One of the hardest things for a chatterbox like me to do is shut up and listen. When someone is telling me a story about what happened to them in the store three days ago, I’m likely mulling over the details of my own shopping experience and eagerly awaiting the end of their tale so my own can begin. But the key word there is “awaiting.” I almost always (I say almost because I’m human and flawed, duh) try my best to let them finish.
Because they’re important.
Their story is important.
They deserve the respect of my silence.
I’m not saying I’m perfect at this, but I strive to be. Here’s the thing, I love telling stories. It’s part of my personality. Sharing life experiences with people gives me a thrill like no other (exhibit a: rachelsrambles.com). It means the world to me when people let me ramble on about the time I roller bladed down a gravel hill, the awkward run in I had with my ex-dentist or the terrible experience I had at a hotel. I know I can’t be the only one, so I try to let others have a go.
Here’s the twofold benefit I’ve discovered of shutting up:
- Your friend feels important because they were allowed the privilege of telling their story while you patiently listened.
- You get to learn something about them you may not have known and their experiences can you teach you something about your own life.
I love to read self-help books and biographies. I read them because hearing people’s stories changes the way I see the world and the way I want to mark this place I call home. I learn about myself through others by deciding who I want to be like and how I want to be like them. I’d never get that chance if I didn’t listen.
Plug your ears close your eyes. I’m about to write something awfully cliché.
Life is too short to spend your days and time in a place that makes you unhappy. So find what makes you happy and do it.
It’s really that simple, but you couldn’t call me a rambler if I stopped there.
The way you make your living attributes largely to your happiness. It’s important to find work that is fulfilling. Who cares about the amount on your paycheck if you’re happy.
We get so caught up in making more money to make ends meet, that we work ourselves to the bone while forgetting something incredibly simple: I can be happy with less. Less stuff, less money, less stress. I don’t need the latest apple watch to tell time, I have a nice wristwatch that does the trick. I don’t need an iPad, kindle and droid tablet if I’ve got a laptop, desktop and book.
I’ve fallen into the “I need more to feel more” category in the past and I hated every second of it. Having more made me miserable because there was always more to get. If I can get a new phone, I’ll be happy. If I can get a new car, I’ll be happy. If I can get a new wardrobe, I’ll be happy.
That’s a load of hogwash. STUFF DOESN’T MAKE ANYBODY HAPPY.
What makes us happy is helping people, following dreams, pursuing passions. I’d be a million times happier as a broke chick organizing not-for-profit events to help people meet God than I would be as a rich lady with no time to pursue what I feel passionately called to do.
The right job is worth waiting for and if you haven’t found it yet, don’t stress and don’t settle. You deserve better.
One of the dumbest things I consistently do is decide things on impulse- be it taking on a project, making a purchase or quitting something I’ve started. I tend to be an emotional person (Le sigh, I cannot escape this fate) and those emotions have really affected the way I interact with my life. And by that I mean- I regret. I regret lots.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve enthusiastically purchased something only to regret it later. My Macbook Air, for instance. It was a $1200 mistake. I should have stuck with the PC I know and love but for whatever reason the slick appearance of a Mac machine was too much to withstand. So I splurged. A couple of weeks later when I (with loads of frustration) stopped trying to learn the Mac that was supposed to be user-friendly, I regretted my decision. I still regret that decision, though somewhat less now that a year has passed and I’ve grown more accustomed to what I’m stuck with. Though to be honest, I frequently consider selling the Mac and returning to my carefree PC days.
Sadly, I don’t just make life-fail-decisions with purchases. I also do it with projects. People ask me to help them with things and without even considering how crazy busy my schedule is I just say “Yes! I’d love to!” and then regret it a week later when I’m trying to cram in their project with all of mine.
Another huge failure was my first year of college. I thought I knew what I wanted (a degree in Paralegal studies) even though it wasn’t what I really wanted (a law degree), which I couldn’t have (because a law career is one of the highest stress jobs in the country and fibromyalgia is anti-stress), so I was unsatisfied and called it quits. Without notifying my instructs or withdrawing or being smart. Rather than talk to my advisor, I just flunked out. It was easier and less stressful. At the time, that is. As a result, I wasted around $2,500 plus a year of my life. Oh, and did I mention it’s tricky to up your GPA when you purposefully flunked 15 credit hours? Uhm yes. So much for less stress.
I’ve learned over time and from lots of failure that it is so worth the wait before deciding things. Don’t be afraid to say “Let me think about it.” I’m currently un-enrolled at school. Why? Because I’m waiting to know what the right next step is, before I take it.
Yes, life is short. It’s ridiculously short.
But it’s long enough to pause before deciding.
This is a big one. And a hard one.
It has taken some time and plenty of emotional pain to get ingrained in my head. My greatest dream in life for so stinking long was to have a family. When I found out some hard news about my chances at successfully doing so being slim, I was devastated. It forced me to ask myself some very difficult questions and to do a ton of inner exploration. I was shocked by what I found:
I’m okay with the idea of being single for the rest of my life. I don’t have to get married and have kids to be happy. The only thing I need is to follow Christ. In fact, I now find the idea of a solitary lifestyle appealing because it means that I’ll be free to pick up and go whenever God calls.
I still want a family. I still want love and romance and a story that could be a New York Times Bestseller. But if God has other plans for me, I’m okay with that. And in the meantime, I’m okay with waiting to find out.
I’m 21 and single. I’ve had just two legitimate relationships and both lasted a mere month and went no farther than a date or two or three (I also had one illegitimate relationship -as in we never titled it- that lasted several years: see my thoughts on that here). And that’s okay because each of these relationships taught me a lot about myself.
I know what I want. I know what I can put up with in others. I know what I need and I know what I’m willing to change about myself and my situation. I know what I will and will not compromise on. I don’t have to settle. I refuse to settle.
Life is overflowing with experiences. We all know this and yet we’re often shocked when they happen or we rush through one to get to the next. I was definitely the latter growing up.
I was in such a hurry to grow up and be an adult that I rushed through the experience of being a youth. I really, really, really wanted to be in college, so I crammed 4 years of high school into 3 and graduated when I was 16. I hated making a big deal of anything that reminded me of how young I was, like birthdays and big moments. When I got my driver’s license, my mom had to tell people because I was embarrassed it had taken me so long to get (I was the minimum of the required age, it literally did not take me any time at all) and refused.
I always wanted to be ahead of the game so I rushed through learning and didn’t slow down.. until I was forced to.
Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness knocked the wind out of my sails. I learned to appreciate each moment as it came, especially the pain-free moments. Life is too precious to rush through it! And sometimes it’s worth saving up little moments for a much happier, much bigger moment.
I had always wanted to go on a road trip but going by myself seemed like a bore. While I was free and single, the people I wanted most to come with me weren’t able to just pack a bag and run off. They had jobs and kids and husbands. So I waited until there was a special occasion to make the trip more enticing (my 21st birthday) and gave about 6ish months (maybe more?) advanced notice to my friends. Most of them were able to make it because my invitation came early enough for them to make arrangements and we had an absolute blast! I’m so glad I decided to be patient and wait for the opportunity rather than go by my lonesome.
— — —
I’ve said all of this to say that life is worth waiting for. We don’t have to rush through it or live it by impulse. We can analyze and choose our path and in so doing become a much happier version of ourselves. After all, the anticipation of something is often far sweeter than the thing itself.
What are some things you think are worth waiting for?