Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned. Mark Twain
Everyday, on this journey we call life, we are learning. We start learning from a young age, from our parents, from school, from teachers, and from our friends. We learn from textbooks, and from experiences. We are constantly storing our own set of 'life rules' in our head, and we are on a never-ending journey of self discovery. However, there are some things we learn that we should 'unlearn', because not all things we learn are true. Things we've learned that we thought, at one point, were expected of us, or things that were considered 'right'. Now, as adults, we can choose to ignore. And we can unlearn.
Here are ten rules I have unlearned:
Sharing means caring: Okay, so yes. It is sooo good to share. We learned that sharing is important when we were in nursery school. But really? It isn't always FUN to share, you know. I tell my boys everyday: "Please share." And inevitably, someone gets sad, because someone has to give up the object they are playing with to SHARE! In a house filled with toys, can't one of my children find something else to play with so I don't have to tell them to share and witness yet another meltdown? Also? I don't like sharing. There, I said it. I hate sharing my french fries. AND ESPECIALLY MY POPCORN at the movies. DO NOT TAKE MY POPCORN! Get your own damn popcorn. I also hated it when people asked for a drag from my cigarette. I'd just give them their own. So, sharing is good but let's unlearn that it's the most important thing, okay? Sharing means caring sometimes.
Be nice: I am nice. Most of the time. I don't like being mean to people, and I try to be fair. In grade 7, a group of my so-called friends huddled together during recess and decided not to be nice to me anymore because my boobs were bigger than theirs. And they thought I was using my boobs to get attention from the boys. And I was NOT. And so, I have unlearned that I should be nice all the time. It depends on the situation. And who is around me.
And playgrounds/recess/school = cesspool for mean girls. So protect yourself, and your children. Teach your kids to be nice, fair and kind but prepare them also that the world can be harsh. Girls can be bitches. So be nice. But be on guard!
Be super healthy: Don't get mad - I understand that staying fit and eating well are key to living a long and healthy life. Organic foods. Lots of veggies. No smoking. Limited drinking. Sleeping 8 hours a night. Yada yada yada. I respect healthly people who manage to get 8 servings of fruits and vegetables in their children daily. It's just, I don't. My kids don't LOVE veggies. Aside from some - tomatoes, corn, peas, carrots, celery - it's hard to get them to eat veggies. And I'm okay with that. They are healthy, active boys. And well, they're well fed. They are Greek, after all.
When I was pregnant I slept for 9 months straight, waking up to eat McFlurries. I was very not active. And I had one of the easiest labour and deliveries ever. My great grandfather lived to 99 and smoked. BUT he enjoyed life. Living in Greece, it's this mentality, this wonderful way of life, that makes people less stressed, and more happy, thus resulting in long lives. The key is lots of sex, wine, good food, and hell, a smoke here and there. Live life! So I sort of unlearned to be super healthy. Right now, I am staying fit - working out four times a week and eating well, and I feel great. But I also know how to induldge!
University is important: Yes. University IS important and I'm glad I went, I'm glad I graduated. It was a great 4 years. But when I fast-tracked the two year Broadcast Journalism course in college - that's when I learned the skills I needed to apply to the real world and was able to get an on-air job in radio. (Don't worry, though, I'm still going to make sure my kids go to University and stay there until they get their Ph.D!) Just make sure to look at all options. University is not for everyone. College is good, too.
Be an adult: There was a point, after University, when it was awesome being an adult, to have no rules to follow, to be living in the real world. Working. Making money. Traveling. Buying a house, getting married. It was all very exciting. Then, becoming a parent - nothing makes a person more of an adult than that! But, pretty soon, you re-discover your innocence, and you experience being a child again. You play with your children, building LEGO towers, making things with PlayDoh, reading children's books, and swinging at the park. Playing soccer in the street, lying down in the grass, and running through the sprinkler. It's fun to unlearn being an adult. Embrace your inner child! It makes being a parent so much more fun!
Aim for perfection: Too often, we push ourselves too hard. Sometimes, we try to be perfect. The truth is, perfection is not attainable. I just don't have the desire to be perfect at anything. I have unlearned to be perfect. Instead, I aim to be the best I can be. I focus on the things that matter in life. All I want at the end of the day is for my children to think I'm a great mommy. Even if I don't always cook dinner and even if sometimes I yell or lose my patience. We should all aim to be the best we can be. That is good enough!
Words don't hurt: We all remember "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." This simply is not true. Words sting. Words can hurt. I have unlearned this, and everyday I remind myself to think before I speak, because sometimes, words, as innocent and cute as they seem, can hurt.
It matters what others think: It can be downright stressful when we focus on what other people think about us. "What will they think if I say this?" "What shoes should I wear?" "How should I style my hair?" "What if my parenting style is different than hers?" You know what I'm unlearning? It doesn't matter what other people think! If someone doesn't like you - who cares? They are NOT WORTH it. Be true to yourself. People like that! Do things for you.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger: Sadly, I have unlearned this from being the truth. When I go through certain experiences, life changing experinces that make me truly worry, like when one of my children is sick, I don't come out of it stronger. Maybe this is not true for you, but for me, it only makes me weaker, and it makes me worry more. What doesn't kill me makes me weaker.
You can't always get what you want: I don't have the luxury to fly to Monaco for the weekend, and I don't live in a 6,000 square foot home. But I have everything I want. And everything I need. I have learned that you CAN get what you want. You just have to do it! After University, I wanted to see L.A. and work for Entertainment Tonight. I applied to be an intern, and one day, an acceptance letter came in the mail. I never thought it would happen, but it did. That is one experience I made happen for myself. Whatever you want in life - do it. Try. Don't give up! I have unlearned that you can't always get what you want. You so can!
This blog post was inspired by Mama Kat's fabulous Writer's Workshop!