Life=Mankind 101

Life. Let’s break it down.

Life (yours specifically) can be broken into smaller stories in several different ways. First, you were an infant. Then, you became a toddler. After that, I’ll bet you probably became a child. At some point, childhood drifted away and you moved up in graduating class at Life University. Eventually, you become a teenager, and this is where we run into some problems. Some grow out of that, and some don’t. Some people seem to drop out of life around this age, while others seem to keep trying, but in some areas they lag behind and never reach the next set of courses. In each set of divisions, we begin to see more and more “break-downs” of humanity. We don’t just have children in the world. We have children that are healthy, some that aren’t, some are girls, and some are boys, but the point here is that each human being is tasked with the lessons and experiences that were specifically designed (in this writer’s opinion) for them.

Understanding the goal.

When you enter high school or college, there is one goal. Graduation. The thing we forget sometimes is that we didn’t just graduate from a high school or university. Before that, some of us graduated from preschool. Then, we finished elementary school. Middle school was next, and this is where most of the people I know were introduced to the idea of graduation or commencement. Some lucky people were graduated in formal ceremonies from preschool and beyond, but this is a practice that was rare until recently (as standards for preschoolers entering kindergarten were raised, a celebration of their achievement was introduced). Unfortunately, we tend to forget that regardless of the number of degrees you hold from Life University, we’re all studying for the final exams, the final degree…Ph.D in Death.

Live to learn, learn to live.

If we focus our attention on our studies, we’ll be able to look back over our various degrees when we finally stand at the front of the class to accept our Ph.D in Death and be proud of all that we accomplished. There will be no mourning the loss of time and attention, we won’t wonder if we might have been something greater and we certainly won’t care about the mistakes we made during “class” or the exams we failed. It won’t matter that you didn’t learn how to fold a fitted sheet, and nobody will care that you never learned how to speak another language. It won’t matter one bit if you didn’t make it all the way to Paris, and nobody will contest your right to the Ph.D in Death just because you didn’t vote Republican in that one election. Your choices don’t make you who you are, contrary to popular belief. Your reaction to life is what makes you who you are, and if you aren’t learning something from the coursework of your life, then you might be facing regrets later on, and making the rest of your coursework more difficult.

How to earn extra credit.

The easiest way to earn extra credit at Life University is to study individuals while you study Humanity 101. We all have to learn about humans. We learn that some are wonderful, some are terrible, some love power, some love people, some don’t care about anyone but themselves, and the list goes on and on. There are more than seven billion distinct individuals in this world, all with a different set of challenges to complete before they graduate to the next level in life. Pick one. Help them achieve the next goal. Help them study, and watch them graduate to the next set of courses. Don’t do anything that would hinder their progress. Offer help when you can, encouragement when it’s needed, and don’t forget to ask lots of questions. Asking questions is how we all learn. Also, remember that just because someone asks you a question, it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to answer. However, our overall goal is to learn, and helping others do that by being a study buddy is the best way to earn extra credit. It won’t help you get that Ph.D sooner (but really…who wants it soon?) and it won’t make you better than anyone else, but it’s an extra lesson. It’s more learning. It’s more experience to enhance all those degrees you’re carrying around. What’s the point in having a degree in fishing if you never have a fish fry with your friends? Why earn that degree in sewing if you hide that sewing machine and never make a blanket for a baby in need? Be intentional about being in people’s lives, and you will be exercising the skills you have while building a new skill set. Not to mention you’ll make some friends along the way, and your mutual studies will help both of you in the end. In other words, be a teacher and a student. We’ll all get further that way.

Humanity 101 and you.

Be aware of what your story (your life, choices, reactions, etc) teaches. At the end of the day, people are learning something from you. Whether they learn how to overcome or how to fail at life is entirely up to you. Pay close attention to what you say, do, think, feel, and how you behave in every situation. Learn to deal with your emotions in the appropriate ways, and learn how to use your struggles to strengthen yourself and others. When you make mistakes, learn how to share those as well, because sometimes the easiest lessons we learn are the ones we learn from other people’s mistakes. For example, I watched my father struggle through drug addiction. This persisted through my entire life. I learned early that I didn’t want that. I bypassed the practical exam, and took the written test instead. However, I am pleased to add that my father is now clean and sober. He’s healed, after years of abuse…because someone shared their story. Someone helped him finish that course in Life University. He put in the hard work to complete it. [Congratulations, Daddy. I’ve always been proud of you, but now I have proof that my dad is a rockstar…because he beat addiction’s butt.]

Life will go on.

As you journey from one class to the next, from one set of trials and tests to another, just remember that your “grade” doesn’t matter. What matters most is what you took from the lesson. Did you learn something? Did you help someone else learn something? Do you know now the things you need to work on so you can accomplish that goal and graduate that class the next time your cosmic teacher (in my case…God) hands you another pop quiz? Keep learning. Keep living. Don’t give up. If you miss a lesson now, it could hurt you later (think of trying to do algebra if you had never learned to count). If you aren’t learning and growing…you are missing out and asking for trouble. Keep going forward, and grab a few hands along the way.



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