Rites of Passage

11 May

   Here are some things you should do at some point in your youth to make you a better, more well rounded person.  Some of these are pretty general, and some, obviously are quite subjective- but if you take care of most or all of this checklist you should at minimum be a fairly interesting person, somewhat cultured, and definitely well rounded.  And being well rounded is something that I don’t think enough people are these days. But those who are make for more interesting friends, lovers- as well as people who are survivors and can adapt and overcome most any obstacles thrown their way.  These are good people to be, and good people to be around.

º Be poor for a while.

            Maybe even just for a summer or so, but wow the things you will learn.  Most importantly, you of course will learn the value of money. And that is something that learning the hard way ensures you wont forget the lesson. When your resources are cut so short, you become the most creative and innovative person. You will come up with schemes and ideas you never though yourself capable of imagining. Not to mention the countless stories and adventures you will undoubtedly be able to share.

            My friend and I rented a room in a frat house one summer.  She was spending all of her earnings from work on a car, and after a day of working at the campus bookstore- I quit.  So there we were, dirt poor.  Its really sad when your so committed to laziness that you are willing to forego eating for lack of money.  So- we got creative.  One learns really quickly how to mooch off of others; to take advantage of coupons and deals; and how to eat packets of Del Scorcho as a lunch replacement.  When we did manage to scrape up a couple of dollars, (and I mean scrape like find it on the ground, in the couch, and even better the lesser known goldmine- other people’s couches­-) we could go to the store. 

   That summer I became acquainted with the 99¢ Store which, at the time, was still pretty pricey.  One must make calculated decisions of course. Cant just take that six dollars to the 99¢ Store and go nuts ya know.  Besides finding deals like a six pack of Tampico juice, which really I think was some sort of colored sugar-water, my roommate once went too far.  She returned from the 99¢ Store with a 7 pound can of refried beans.  She then went ahead and lived off of this can for the next week.  She had stuffed the contents into two plastic Ziploc bags and kept those beans in our mini-fridge. Everyday she would come home from work, and as she opened the mini fridge a fume of old refried beans would escape and fill the room. It was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen.

            Anyway, we had many adventures and learned how to bootleg, grift, and mooch just about everything from food, to alcohol, to gasoline for the car.  If one were to take those lessons in thriftiness and how to get by on so little with them, even on a small scale, it could save you a ton of money in the future.  This lesson in poverty of course, will also teach you to value what you do have, and have empathy and a better understanding of those who are less fortunate.

º Date someone totally opposite of your type.

            You never really know what you may like until you’ve allowed yourself to experience something different.  At best, you will have your eyes opened and realize something is out there that you never knew existed. At worst, your sense of taste in the opposite sex is affirmed and maybe you have a good story or two.  At minimum, it will force you to be open minded, at least momentarily, and expose yourself to things, people, and experiences that you would likely not have gotten a glimpse of otherwise.

            It is just a good practice to avoid surrounding yourself with people who are merely clones or versions of yourself.  You will lose out on all kinds of other takes on life if you limit yourself to one lifestyle and view of the world.  Experience is priceless. And the more you can get, and the more diverse that experience is the better a person you will be for it.  Understanding and being able to see value in things and ideas which may be foreign to you is part of what makes a person cultured and well rounded. You will be more knowledgeable and interesting as well.

   For allowing yourself to open up and appreciate other walks of life, will give you a greater appreciated for what you have, as well as a better understanding of human nature and the plights we all face.

…I’ll be adding to this list of course, but it’s a start

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