Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Things That Matter

As you all may or may not know, things are changing for me. In the past 6 months, I've graduated from the UW, held dodwn 2 jobs and took 37 credits of post-bach paralegal courses. I've been to Iowa and back, gone on a lot of dates with a lot of awesome guys, and I temporarily moved back in with my parents. 2 of my friends have left on missions, and almost 2 are returning. I got my car broken into right before finals week, and I'm coordinating my move down to California on July 7.

I will admit, I have not been doing the things I know I should be doing consistently, and I have definitely engaged in activities that I know are never acceptable. However, that doesn't disqualify me from being able to think reasonably. Today, I was thinking about things in life that really, honestly, matter.

I don't think anyone will dispute that family matters. Family matters the most. The stability (such a vague term..) and happiness of your family should be everyone's number one concern. Hand in hand with this is religious beliefs. Whatever religion is yours, make sure that you practice it consistently, and that it 1- brings you closer to God, and 2-brings your family closer together.

Family is a given. I want to address everything else that matters. I used to think that only family and religion mattered. I have come to realize that families are enriched by experiences that happen both within the family and outside the family. Surely, people are not influenced by only their family and church. Some of these influences include friends and education. This is what I'd like to address.

Somewhere, at some point in time, someone or something made me think that friends were dispensible because they weren't completely dependable. Friends come and go, so why put a lot of effort into building friendships? Just have a couple good friends that you can count on--that's all I could expect out of them.

That is completely false life-doctrine! Friends rock! I have had so many awesome friends, I don't know why I ever thought that they didn't matter in life. As far as i am concerned, my happiness outside the family is contingent upon how many rich relationships I have with my friends. And I am so very thankful for every friend that I have, no matter what the relationship is.

Another thing that really matters in life is education. But I'm not talking degrees, or certificates, awards, honors, or academic prestige. I'm talking about real learning experiences. I think everyone should go to college. I don't care what college it is, pick one and go to it. It doesn't even matter too much if you get a degree, or what degree you get. Just have the experience of meeting new friends, doing things you can only do at a school, networking, et cetera. Have the experience of getting an A. Have the experience of getting an F. And if you do manage to graduate, realize that your degree basically means nothing. Having BA, BS, MA, MS, JD or PhD on your diploma will not get you a job. YOU will get yourself a job because of what you have chosen to do with your life, both inside and outside of school. Sure, these initials are important, but they are only important because a lot of people have gone out of their way to stand up and make it important. Go out of your way and prove that you are worth something, even without the intitials. School may not be for you, but education and experience is.

One last thing on my short list of things that matter is belief. I like politics because it categorizes everything that's wrong with the world. I am conservative because I believe freedom is greater than equality, unlike liberals who believe opposite. Both liberals and conservatives need to viciously defend what they believe in, or else good ideas will cease to exist. Going along with this, my friend Isaac sent me a quote by John Stuart Mill:

"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

So whatever you believe regarding anything like politics, religion, pudding, food, tv shows...be passionate about it. Passion matters.

Recap: Things that matter-
Family, friends, education, passion.

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