An Old man, a Young Man and Life’s Greatest Lessons

We all have secretly desired to have a professor who invites his students over to his house for tea evenings and random talks. They inspire us to pursue our wildest dreams, appreciate our work, and make sure that we know they’re proud of us. They have all the traits we want our parents and peers to have in themselves.

Mitch Albom was lucky enough to find such a professor, however, after graduation, they lost contact with each other. When Albom visited him years later, his professor was suffering from a terminal illness. They re-kindle their relation and Mitch started visiting his professor every week on Tuesday. Over the course of many Tuesdays, they talked about important things in life and the professor shared his lifetime experience with his students. I found some of them worth sharing and they are listed below.

Culture

The culture we have doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves. Most of us are so lost that we couldn’t found the objective of life, so we are running all the time looking for it. We always think about our future, the next car, the next house, the next job, the next degree, and always worry to achieve our indecisive perception throughout our life. We keep running over useless things before making realistic goals. We put our values in the wrong things and it leads to very disillusioned lives that make us disturbed and restless.

You have to be strong enough that if the culture doesn’t work, reject it. Build your little sub-culture. It doesn’t mean you’ve to start defying every rule of your community. Don’t go around naked, driving through red lights, or ignore the basic rules. The trivial things, you can obey. But the important things to work on are about how you think, what you value and regard, these are always chosen by you. You can’t let anyone or any society determine those for you.

Expression                                                                

We are conditioned to perceive emotional expression as a sign of weakness. I believe that expressing your feelings, speaking your mind out, and letting yourself feel every emotion, positive or negative is brave, and that is what makes us human. One needs to be emotionally strong and confident about his perception of life. Think about it, how many times you wanted to say something but did not say because that might offend the other person or it will jeopardize your relationship with them. It could have gone well or could have turned out to be a complete disaster but you will never know. If your feelings and views about something can have a significant effect on your relationship then those things should be said at any cost. Every time you hold on to something, you lose a part of yourself, your identity. The only healthy way is to communicate and be open to the other person’s beliefs and emotions too.

Detachment

Learn to detach. Detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully.

Take any emotion – love for someone, or grief for a loved one, or fear and pain from a life-threatening illness. If you hold back on the emotions, if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them, you can never get detached to it, it is because you are too busy being afraid of it. You are afraid of the pain, you are afraid of the grief. You are afraid of the vulnerability the loving entails.

By allowing yourself to dive into your emotions, you experience them utterly. You know what pain is. You know what grief is. And only then you can say, all right I have experienced that emotion, I recognize it now and can surely face it too. Now, I need to detach myself from that emotion and move forward. Accepting such feelings will help you to get out of the awful situation you’re going through.

Exist in the moment

Be fully present and observant. It means you should be with the person you are always with. Don’t think about something you said last week. Don’t think about what’s coming this Sunday. Don’t think about anything else going in your life. Just think about your mental peace and harmony. Be ready to openly display emotions that our generation is always afraid of. It’s okay to shed a tear if someone shares something horrible or crinkles in delight if they told you a really bad joke. Most of us are comfortable at small talk. But listening to someone, without expecting anything in return is something we rarely do. That is how one makes someone feel wanted, heard, and that they matter, they are important. The best thing you can give someone is your time because you don’t even know how much time you got on your hands yourself. You are giving something infinite, and it leaves an impact.

Forgiveness

Let go of the guilt in your heart. Forgive yourself. For all the things you wanted to do, but never actually did. All the things you should have done. You can’t stay stuck on the regret of what should have happened and at the same time expect yourself to move forward. Don’t beat yourself up. It doesn’t do any good. Make peace. You need to make peace with yourself and everyone around you.

Pride, vanity, stubbornness there is no point in all these things especially when you look at them when you are old. You need to forgive yourself and forgive others too. You need to do it for yourself because you deserve peace and comfort. Don’t wait for anything to happen. If you take forever to forgive others then that thing may end up as one of your regrets. You took too long, that ship has sailed now. 

These are only a few things that I shared. In every conversation between the professor and his student, there’s something to learn. They talk about love, happiness, regrets, emotions, dreams, money, dependency, aging, marriage, family, and death. If you want to read a guide on life, I highly recommend you to give “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom a read. It has a lot more to teach every one of us the life lessons!

By Aneeq Majid

About The Author

Hey there! I’m a dental student by day and reader by night. I can’t go on for more than 3 days without eating biryani. I collect fountain pens, journals and everything in between.

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