has been totally preparing for this moment. She'd cross her arms and smirk at me in the way that my mom hates and calmly tell me that she's read about all the cities she wants to live in, studied the languages, learned about the scams, and even gone to etiquette classes to prep.

Ugh, I can be such a know-it-all.

"Please, you don't have the slightest clue, little girl!" I would say to her and scoff right back because I know she's always hated being called little girl.  

"Don't pull all that on me and don't think just because you were in the top quarter of your graduating class that you are smart in the ways of the world, because we both know it wasn't hard." I would say  while giving a challenging glare when she opened her mouth to protest.

"I've got a decade on you, not to mention a degree under my belt with a 3.94 GPA, a double major WITH a foreign language minor. I know Russian, yea, RUSSIAN. I graduated with magna cum laude honors, phi beta kappa acceptance, and a CV that's four pages long, and I'm starting my masters in the Fall, so don't even start with me.

Only then would the 17 year-old girl in front of me shut her mouth, but her eyes would still be bright with anger. I'd ignore this, take a deep breath, smile in the gentlest way possible and start to talk softly.

"You don't know what's out there and no amount of school will fix that. No matter how HIGH you make your GPA go, or how much you study it won't change the fact that you are clueless. The academic accolades and lectures won't teach you to stand on your own two feet when the rug has been pulled out from you. The classroom won't show you how to be strong when you have nothing in your bank account, a broken heart, and an empty stomach." I would say while sitting next to her and spreading my hands out for emphasis.

"Take the time to make friends, don't compete ruthlessly, and slow DOWN." I would continue with a sigh, peeking at her waiting for her to speak.

"But, school was supposed to get us out of here and away from this place and the problems. All of them." She would groan while looking up at the ceiling. "School was the way out and everything else was supposed to follow."

"Yea, I know, but funny thing is life doesn't follow a schedule...not matter how much you try to force it. Living life and not scheduling it is actually something we STILL can't do." I reply with a grin.

"Great. So basically....I'm in for it?" She asks with a rueful smile.

"Kinda, but here are the top five things to remember," I say while looking at her to make sure she's paying attention, "Ok, so in your life this is what I learned that I could NOT get from the classroom:

1) Love who you want, but never let a broken relationship define you. You are going to fall in love more than once and every time it will be worth it. Except for the doctor, STAY AWAY FROM DOCTORS. Unless you are dying SEEK NO MEDICAL ATTENTION.

2) Always go outside your comfort zone, because that is when you shine. Your best friends will be the most unlikely people.

3) You can't FIX people. Period. Do not invest in a relationship that is toxic to you, so choose your friends wisely and don't be afraid to end fruitless relationships.

4) MONEY MANAGEMENT. Can you say it with me? NO CREDIT CARDS....EVER. Ok, maybe the Best Buy one because we really like cameras.

5) Let people in and let your guard down. I know you've been hurt horribly in your life, but refusing to show any vulnerability isn't living. Feel everything even when it hurts.

So that's how I imagine a conversation between my younger-self and I would go. There would be plenty that I would want to tell her beyond these five things, but for the sake of blog space I'll keep it to just these five. But it would be nice to tell her to maybe stop dating singers, not to be afraid of LOOKING LIKE A GIRL because it's actually fun, converse do NOT count as a dress shoe, Europe isn't as fun as it looks, yes, you end up getting married and YES, YOU HAVE A WEDDING, and to maybe just maybe try a music type outside of emo punk.

What are life lessons that you learned OUTSIDE of the classroom and what would you give anything to tell your younger-self?  Nothing at all? I like a devil-may-care attitude so if that's you let's talk!


  1. Great advice, especially YOU CAN'T FIX PEOPLE!

    Even if you are trying to help, they have to want to change.


  2. I love the way you wrote this. I wish I would have learned earlier in life that you can't fix people. Especially boys. Would have saved me lots of heartache and sleepless nights.

    My Momma used to say, "Leshea, you are book smart but you ain't got no common sense."

  3. I love your post. You're preaching to my choir. I still have a lot to learn.

  4. Great post! I love #1 - when your heart's been broken, it's hard to see past the immediate hurt and turmoil and realize that there's something beyond. :)

  5. Hahaha x 1 million at "You are going to fall in love more than once and every time it will be worth it. Except for the doctor, STAY AWAY FROM DOCTORS. Unless you are dying SEEK NO MEDICAL ATTENTION."

    Love this! Oh, wait. My mom's engaged to an ER doctor. Can we exclude them?