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school of hard knocks

what are some of the hard facts about life?

There is a list of such facts. It’s entries are unnumbered and countless.

Lately I have been fascinated by list-making. Certainly excluding any list of goals (goals rule), many a list lacks a degree of curation that is sometimes completely pivotal.

Life lists can appear to be poorly curated, cliche, tired, and thrown together. But I think a lot of life’s hard facts overlay some quite poignant morals.

The curt brevity of a life lived is obviously a hard fact. The interconnectivity of life and death is painfully gorgeous, and also scary as shit. It might be the toughest concept to associate with a silver lining. After all, it’s tough to find the beauty in the end. But I guess that’s in part what the season of autumn may contradict.

Autumn really is a gorgeous, beautiful, encompassing death. Quite the opposite of a spring awakening. Things freeze, leaving preserved corpses of wheat, grass, blooms. The soil is encased, fervently awaiting an opportunity to thaw.

I guess the only hole in this metaphor lies in that death allows no opportunity to thaw.

But maybe it does. Maybe life (as we have come to understand) thaws out in the after-life.

Another inevitability is the overwhelming unfairness life seems to rub in your face. People lose work, friends, physical and mental abilities, and faith. The seemingly insurmountable challenges life throws at us should not be sugar-coated. More often than not, the real difficulties fucking suck. It has to be hard to watch those close to you deal with such adversity. I’ve witnessed it first hand. Watching an able bodied friend, acclaimed for his athletic ability, reduced to near muscular non existence might have been the hardest fact faced in this short quarter century.

Each experience, standing alone or otherwise, contributes to a life lesson. That may be the part of a hard fact that is so often overlooked. Sure we all assume life will feed us lessons. Sometimes it force feeds them to us. But the importance of such lessons may not be the most evident.

Removing the emotionality and sentimentality of the hard facts is hard. But when we do, all that remains is the lesson. There is tremendous truth in the lesson. Focus on it. Learn it. Achieve whatever you can from it. Take it with you. It’s those lessons that promote growth in a truly organic, true way.

Summed up, life is hard. Really hard. Hard enough to damn near kill you. But focus on the lessons. Don’t ignore the pain and malice, but focus on learning and growth. Two themes that must be your guide. For all time. It’s essential that you take something from each hard lesson. If you don’t you’ll reach your end with less to show for it than you’d like.