Once you make the ascent, you have to keep going. If you’re fortunate, you’ll be able to see another mountain in the distance. This will remind you that the journey doesn’t end once you’ve reached the peak. Enjoy your moment on the peak, then keep going. After the ascent, there will be the descent, then maybe some time in the valley, or swimming in a river before you start climbing your next mountain.
There are multiple ways to solve a problem. For example, you don’t need a tissue to blow your nose. Shooting a snot rocket works just as well. The good thing about snot rockets? You can shoot them anywhere outside. And if you’re in the right place, nobody will judge you. You may have a little trouble at first, and you may end up with snot running down your face, but keep practicing. The art of shooting a snot rocket is a good thing to add to your skill set. And hey, because you don’t need a tissue, it’s one small way to be friendly to the environment!
Sometimes humility finds you when you’re not looking for it. Like when you come down with not one, but two viruses and you’re lying in a pool of your own waste in a hospital bed. Having your colleagues see you like this may be the only way to get a change of clothes for when you can finally leave the hospital. Let it happen. J.M. Barrie once said, “Life is a long lesson in humility.” Shitting yourself and letting others see is one of the shortcuts.
The human spirit is endlessly creative. For a child, anything can be a toy. Have an old bicycle tire and a stick lying around? You can use them to play. All you need to do is start rolling the tire down the road, and use the stick to keep it rolling for as long as possible. You can see examples of this in art, too. I’ve seen beautiful creations made from a collection of bottle caps, for example. I bet if you look around, wherever you are, you will see objects that can be used for something other than what they were intended for. Again, this is another way to care for the environment. Reusing!
Your ability to adapt / survive is far greater than you might think. Think you can’t survive without air-conditioning in the desert? Think again. You will quickly discover ways to cope with the heat. You will learn more about things like air-flow, clothing fabric, and how to lay a soaking wet towel over your body while the fan blows on you. You may even develop a greater sense of humor as you contemplate your daily swamp-ass, and all the different types of sweating you do.
Learning about others you’re unfamiliar with is essential. It will broaden your perspective and strengthen your ability to emphathize. Like goats, for example. I bet when you think about pets, you think a nice dog or cat or guinea pig would be good. But did you ever consider getting a goat? Sure, they may be raised by people for dairy or meat purposes, but they also have fantastic personalities and get along well with humans.
Humor may be the key to life. When I lived in South Sudan, I learned a lot about resilience. I got to know people who had been dealing with war their whole lives. You know what stood out to me? They had the remarkable ability to keep a sense of humor, even when times were hard. Life is never hopeless. Learning how to laugh when it seems so, might be the key. It’s like Kurt Vonnegut said: “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”
Things aren’t always as they seem in the media. A friend of mine once said, “When people think of South Sudan, they think no life goes on here; only war.” I’ll never forget those words. I think she wanted me to relay the message. What you see on the news isn’t the whole story. People in faraway places are living life in all its complexity, just like you and me.
The light is always greater than the darkness. One of my favorite verses, John 1:5 says, “The light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.” (The Message) It’s because of suffering we can see beauty so clearly. It’s because of the darkness, we can see the light shining so brilliantly. Ever stay the night in a place with zero electricity? If you ever do, and if you’re fortunate enough to have clear skies, check out the stars. The way they shine against the deep, dark night-sky will give you perspective and hope.
It doesn’t take much to have fun. For example, moon and starlight make for a fine disco ball. Add some fire and drums and you’ve got a real celebration. Dancing doesn’t have to be an elaborate thing involving a big room, subwoofers, and all kinds of crazy artificial lights. You can dance anywhere, anytime. Try building a fire and dancing under the stars at least once. It will tickle you silly.
Lindsay Linegar is a writer living in her home state, California. Her educational background is in International Development (MA), Psychology (BA), and she has significant experience working as a creativity coach. She currently finds herself thrilled to be a dog walker and yoga student as she works on her first book, based on her three-year adventure in South Sudan. She loves making meaningful connections with humans, wondering at nature, doodling, listening to good music, and more than anything, dancing. You can reach her through email at email@example.com