Disclaimer 2: I put the learned in quotation marks because getting an education is distinct from, yet often confused for, putting it into practice. Because knowing something to be true is not a guaranteed precursor to living life as if it were. But it helps, somewhat. Essentially what I'm saying is that I've learned these things previously, many times over but often behave in direct contradiction to these lessons. I think they call that "living".
ANYYYYYWAY here's a list of things you probably already knew or didn't need to:
1. Trying to be the cool girl in a relationship is not beneficial to anyone. The cool girl, who is too proud to care, too secure to be bothered, too busy looking like whatever, such is life, either way, that's cool. The girl that is unruffled and aloof - that girl is not me. I am not the cool girl, I was never the cool girl. Small things can hurt my oversensitive self immensely and I have never had a poker face. It has injured my pride no small amount to discover I am in fact the girl that can be irrational, insecure and quite frankly embarrassing. That's okay though because being the cool girl is overrated. What's cool about not caring enough to be hurt?
2. God I love to read books. How did I forget this essential part of my life? Somehow I got caught up with articles, so abundant, so accessible. Fiction, non-fiction, contemporary, 18th-century, historical analysis, memoir, collections of essays, diaries. Give me nothing but books and a comfy couch and quietly close the door behind you.
3. Be my friend if you want to talk about books and their ideas. I want to discuss everything. This is not so much a lesson as a demand.
4. You can be discontent in so many beautiful places. It does not matter what waterfall you are under or what famed city the bus is taking you, your mental state will follow you there. It's true that perhaps a place can momentarily remind you of the wonder and beauty of life, or that living there can show you some alternate way of living and/or looking at life but places do not fix much. You were unhappy somewhere else, and now you can be unhappy here too. The common denominator is you.
5. I have become more discriminatory about what I get enthusiastic about. Everything used to excite me, now only some things do. It's probably not healthy to maintain that level of energy about every party, every person, every conversation. I am unable to muster the adequate smiles and wide eyes necessary for long recounts of stories that sound the same with people I no longer know very well. My ever shrinking batteries can only give out so much.
6. Despite my natural disposition towards extreme emotion I am learning (very often failing) the art of polite disagreement. The importance of this ability has never been so plain as when I landed myself in a relationship. It's okay, even encouraged, to scream at your friends over dinner and wine. Less so with the person who you supposedly love and respect. This has allowed me to refrain from yelling abuse at my laptop as I furiously type rebuttals to bigoted facebook updates (yes, I am one of those people). It's also, like, allowed me to admit when I am, on the odd occasion, wrong*.
That's about it.
Of course there are things I've learned that haven't made it to that list, mostly to do with learning what style of life I can lead and what standards of hygiene can be adjusted when one lives in a country that is poor in money and rich in culture. Things that have confirmed the direction I've taken in my 'career' and what values I want that to reflect. Other things I've learned have to do with being in a long-term relationship (like, that they have to
*my boyfriend may disagree