Valuable life lessons from the movie “Tuesday’s with Morrie”

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(FOREWORD: I was recently tagged in a “7 Day Book Challenge” by a good friend on Facebook wherein the participants get to post and share their all time favorite books (1 per day in 7 days) and subsequently nominate somebody for the challenge. The challenge was then, sort of, passed along to the named nominee to take in the next 7 days hence.

The book posted by my friend seemingly appealed to my interest. And so, having no time to spare to run to a bookstore to immediately grab a copy of it, I, instead tried to download and watch its movie adaptation. And it did not fail me. The movie was superb! And I was advised later on by my friend that to her the book is way far better. Although I was also able to listen to its audiobook (or the most part of it) via Youtube, I will still get a copy of the book soon, for sure.

And so, listed hereunder are the lessons I’ve learned from watching the movie. If you happen to watch the movie or read the book, I’d be glad to read your comments below.)

In the movie, Mitch Albom, the author of the best selling book “Tuesday’s with Morrie“, records the lessons he received from his former teacher, Morrie Schwartz. Morrie gave these life lessons while struggling with a life-threatening disease — ALS, commonly known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease (a chronic, progressive, almost always fatal neurological disease. It is marked by slow but steady death of the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. That is, people can no longer move, but their heart still beats.) Mitch has compiled every lesson he received from his teacher purposely (although it was not expressly stated in the movie and that were just later on known through the series of interviews with Mitch conducted after Morrie’s death and the release of the said book) to write into a book  which aimed to pay for the research on the cure for the disease and to augment the medication and other needs of Morrie as he battles through it. Unfortunately, Morrie did not lived long enough to read even just a single word from the book dedicated for his recovery.

In the movie, Morrie tells Mitch, “Study me in my slow and patient demise. Watch what happens to me. Learn with me.” When someone is on their deathbed, their view towards life can change; they can realize what is important and what is not. As Mitch would say, “Morrie would walk that final bridge between life and death, and narrate the trip.”

Besides these 2 moving quotes about life and relationship: “There is no such thing as ‘too late’ in life” and “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” Here are the most powerful lessons I learned from the book.

  1. Live every day as if it were your last

Morrie is happy that he has time to say goodbye to his loved ones thanks to his disease, which is slowly moving him closer to death. Morrie calls himself lucky; I am not sure if, under the circumstances he was in, I would call myself that. When I heard his explanation to using this word, I understand what he means. He suggests doing what some others do, metaphorically speaking, which is: “Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?'”

These simple words have a pool of information for each one of us. We must be ready to say goodbye to the world, any given day. How many of us can say that they are ready to die today? Of course, we may never be ready for death, but we must try to show our loved ones how much we care about them. We should not wait for a special occasion to express our love; we should make a habit of it. We should give our best to the world. Starting today, we should have a little bird on our shoulders too.

  1. Remember to spend quality time with the family

Most of us have a tendency of taking our family for granted. If it is a Friday night, we start planning our outing with the friends. Sometimes, we have to be forced to spend time with our parents on holidays. Life is fun with friends and parties with them; however, the bond of love, which we share with our parents and loved ones, is the ultimate one. Instead of keeping them at the bottom of our priority list, we must cherish and appreciate them whenever we get a chance.

  1. Enjoy your emotions to the fullest

One should not hide from any emotion, rather one must experience each emotion entirely. If you love someone, love them with all you have; if you are sad, cry until you cannot cry anymore; so that when the same emotion hits you again, you know exactly what is going to happen. We hide ourselves from emotions because we are afraid to get hurt.

  1. Money can never buy real happiness

Typically, people are pursuers of luxurious things. However, I agree with the explanation of Morrie. According to him: “If you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.” We are blindly running behind money; we forget our kids, parents, relationships, and friends.

We are busy. We are always busy. Busy has become a word that is being used as an excuse all over the world. At the end of the day, money will only get us a good hospital bed to die in — and a good headstone. Is that what we are aiming for? Of course, money is important, but it is not more important than our family. One may argue that to take care of our family, we need money. That is true. However, if we do not have time to spare for our loving family, then I believe there is a problem with our plan.

  1. Pay attention to the person you talk to

I wonder how many of us really listen while we talk! According to Morrie, it is really important to pay our utmost attention to the person you are conversing with. Imagine if this is the last conversation with your loved one, would you wish to let it go unheard?

  1. Marry the person with the same values as you — and treat them well

As per Morrie, people should get to know about other people’s values and beliefs; marry the person who shares your values and beliefs. A life partner is a very important part of our life. In our time of need, friends may come and go, but our life partner will be with us. During sickness, they are the ones who take care of us. Therefore, they should be treated with love, care and respect. As Morrie quotes a famous saying: “Love each other or perish.”

  1. Decide your own rules; do not let society steer your life

Morrie says that people are running behind things that do not — necessarily — matter to them. He says that we must believe in each other and ourselves. According to him: “Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those you love and who love you.” He mentions we should rely on our own instincts to decide our thought process and actions — and not society. In his own words: “I don’t mean you disregard every rule of your community… The little things, I can obey. But the big things — how we think, what we value — that you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone — or any society — determine those for you.”

  1. Forgive others, as well as yourself

We tend to hold grudges in life. Even if somebody apologizes, how many of us — truly — forgive the person? We may smile and accept, but there is a huge possibility that we do not forgive them. Forgiving another person not only releases a burden of one’s own heart, but also makes us a better person.

Happy Saturday everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You Love Someone? Do something about it!

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(FOREWORD: This post is inspired by a conversation I had with my wife last night about why some people choose to “wait” for the love of their life or why some even allow their significant others to “wait” on a rather long stretch down the road towards a committed life of love with them)

There’s no denying that there’s something significant about telling your significant other you love them.

Those in love agonize over the questions of when to say it or when to say it back. Tell them too soon and you might spoil it; wait too long, you might never get the chance. But to even begin to answer the question of when, you must first answer the bigger question: What does “I love you” even mean?

I hope it is already understood that it’s a great honor to be told by someone that they love you. When we hear another couple utter those three words, we assume that they share a unique bond, experience a strong physical attraction, feel a certain tenderness, etc. But when we hear it spoken to us—especially for the first time—yes, all those feeling are there, but we typically hear more than that. We hear “I love you” as an implied promise of things to come. Love, expressed truly, is full of expectation. When you tell someone that you love them, what you’re really saying is: I think so highly of you that I intend to stick with you even when I don’t feel as strongly. And not just stick around, of course, but to love all the while. There’s something necessarily exclusive and enduring about it. This is often why a breakup after “I love you” has been said feels like a betrayal and a broken promise.

That’s because there’s a difference between telling somebody you love them and actually intending to love them. That is, telling somebody you love them is just lip service and actually loving someone is work.

The feeling of love is a fleeting thing. If you didn’t know that already, you will soon enough—researchers have found that the “in love” feeling lasts about two years. But real love doesn’t have an expiration date, it’s a choice you intend to keep making even when you’ve lost that loving feeling. For this reason, I have an aversion to anyone saying that they “fell out of love” with someone or “fell in love” with them, as if they’re completely helpless in the matter.

All of this deeper meaning, however, gets muddled when people throw around “I love you”s like they’re going out of style. In fact, some studies claim that my fellow gentlemen tend to say it to a girl by the end of the first month of dating. If you are reading this and thinking “simma down now,” I’m right there with you.

Is it likely that a man is truly ready to love you—in the action sense that the word implies—after just one month? Maybe, but it gives me cause to proceed with caution. My theory as to why some men are so quick to drop the “love” bomb is not because it’s without effect, but in fact the opposite: We men know what sort of meaning it carries, and we like the reaction we get. This alone is reason enough to be, shall we say, more discerning with our declarations of love. Personally, it has taken me months of exclusively dating my ex-girlfriend (now my wife) to even start considering the idea of loving her to taking it to the next level and keeping her for life. That might be because I’m a bit selfish, but it’s also because I want to be sure I don’t make promises that I might not be ready to keep.

So when should you say “ I love you” or when should you say it back?

In short, when you are ready to do the work. When you say those three little words, you better be prepared to do something about it. And then continue to do so because that’s what we expect from people who tell us they love us. This readiness often takes time and always takes seeing that person with eyes wide open. I would also say that if you can’t express to someone by the one-year mark that you love them (and actually mean it), then it’s probably time to move on. It might mean you are with the wrong person. But it might also mean that you’re just not ready to take on the commitment and effort that love requires.

Finally, ladies, if you feel a man is telling you those magic words a bit prematurely, feel very free to say something like, “That’s great. Now prove it.” Because that’s where the rubber hits the road, eh? If you truly love someone, you’re going to do something about it.

Photo credits: Google photos

 

Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

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Life can be challenging at times. Dr. Scott Peck, the famous Psychiatrist once said, “Life is hard and then you die.” That statement seems so pessimistic. His point was, however, that if we expect life to be anything else, we will be sorely disappointed.

And, even though I know Dr. Peck’s statement is true, I do not believe we can live our lives based solely on that premise. It is my belief that our personal attitude towards life’s situations is really the only thing that makes any difference. If we look at situations with a defeated, negative attitude, we will eventually give up and quit. However, if we focus on treating life like a marathon rather than a sprint and we keep a positive outlook in the process, we will be victorious in the end.

Recently, I came across a poem that sums up what I am trying to say. I believe these words will make a difference in your work and relationships if you put them into practice.

Don’t Quit!
(author unknown)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When the care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is weird with its twists and its turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won, had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

The distant goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit!

Why not put the truth found in this poem into practice? Your biggest success may be just around the next corner. But, you will never know if you throw in the towel.

Learn to let your challenges bring you to a whole new level. Anything great in life always comes with a high price tag. With that in mind, get back to your next project and see it through to the end!

Photo credits: Google.com

We really don’t need that much in life to be happy

 

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We really don’t need that much in life to be happy.

This may be counter to what we are sold by the advertising masses. However, the truth is there are literally millions around the world that are living pretty happy and contented lives with little in the way of physical possessions.

Many of these people may have enforced constraints. These could include a lack of well-paid employment options or families abroad they themselves work and send money to.

However, some have also identified their own version of enough and live contentedly within self-made constraints. Working just enough to cover their needs and then making time for family, friends and adventures.

Whatever the case, these people live a life filled with less stuff. It can be done.

The Problem with Chasing More
The danger in chasing more and more is that it’s never enough. Just a little more money and we’ll be happy we tell ourselves. A new car on loan will make us more complete we kid ourselves. Keeping up with keeping up is a path to ruin.

More stuff can mean our lives become cluttered. We lose freedom, we lose agility. We can start to feel stifled and even trapped by all this stuff.

Packing Lightly
Beyond our most basic needs of food, water, shelter, health, family and friends, how much more do we really need to be happy?

There are plenty of other things that can add value to our lives. Books, music, a creative outlet and so on. None of this needs to turn into large houses full of stuff we rarely use. None of this needs to turn into large debt that we never escape.

We can decide to pack lightly for life’s journey instead.

Just enough of our most cherished possessions can outweigh an abundance of stuff we collect but never really get much value from.

Having one TV in a home can be enough, rather than one in each room.

Having a closet with 30 items in that we constantly wear and use, rather than 100s of items that take up space but rarely see the light of day.

Instead of chasing more stuff we can make space for more living. We can make space for passion projects and hobbies that are important to us. We can make room for more quality time with our loved ones. This is the sort of more we should be chasing.

We can decide to live lightly. Making the most of what we have, not focused on what we don’t have. As we journey through life, we can decide that travelling with enough is all we really need and live accordingly. 

Photo credits: Google photos

CONTRARY TO POPULAR NOTIONS: My Personal Views on Widely-accepted Relationship “TRUTHS”

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FOREWORD: This is the second installment of my aim to share my personal views on some areas pertaining to Love. Should you happen to like this post after reading it, you may also would want to read later on about my initial post published here seven days ago entitled, “Love Isn’t Always the Answer”.  Further, the views and opinions expressed here are all personal and non-assertive or indicative in any way. Furthermore, I tried to keep my views simple as possible despite the complexities of the “relationship truths” presented herein. Be that as it may, I wish you good and happy reading!

Let’s begin…

Love conquers all.

To put it simply, love does NOT conquer all. All is a lot. It’s literally everything. To say that love conquers all is hyperbolic and misleading. It’s also a dangerous belief to hold onto because it engenders a kind of hopeful laziness. People who cling to the notion that everything will work out as long as they love their significant other tend to overlook the reality that maintaining a strong, loving relationship takes a lot of hard work. You can’t just count on your love to shield you from all the ups and downs you’ll face as a couple.

To say that love conquers all is hyperbolic and misleading.

All you need is love.

To state the obvious, you definitely need food, shelter, oxygen and water — all requirements of living and breathing that are not love. Beyond that, you also probably need some sense of personal fulfillment outside of your romantic relationship. Maybe your career brings you happiness, or you’re passionate about a certain hobby. Whatever the case, it’s wise not to rely entirely on love to reach inner peace. You’re way too complex to need just one thing.

True love is unconditional.

Nope. Sorry. Some couples fall madly in love and then, unexpectedly, fall out of love. When people separate, it isn’t because the love that once existed between them wasn’t true. A breakup doesn’t render a former love suddenly meaningless, but it does signify that it was conditional on some factors that happened to shift — a phenomenon we’re all susceptible to simply because so many things are beyond our control. True love is definitely conditional — on timing, careers, health, desires, sudden changes and so much more.

When it’s right, you’ll know it.

You actually might have no idea you’ve hit the romantic jackpot on your first, second, third or one-hundredth date. Yes, some couples fall in love at first sight. But others aren’t as quick to figure things out, and that’s okay. Love that grows over time isn’t any less real or worthy of note than the kind that sprouts between two people within seconds of meeting. Don’t expect to know in your gut that something’s right from the start. If you rule out every person you don’t feel a spark with automatically, you’ll end up dismissing some good candidates. Sometimes, you have to give things time. Love can blossom when you least expect it to and you might not know it when you see it.

With the right person, everything will be easy.

It’s never easy. Actually, it’s pretty easy in the way beginning, when you’re so love drunk that you let things slide and all you want to do is stare at each other with your googly eyes and make passionate love. But let’s get real. That lustful stage doesn’t last for anyone. There are many wonderful things to look forward to once the passion-blindness fades — comfort, for instance, and a bottomless reserve of inside jokes and treasured memories — but staying together isn’t easy. The right relationship will be worth the effort you have to put into it. Just don’t expect it to be a breeze, no matter how obsessed with each other you are.

The right relationship will be worth the effort you have to put into it.

Never settle for anyone other than “the one.”

Especially for the ladies, please, I beg of you: settle! Fate isn’t a matchmaker, so don’t count on it to guide you towards that one special person. There are a lot of people you’re capable of building a life with. You just have to find one of those people. But don’t expect any of them to be perfectly suited to you. Plan to settle in some ways — for someone slightly less wealthy or handsome or flexible or handy around the house than you’d hoped for. There’s nothing shameful about adjusting your expectations to align with reality, but there is something kind of sad about a person who waits around for a fairytale ending that isn’t scripted.

Timing is everything.

Timing is definitely something, but it isn’t everything. Because when it comes to love, nothing is everything. The path each couple takes is informed by countless competing factors. Every togetherness is a complex narrative and while some might be marked by a major theme, such as timing, there are always critical subplots and unprecedented twists to consider too.

People don’t change.

They do! They definitely do! This can work out for the better of your relationship, or it can be your relationship’s undoing. Regardless, people definitely change over the years, and if you can’t find a way to evolve together, it’s probably advisable to go your separate ways.

True love is all that matters.

Let’s not be ridiculous. There is so much else in life that matters. So many world issues have absolutely nothing to do with love. However much you hate politics or sports or mathematics, those things matter. The drudgery of day-to-day domestic life matters, too. Basically, everything matters, including love.

P.S.: That would be all for now. If you have any thoughts about the notions presented, please feel free to express them in the comments below.

Photo credits: Google photos/teamsquatchinusa.com

 

Love Isn’t Always the Answer

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FOREWORD: Today begins the month of love again. In view of the occasion, I shall be writing about the said subject  matter this month of February. Here’s the first installment from (hopefully) the few areas/topics about Love which I’m planning to write about. If you liked/loved this article, or have  some related opinions to express, please feel free to leave your comments below.

LOVE ISN’T ALWAYS THE ANSWER.

I get why everyone wants love. Why we all expend so much time, energy, effort and money on dating and attracting a mate. Why we all dream of Happily Ever After. Why girls shriek upon news of a friend’s engagement, and cry at almost every wedding. Why people gossip about breakups and in places where its legal, stigmatize divorce, as if splitting up were the most tragic thing that could happen to two people. Why we shun relationship realities and hide behind hashtag proclamations about how proud we are of our significant others.

Love is a wonderful drug. It can be truly amazing to find it, and give in to it — to soak in its enigmatic powers and revel in the feeling that this. Is. It. To feel as if you’ve finally unlocked the secret to happiness. That you’ve discovered purpose in a potential life partner.

We all want a partner. Someone to lean on for support. Someone to count on as a permanent plus-one. Someone to vent to. Someone to celebrate achievements with, big and small. Someone to make love with.

But love isn’t the answer to all things. And it can’t fix your life.

It can’t. It might make things better, especially in the beginning, when you first find that person you’re pretty sure you can do forever with. Early love really does have a way of making the whole world look a hell of a lot brighter. When you’re smitten, annoying tasks suddenly don’t seem like such a pain in the ass. Pleasant activities somehow become yet more rewarding.

But infatuation doesn’t last, not even for the most love drunk people on the planet. We know this. And yet, we forget it again and again. Lust eventually dissipates. When it does, it’s replaced by comfort, shared experiences and more and more treasured memories. Also, fighting, jealousy, temptation, doubts and relationship fatigue.

Lasting love is certainly possible, but not if you expect love to do all the work for you. And not if you refuse to understand love’s limits.

Love doesn’t transform your entire reality. It doesn’t make you a different person, solve all your problems, or erase your past mistakes. If anything, it creates additional struggles. Love isn’t always pretty. It can be downright ugly. It isn’t a Band-Aid for emotional despair. In fact, it wreaks havoc on people’s psyches in a lot of cases. It isn’t a reason to live. Actually, it can drive people to kill. Crimes of passion are a real thing. Love breeds kindness and passion and beauty. But it also breeds nastiness, darkness and even hate.

We all want love, and we all deserve it. But you shouldn’t expect your entire world to change magically as soon as you find it.

We want love to be greater than it is. We want it to be this transcendent force that unites us as human beings, even as it tears us apart. We want it to make life worth living. We want it to heal our pain. We want it to imbue our existence with meaning. But the truth is, you have to do all of that for yourself.

We all want love, and we all deserve it. But you shouldn’t expect your entire world to change magically as soon as you find it. Yes, certain aspects of life are immediately “awesomer” once you find a perpetual partner in crime. But love isn’t always the answer. Often, the answer is simply hard work. Or introspection and personal growth. Sometimes, the answer is good-bye. Sometimes, it’s just plain no.

The life you lead is determined by the sum of the choices you make. Some of those choices relate to the people you decide to love. But so many others have nothing to do with love at all.

Don’t live for love. If you expect it to fulfill you, or pressure the people you love to make you feel whole, you’ll end up gravely disappointed, and, most likely, alone. Love is wonderful, but it isn’t everything. Fiction’s greatest love stories are literally unbelievable. The greatest love songs are inspired, but reductive.

Love is not all you need. You have other needs, and only you can see to it that all of those needs are met. So look inside yourself and figure out what you want out of life. Then commit as much time, energy, effort and financial resources to making that other stuff happen as well.

By all means, find someone to love. Just don’t forget to find yourself at some point, too.

Continue to Live and Love in BIG WAYS in your current world.

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With age comes the choice of moral responsibility.

How do you want to live your life? What will make you happy? How do you want to be treated? What do you want to leave behind? These were the questions I grew up with. They are phrased and asked in such a simplistic way that simple answers like “I want to take walks after dinner with my wife” or “I want everyone to have equal rights and opportunities” feel pretty logical. The fact that it’s not that easy is my reminder that it’s okay not to have answers to questions that don’t quite fit.

The main question I have been asking myself lately is, what choice do you want to make? Each day, each hour, we have choices to make. What to wear, what to say, where to go, who to meet, and what to dedicate our time to. It’s a constant puzzle of making a choice, finding out if it feels good or bad, then choosing again. Sometimes it really comes together, and other times nothing quite fits correctly. The reminder to take a step back, re-examine the puzzle, and try again is all we can do.

Whether you’re figuring out the best method to get every member of the family work harmoniously together, the next strategy in enjoining camaraderie in the workplace, how to pay for dinner tonight, or what your city/local council really does, etc., they are all choices. It can feel overwhelming to digest them all at once. Much like the brain hole that is social media, we are constantly scrolling through a list of self-reflections while literally scrolling through snippets of horrific news, filtered photos, and a constant stream of culture, history and events. And with every choice comes a million more choices.

That’s not the scary part. This is: The part where I have to make choices, for myself. Do I allow myself to turn my brain off and watch a movie whose sole purpose is to entertain me? Do I take a different commute to work without a book or headphones and engage with strangers? What social justice organization do I want to learn more about and donate to? Can I really afford that? Is it normal to not want to talk to anyone all day? What should I wear to the party? How much news can I absorb and still get up and fight whatever powers there’d be that are deemed responsible?

I certainly don’t have the right answers, because there may not be just one. I can confidently say I want to choose to do more, learn more, love more, lead more, inspire more and engage more. I want to stand up to and break down inequality and injustice. I want to woo the love of my life and fall in love with her all over again. I want to adore my job and feel pride in what I create. I want to go camping and dive from a cliff and ride in a helicopter and go to rallies and get a cat and learn guitar and do something that made someone’s day a little better, so on and so forth. I want to do it all. Yet I want to feel comfortable knowing the fact that I CAN’T DO IT ALL.

Learning that I can’t fix everything feels like life’s cruelest lesson. I CAN’T single-handedly end the culture of abuse and injustice. I CAN, however, make choices that educate others on consent and upholding pride and dignity in every individual. I CAN’T fix a friend’s broken heart. But I CAN bring them a bottle of wine and listen. I CAN’T expect others to help me with my choices. Yet, I CAN surround myself with people who respect my choices and learn with me.

Maybe, despite my age, I haven’t figured out how to truly be an adult, but I am slowly getting better at feeling ok with not knowing. And while I have been told I should be better at asking for help, I don’t think it is help I am looking for. How do you even begin to ask for help when people are struggling to sustain their daily lives? How do you complain about debt when you live in a world full of violence and injustice? The “help” is reading about a scholarship a student just received. Or seeing my family or friends huddled in a room sharing funny stories. It’s getting daily emails of positive ways to lift up an organization, or organizing a local fundraiser. What helps me make good choices is seeing the good choices of those around me and those who inspire the hell out of me. It’s seeing how choices affect others and learning how to make better ones in the future.

What helps is stepping back from the puzzle and taking it one piece at a time.

So maybe that’s it. Maybe it took me nearly 1,000 words to say that life has thus far taught me one critical lesson: In every turn, make better choices.

Photo credits: Google photos