Hindsight is a funny thing. I heard a quote somewhere that said “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” It’s a quote that has always intrigued me, and in my experience, I’ve found it to be so incessantly true. Have you ever looked back? Maybe at a moment in time when you felt something that you thought was going to change your life? Or on a moment that you didn’t think ever could, but did?
Have you ever regretted something you said, or even something you didn’t? Have you ever wondered, What If I’d just done that? or It could have been so different if they just said this? I’ve had a lot of those moments, as I’m sure everyone has; but I don’t think I’ve ever felt the enormity of one of these realizations like I do this one.
What I’ve learned from hindsight is that I don’t know anything at all. I’m young. We’re young. And despite the fact that we think we have it all figured out, we don’t. It’s a hard concept to grasp, right? Especially when we think we’ve seen it all. I don’t want to necessarily speak for anyone else, but I know that like a lot of other college students, I’ve made some pretty dumb decisions. I’ve ignored good advice from people more experienced than me and I’ve done things selfishly simply on the grounds that I could. But you know what? I learned from that. I learned that I’ve made mistakes, and that I have flaws. I learned that I am human. And knowing that, or realizing that actually, has made me a better person.
I’ve come to recognize humility as one of the most important character traits that a person can possess. If you have the ability to become acquainted with your imperfections, rather than run from them, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You’ll even learn a lot about your peers. To me, humility means knowing that it’s okay to ask for help. That it’s okay to admit when you’re wrong, but it’s also okay to fight for what you believe in. It’s okay to be different, and, most importantly, it’s okay to be young and stupid.
Every decision you make has a consequence, and with every consequence comes a lesson. These lessons make us who we are. They shape our personalities and provide us with the experience that will eventually make us old and wise. Because the scary thing is, pretty soon, we’ll be the ones giving advice to our children, to our nieces and nephews, to our students; and pretty soon, they’ll be the ones ignoring us simply because they can. Enjoy the naivety while it lasts! But don’t take it for granted. Recognize that you are young, and that you will make mistakes. You are human, and that’s okay.
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