I have a few favorite "L" words. Rather than choosing one, I wanted to share them with you.
LEARN. It makes me sad that I don't "love to learn" as much as I used to. I was one of those kids who actually enjoyed school. Soaking in all new information, facts, history, methods, etc was always so interesting to me. (Except math, but that's a totally different story!). In college I truly enjoyed going to class and then sitting in the library/computer lab for hours on end, researching and writing papers. Call me crazy, but it was just sort of like stepping out of my own world and taking pleasure in what was going on elsewhere. These days, I don't have that same drive. I have a few theories- I'm no longer in a "school setting", therefore am not learning in the traditional sense. Still, I could make up for that by reading more news stories or watching history/travel channels. I just don't. Another theory is that I, like so many of us, have been consumed by pop culture. I need to remind myself that Idol's latest castoff isn't NEWS, isn't learning. I've been brainwashed in that sense, checking gossip sites more frequently than CNN. I need to remember there's a difference between entertainment and lifestyle. Wow, that got waaaay off track, but you get the jist. I hope. Anyways, one of the greatest feelings in the world is when you've learned something, mastered a skill- OR the ability to teach others. I guess I'm more in that role now. But you better believe, at my orientation for my new job on Monday, I will be sitting as close to the speaker as possible, hanging on every word they say, furiously writing and hi-lighting.
LISTEN. I've always considered myself a strong listener. This may be totally wrong, but I believe it is because of my shyness as a kid. I didn't talk much, but I was always listening. I became pretty fascinated with human emotion and interaction. I'm really good at knowing how people are feeling. I try to give advice, but mostly I just listen. I think that was what connected me to the Cristo Rey kids so well last year. On a completely different note, I am constantly listening to music. I can't have it playing too loudly, though, because I need to hear every word and I feel cranking the volume sort of takes away from that. Also, I can't listen to more than one thing at a time. I need to stay totally focused while listening. Example- when I was not living at home, sometimes I'd be on the phone with my mom, typing on my computer, AND listening to music softly. She'd pause for my response and I'd have to say "wait, what?". I need to put myself in a place where I can listen completely. Oh, and one of my BIGGEST pet peeves? NOT listening. That is the number one thing that frustrates me with kids I babysit for, or my students...also the number one reason I could NOT be a teacher :) I'd probably throw something at a kid who refused to listen.
LAUGH. One of my favorite sounds in the world is laughter. It's also one of my favorite feelings. I love the different ways people laugh, and when someone has a really ridiculously loud laugh, they are automatically one of my favorite people. (Hey Alicia!). I really miss college if only for the reason of all the nights I laughed until I cried. (Once I laughed until I threw up. And yes, I was sober. It was just that funny). What gets me the most is when a little kid bursts into giggles. The other night when I was babysitting, my mom came over for dinner. She knows the family quite well, and they were excited to have A TEACHER come over for dinner. When she came to the door, their decibel level reached a whole new level of high. It instantly put a smile on my face to hear them giggle like that. Aah, to be so carefree. I try to make it a point to laugh every day. Even on the bad days. Lucky for me that's pretty easy, my parents provide plenty of comic relief. ("I can't talk to you right now, I have to eat my ice cream"-My mom). But sometimes it's a little harder, especially when I was sitting at home all day job hunting. So I'd seek it out. Look at old pictures, read old blogs, talk to a friend, watch a youtube video. Laughter is truly the best medicine, in my opinion.
LET GO. This little two word phrase has been a favorite of mine since high school. I heard someone say "Let go and Let God" and it pretty much rocked my world. That's been my mantra ever since. I don't always follow through with it, but for the most part, when I'm buried deep in stress and worry, I can tell myself "let go" enough times, and I finally do. I also think it is important to "let go" of the things bringing you down- whether that be friends, negative thoughts, job, etc. There's no use keeping a constant negative in your life. Let go and replace it with a positive. People so often see letting go as a weakness, but in reality, if you are strong enough to let go, you can handle anything. Don't be afraid.
LOVE. Love always. Love first. Love hard. Love carefully. Choose love. ETC, ETC, ETC. I consider myself a very loving person. I am not afraid to tell the people in my life how much I love them. Perhaps my actions don't always show it (ie, making plans, phone calls, etc), but I do my best. I don't see a point in judging and I try to give everyone a chance. As far as "in love". I don't know if I've ever been in love. I've been close. There have been boys around. But in recent years I've realized that I truly need to work on myself, my self esteem, etc before I can ever love someone else. Basically, I need to love myself first. And it has taken me a long time to get to that point. I'm not even sure I am fully there. But I know that my "perfect guy" is there somewhere. I know I have time. And, luckily for me, I am surrounded by couples who are perfect examples of love. My parents and siblings are in these amazing, strong, faithful relationships that give me hope.
LIVE. When it comes down to it, we only have once chance to make this right. Tomorrow is never promised, so live for today. One of my favorite Spill Canvas songs quotes "live for the moment now". I try to remember that throughout each day. Be you. Live your life. No sense in wasting it. Some people don't get the chance, but you do. Take it. Dare. I have really, really worked on putting this into full practice. If I can't sleep at night, I write down the things on my mind, and next to them ways to fix or eliminate them. Then they can no longer consume my every thought and I can live my life freely. Remember what is important in life, and just live.
Sharing a song with you because it's been in my head since I sat down to right this...and it's relevant.