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Spoiler Alert: This Strange Thing We Call Life

If you prefer to only handle life as it unfolds without any heads-up whatsoever, perhaps reading this warrants a spoiler alert. Collective wisdom, however, can be a useful thing. We may not always heed it beforehand, but afterwards, when we’re painfully alone in our corner licking our wounds, it can help us not feel quite so profoundly stupid if we know others have navigated similar messes. In that spirit of camaraderie, I’ll share eight truths I’ve learned, often the hard way, regarding this strange thing we call life:

  1. Sometimes we make well-thought-out rational decisions, and other times we don’t even come close. We make horrible mistakes, yet we also manage to make selfless, brave decisions that require more courage than we ever imagined to possess.

  2. Life is wonderful, but wonder-filled moments aren’t usually earthshaking and obvious. They can be easy to overlook if we aren’t careful.

  3. Joy and grief generally run on parallel tracks throughout our lives, and realizing that makes it easier to deal with their simultaneous appearances.

  4. People are complicated. Your story is your own, and you should own all of it, the good, the bad and the kind-of-hard-to-understand parts as well. It is what makes you, you.

  5. We look at life through our own unique, but often flawed, lens of perception. We stubbornly defend the false and steadfastly resist the true, until we learn better. Hopefully once we learn, we do better. But not always.

  6. All of us deserve to deeply love, and be loved. We are held in the hands of a compassionate, forgiving power infinitely greater than ourselves. Most of us struggle to find meaning in what happens to us and others, for we’re hardwired to do so. Understanding that we will never honestly understand any of that, brings peace.

  7. None of us can see into the future and most of us have less than perfect vision when it comes to the past. But the truth is, we’re all in the same boat. We can heave a great, collective sigh of relief in knowing that. The simplest acts of connection can renew us, and the intoxicating delight of being understood can revive us.

  8. There is tremendous comfort in knowing that we are all part of the same colorful cosmic mosaic, a design made up of amazingly mundane, terrifyingly funny, heartbreakingly sweet, exhilarating challenges that comprise the human experience.

If you ask me, nothing spoils knowing that.

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