gratitude-a-thon day 477: learning it yourself is the only way to learn it

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Isn’t it funny that you can go through the dark woods and over the white capped river of learning the hard way, and nobody else will ever benefit from your journey, because everybody has to go through their own carnival ride walk themselves? Isn’t that just dumb? Doesn’t it seem like it would be good if we could help one another make life the teensy tinesy bit easier?

BUT NO.

I mean, isn’t that just fucked? Your kids will not learn anything from your experiences, in fact, you’ll be really lucky if they’ll even listen to you (they will be texting, of futzing around on their phones, or if they’re really bold, watching a movie while you’re trying to impart your hard won wisdom). They will not benefit from the kind of heartbreak that almost wrecked you, the class that gave you hives, the time you got fired, the smack down by a boss who made you wonder what kind of wild animal had raised him. You know why? Because they have to go through the same stuff solo, and until they do, your experiences will just be bad background music they can ignore.

I try to sneak in some of the hard won knowledge I’ve gathered in conversations with my kids, in hopes that they might be able to avoid some of the bumpy roads I took. They smirk, they roll their eyes, they just plain pretend I’m not talking. So, you know, it’s working out really well.

I listened every once in a while, when I was a kid. But the real wisdom passed down to me (for which I am eternally grateful), didn’t really penetrate until I was older and had already learned by trial and error. Just another part of the system that seems a little off. Bumped, bruised and scarred, we get it when we get it. And all that’s really important is that we do get it (not that you can pass it on to anybody, because you can’t). This thing, it’s a one man mission.

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