Posted by: LucidMystery | December 7, 2008

Learning from Living

There are still a few weeks left to 2008, but I thought I would get a jump start at documenting what this year has taught me. Life’s lessons are always the most interesting of anything in the learning process, but whether or not I enjoyed my education, I hope I don’t forget any of this. Just so you know, the following aren’t in any particular order (not chronological, most-least influential, etc.) I’m just writing as it comes to mind. Also, all of this stuff is technically considered “personal,” since everything gave me a paradigm shift in some way (however minor); and I don’t want any of it to sound braggy either. I’ve had some self-esteem issues in the past and honestly, who am I kidding? Some of them will be with my all my life. But little by little, I’m learning to get over some of the lies I’ve let myself believe. Sooooo…here is what I learned!

  • Trust Him. Just two little words, trust Him. He knows what He’s doing, and no amount of nail-biting and panicking from me will change that. Earlier this year, I struggled with my post-graduation direction, and I ended deciding that worrying wasn’t helping me at all. Jesus said “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Mat. 6:27) Just trust Him; He has it all figured out. Plan for what you want, but know that ultimately He has it in His control. My pastor today said a cool quote “Worrying is a mild case of atheism” and I agree. In Anne of Green Gables, Morilla told Anne that “To despair is to turn your back on God.” By freaking out over my little issues, I’m basically telling God that He doesn’t know what He’s doing. Considering the fact that He’s actually the smarter individual, I’m thinking He might know a little more than I do.
  • Snow White and Giselle were on to something, and by that I mean singing/whistling while working. As long as I’m not around other people that I will end up bugging, singing/humming/whistling/etc really do help me get the job done in a more upbeat mindset. And for that matter, music affects my mood like crazy. If I listen to all slow, downer songs (like the part on the Lion Kingsoundtrack where you know Mufasa just died, or the My Chemical Romance song “I Don’t Love You”) my mood will mirror whatever I’m listening to. Now granted, if I’m feeling like crap, I generally won’t turn on an uber perky Hairspray song, but just sinking into that wallowing phase is a whole lot easier when I put on a depressing accompaniment.
  • I’m capable. By the time I graduated, I had carried out  a major research project funded by ODNR, and I had earned an Honors medal for it. Maybe this duals with this year’s lesson that I’m actually smart, not just good at memorizing (well, I’m still best at that.)
  • Anger and pushy-ness (is that a word? meh) will get you no where fast.  Look at the church right now. A recent book called UnChristian describes how non-Christians view us, and it’s not pretty. Why? Because a lot of what they see is true. Hypocrisy, finger-pointing, our holier-than-thou sin scale we developed–we’re digging ourselves in a hole! You want to know the truth? Gossiping with glee about the man having an affair is just as bad as the man having the affair. We’re all guilty of something, and we have no right to throw hot coals at someone. Now, that’s not to say we can’t correct our brothers and sisters in love when we see something awry, but the point is that it needs to be love. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that pointing out an issue to someone for the sake of being able to say you were right is not a Biblically condoned action. So to bring this full circle, my lesson is that approaching something from the perspective of anger or self-righteous pushiness (still doesn’t look right) really only makes most situations worse.
  • I can do a handstand. And that did give me a paradigm shift. I actually have the smidgiest bit of athleticism!! Whodathunkit?
  • I’m worthy of being loved. Maybe it sounds stupid that I didn’t know that, or didn’t believe that, especially considering I know that everyone should be loved (love the sinner, hate the sin=everyone gets luvin’…even if that refers to more of a neighborly love, you get the idea). But being in my first relationship, even if it ended, taught me that I’m not an oddball outsider girl who doesn’t deserve to be dated. I personally broke someone’s 21 year intentional no-dating streak! That’s saying something 😉 My point is, someday, God will show me who He wants me to love and be loved by, but even if He doesn’t, I finally understand that it won’t be because I’m not worthy of it.
  • I need to work on how I handle changes in my life. Case and point: the new facebook. I pouted for a week. (I’m trying not to do the same thing with the updated WordPress 😉 ) More evidence: I am undeniably strict with following my own little Christmas traditions; I have to have Chipotle at least once a week; I never like remixes of songs if I heard the original first; it annoys me when Windows revamps Word and Excel; moving to Pittsburgh should not have been as a big a deal as I made it; and I don’t buy new shoes because I don’t like breaking them in (that and I can never find shoes in my all girl size…but that’s another story.)
  • Road trips with little/no itinerary are the best vacations! (I find it odd that I adhere to this point and the previous. Given my penchant for maintaining some tradition and routine, I hate a lack of spontaneity!)
  • Patience and planning really are the keys to almost any accomplishment. Over the summer, when I would have autistic day-campers, just barrelling through the day wouldn’t help me or the camper. Being patient with the little quirks they might have was a struggle, but by paying attention to the kid, I could plan a way to help him or her mingle in with the others better. That sounds kind of vague, but each kid was different (one panicked a lot but would calm down when playing thumb war, another loved to tell anyone who would listen about gorillas, still another needed to have hand-sanitizer nearby at all times, etc.) Just a few minutes of planning everyday and then the patience to see my plans through saved me a lot of headache. With my school or lab work, same deal. If I actually come up with a study plan or lab schedule (and stick to them!), I’m much more likely to do well.
  • I can ride my bike with no handle bars, no handle bars.
  • Families are often underrated. Living so close to my family all four years of college never gave me time to miss them. Since visiting them is harder now, I’ve come to appreciate my time with them much more and I’ve started learning how much more my parents and sister mean to me than I ever gave them credit for. 
  • Life is nothing like a movie. Hollywood’s on crack and we’ll leave it at that. I tend to be a dramatic person, and I’m always waiting for a fanciful shocker of a moment that changes at least the course of my short-term future if not life. (Let me give you an amusing example, it’s not from 2008, but we’ll go with it anyway: before I began my non-dating year, I told God {you heard me, I told God *doink*} that if He didn’t want me to do it, He had to send some absolutely amazing guy to miraculously show up and proclaim his undying affection, or at least desire for a date to me, before midnight of New Year’s Eve and I’d be off the hook. Suffice it to say, that didn’t happen, and I did my 12 months. On the flip saide, 11 days after that, I went on my first date. God works things out interestingly, doesn’t He?) In the real world, yes, lives can be changed in an instant, but Indiana Jones won’t save you from the disaster and that perfect someone won’t chase you in the rain because they realize they love you. This isn’t to say the real world is a bleak blah and doesn’t have moments of magic, but the real world is the real world. It’s that simple.
  • Some boys will probably never be men. I don’t say this to sound like an embittered femiNazi spinster, I say it because it’s true (likewise, some women will always be the Mean Girl.) And it’s not always a bad thing that some of them stay mentally young, it’s just hard to deal with in some cases.
  • Sometimes it’s better to “remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”    -Abraham Lincoln. Smart guy, wasn’t he? I wish I took his advice more often. Especially in my advanced cell and molecular biology class.
  • When left in the fridge too long, 2% milk separates out and turns blue. I kid you not.
  • To go along with that, corn cakes grow three distinct type of fungi.
  • I need to clean out my fridge before I go home for Thanksgiving.
  • Close friends are amazing gifts. Getting little notes in the mail, posts on my facebook wall, and random “Hope you’re having a great day” texts can make all the difference in the world; and I feel so blessed to have such an amazing core group of girls (and C. Mills) who have provided me with just that. (Quick shout out to my ladies who were an especially huge comfort: Bri, Bridget, Heather, Bethany, Sarah R., Sarah M.,  Laura and Kristine . Love you all!!)
  • Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride 😉  -Gary Allen


  1. Dear Maria! Thank you for your nice post about the past year especially about friends! You take for granted people when they are around all the time. I mean I’ve learned that before but even more now then before. This whole traveling by myself in Austria and not having access to my cell phone b/c Verizon doesn’t work in Europe stinks. I miss everyone from Otterbein and look forward to Lauren’s wedding and most of us being back together again!


  2. I got shouted out to!! Yeah!


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