Saturday, December 28, 2002

Season for lists

Stuff I learned this year
a list for the season of lists

1) I belong in Atlanta.

2) Interpersonal relationships are the most important thing in life. Yes, your friends are more important than your career; in fact,you are more likely to have a successful career because of friendships rather than hard work.

3) The cycle of poverty is much more difficult to break than most people suspect.

4) Success is a tricky word. I used to think success meant financial stability. After this year, I think success means just getting to live your life the way you want. In this light, a homeless junkie is just as successful as Bill Gates. So success isn't so important to me any more - I would never live like Bill Gates.

5) The idea that higher education leads to more money is a myth. The truth is, the statistic that says you will earn more over your lifetime if you have a degree is a flawed statistic. The results are skewed because it has always been that traditionally, people who could afford college started out with more money than the rest of us, and that's really why they'll earn more over their lifetimes. Sure, education can give you a little leg up - but not to the great heights we've been told. This myth of more money earning power is sold to us by university business offices, which are out to make more money for the university.

5a) The pursuit of education for the love of learning is a noble cause. The only reason anyone should go to school after age 16 is to pursue knowledge you can only get at school, like how to deal with asshole professors or how to live off ramen noodles and hummus. These really are life skills - I'm not being snarky!

6) Tea time with friends is a most pleasant thing. Whatever I'm doing, I'd almost always rather be somewhere drinking something hot, eating dessert, and talking to someone I love.

7) The empire is falling, but that's OK; once Rome fell, the Romans didn't dissapear. They just became Italians.

7a) I believe in WW3. I used to think this was nuts, now I wonder if it hasn't all ready started.

8) Family therapy is a very helpful thing, even if you have to go all by yourself.

9) It's just as wrong to make a child your goal in life as it is to make a husband your goal in life. Other people are not your goals to be reached. I still want children of my own, but I'm a lot less rushed and under the gun about it. Yeah, I'm getting older, and yes, I'd really like to be pregnant one day (as I've always said, as soon as I'm not so damned poor). But once I realized the inherent vice of making another human being a goal to be attained, I realized I had to shift my naturally ambitious nature to quest for a more appropriate goal than motherhood of someone who had no say in the matter.

10) I want a house more than anything else in the world. I want a house by the time I'm 30. Ambitious, I know, but what did you expect after number 9?

11) Hello, my name is Elizabeth, and I only date men if there's no possible way I could ever be entirely happy with them.

11a) Just because I recognize a negative pattern doesn't mean I have any plans to change my behavior right away. In fact, I have no idea how to stop this behavior, or even if I should make an effort to correct what most people would regard as a serious problem.

12) It's really important that I make a stable place for my teen age sister to crash land when she needs to.

13) I'm incredibly glad my family here in Atlanta has given me this opportunity to learn from them. I learn so much every single day from Audrey, Jamie, Colin, Laura, Doug, Ellie and Ruel, the Nortons, the Gordons, the Naspinskis, and all the other people I come into contact with. It's pretty amazing, and I hope one day I can make them understand how important all this has been to me. I missed out on these lessons of family behavior for a lot of reasons, and I can't believe how long I lived not knowing some of the incredibly subtle interactions that have to occur in order for a family and society to run smoothly.

13a) I'd never have just one kid. I understand my parents didn't have a lot of money, but wow - it's so important to have siblings, and an extended family network. I got my sisters late enough to have a very different relationship with them than most people have with their siblings.

13b) When I say family network, I'd like people to note I'm not actually related to many of the people listed in 12. A family network can totally consist of a lot of people who come together to support one another.

13c) So I really do consider my family not just to be my mom, dad, and sisters in Nashville, but most of the people who were at my graduation party in Murfreesboro, or my birthday party in Morristown. Sure, some of the relationships are more distant than others, but let's face it - we all network and support each other to an incredible degree.

14) Because we support each other, we rock.

happy New Year. The next one just has to be better than the one before it.

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