This post is long overdue, I know. But it is better late than never, right?
During the course of the year 2015, there were a couple of life lessons I picked up from some of my friends. These “lessons from friends” were not taught to me directly. Like, my friend did not sit me down to explain this and that to me. No. Usually, I pick these lessons from my friends from interacting with them. It could be in something they said or did, or did not do. It could also be something they taught (or tried to teach) me directly.
So here are the four lessons that I learned from my friends in the year 2015.
1. About Food
If there is one thing never to fight for, it is food. Never!
I found myself at a friend’s family end of year family reunion. I was there with a friend of mine, but we did not have all day to spend there. But while we were there, we visited an orphanage and their family gave some gifts. Then orphans songs for us, and they were just lovely! Little adorable children, singing like a mass heavenly choir. They even sang better than some church choirs I have listened to.
After the orphanage visit, we all returned to the place where the main party was to hold. By this time, the day was far spent and I wanted to head back home with my friend. But… I was hungry! Given my small stomach and the way I eat, I was already hungry at the time we were visiting the orphanage.
I hoped that we would leave there on time to return to the party, and then I could peacefully appease the gods in my belly. But things did not go according to my expectations. That meant that I had to leave the party (that was yet to start) hungry.
At first, I was not happy. I will be honest. I was not happy, and I was about getting upset when I stopped myself and asked… dude, do you not have food at home to eat? Then I realized that even though I was hungry, the foot at the party was not going my dinner. It was not going to be my last meal ever. I still have plenty of food to eat at home. So why then was I upset? I do not know why, but after realizing this, I was no longer upset!
Then I recalled 1 Corinthians 11:22 where apostle Paul was admonishing the Corinthians (paraphrased below):
What? Do you all not have houses to eat and drink in?
I also remembered past times when people fought over food at parties and social events. And I felt like Paul (in my mind) like… do people not have their own homes in which they can eat? Why then do we have to go fight over food outside, when most of us have enough food at home?
I mean, the people who fight for food at social events are not homeless people who may actually have no food to eat. They are not people who have no idea where their next meals will come from. These are people who most likely already have their dinners and breakfasts planned out. So what then is the fight for? Why then do people get upset over not getting any food at an event?
Up until that day, I may have gotten a little unhappy if I did not get any food at an event. But getting mad at the host of the event or holding a grudge against them because of food? Or fighting for food? That was never my style. But after that experience, things changed for me.
In my opinion, if there is one thing never to fight for, it is food. So when next you are about to get upset over not getting food at an event, ask yourself this… have I no home in which I can eat?
2. About Obligations
My most favorite part of childhood, was not having any responsibilities whatsoever. All we did was eat, sleep, play and go to school (which also was play to us). We did not worry about where the next meal was going to come from, how to earn money, meetings and appointments. We almost had no purpose other than staying happy. Oh, how I miss those days.
Now we are all grown and there are tons of responsibilities that lie on one’s neck. There are responsibilities to ourselves, and to others. There are self-imposed responsibilities. There are responsibilities that were imposed upon us, like family or work/career responsibilities. There are just so many.
And anytime I feel overwhelmed and want to escape life, I remember my responsibilities. And whenever I complained to my friend about needing a break, I always tell her that there were so many things to do. But she corrected me and said
There are things you have to do, and things that have to be done!
This might not make a lot of sense. In fact, it did not make much sense to me when I heard it the first time. But think about it for a moment… these are two sets of responsibilities that both “have” to be done.
Things “you have to do” are things you want to do, in essence. They are self-imposed responsibilities, like your goals in life. And then there are things that “have to be done”, if not the consequences would be grave. For example, earning a living if not you could suffer and die. And staying alive which is also something that has to “be done”.
I am sure I did not explain it as well as she did, but there are things you have to do, while there are others that have to be done.
3. About Sacrifices
Somehow, I knew about this unwritten rule about making sacrifices for people. But it did not seem like a strict rule. So every once in a while when I make a sacrifice for someone, I feel the urge to want to break this silent rule. I do seldom break the rule and I feel some sort of guilt, but I never understood why. I thought Breaking the rule would give me some sense of achievement. It was like a desire for recognition or something, for the sacrifice made. I do not know why, but it almost never felt good after breaking the rule. What an irony!
Here is the deal… whenever you make a sacrifice for a person, you are not supposed to tell them what it cost you. The moment you tell or make them aware of what the sacrifice cost you, then it just becomes a favor. I am not sure if letting them know that it cost, also breaks the rule. But like I said, it seems like an unwritten or silent rule of making sacrifices for people. It just does not seem right and I feel that doing so makes the act a favor and no longer a sacrifice. But this is my opinion anyway.
If you make a sacrifice for someone, you should not tell then what it cost you or (if possible) that it cost you; else it would just be a favor
4. About Expressions
I first heard this from one episode of Scrubs, but I was too lenient about applying this in life. But it was not until I had several experiences with a friend, that I had to consider it all the time. In that episode of Scrubs, JD said (and I paraphrase below)…
Just because something has to be said, does not mean it has to be heard
I cannot remember the actual episode, but those words have been stuck in my head ever since. Even so, I often found myself saying some things to this friend of mine that I usually would later regret. It was particular to this one friend friend of mine, so it was easy to observe her reactions. After this happened a few times, I had to call myself to order.
I also do not remember if she brought it up, but I realized later that not everything that has to be said, needs to be heard. Especially when it will not sound nice, or would hurt the listener, it is better to say nothing.
I know that this could be tough to do. There are times when we feel so hurt, annoyed or angered that we just need to express our feelings. But my experience with this one friend of mine, taught me the hard way. While expressing one’s feelings is good, consider other ways to say what needs to be said. Sometimes, saying it as it feels, and in the heat of the moment, might not come out nice.
So there you have it; the 4 life lessons that I learned from friends in 2015.
What about you? What lessons did you learn from your friends in 2015?
Please share in the comments section below. Thanks!