Down in the South there are some big cultural differences that take a little getting used to. For one everyone calls you “Baby” or “Girl” or “Darlin’ “, even if they don’t know you. People in general are so open and kind down here as well, not that there aren’t any kind people up North, or no meanies down here, there are they just aren’t very easy to spot. Also “Stranger Danger” is almost nonexistent, the Southern Guy has had some strange man come up and offer us “cracklin’ ” (which is like bacon or pork rinds, but it causes heart attacks 30 years earlier) and the Southern Guy was like, “Yeah sure. Ooooohhhhh that’s good!” Um Gross.
Over all I love it down here, transitioning hasn’t been hard, it’s just been interesting. Trying to understand what people say is the worst part of my transition thus far, as the Southern Guy’s mom puts it, “Cajun is the laziest form of communication.” She is SO right! I mean listening to how some people down here talk is fascinating, as well as trying to figure out how they are able to talk so fast while still talking so lazy! It isn’t that they drop the “G” off the “ING” words, they do that and SO MUCH MORE! As well as adding the Cajun french or Creole in there, it’s a workout just listening.
Then there’s the food…
Oh the food! It’s amazing! The gumbo, the beignets, the meats, and just everything is SO GOOD! Two years ago when I was visiting during Mardi Gras I literally gained TEN POUNDS, just from all the amazing food! The people here know what good food is and how to appreciate it, and all they want to do is share it with family, friends, or strangers.
While living on my own (this is the second time I have left home, but the first time I am striking out on my own to be my own), I have come to a realization of things that I have known, but they haven’t really clicked until now. Maybe I’m just slow, but I think that most of us don’t learn (or at least fully understand) many common life lessons until we are on our own and viewing life from a completely different aspect. Not having parents or room mates there to remind and nag about things really allows you to open your heart and mind to things that you had just accepted before hand, because you take the time to think about it for yourself rather than just accepting someone else’s thoughts on it. So here are life lessons figured out while in the South;
Live for yourself
When most people graduate from high school they leave on their own adventure, whether it be college, military, or just moving out, you are on your own. Even if you have room mates, more often than not they aren’t family, so don’t let what they have to say or think about things make your decisions for you. One regret I have about college is that I was shy and allowed myself to be a sheep, following my room mates and not going and doing things for myself. I ended up feeling like I had been jipped out of many experiences and resentful about things. Looking back (hind-sight being 20/20), I now blame only myself for not doing and living for me.
I’ve found that by living for myself and not worrying what people think about my actions, I have found peace and happiness. The hardest part about this has been when my family or friends make remarks as to why I do what I do, and at first it offended me, why coukdnt they just be happy for me in my happiness. But then I found that if I answered honestly, from my heart, they would at least respect my choice and let it go for the time. My answer to them, for those of you who were just dying of curiuosity, is, “I do what I’m doing because it makes me happy, because I enjoy doing what I do.”
I know that what I’m doing is righteous and that my decisions are pleasing to my Heavenly Father, and that’s all that matters. As long as I am happy and I am doing what I can to live the gospel standards that I know are true and rely on my Heavenly Father, others will maybe not accept my choices, but they may respect them as long as I respect and stand up for myself.
Which leads into…
It’s not always all about you
While living on my own I’ve found that my emotions aren’t always in check, I seem to allow them to run wild and end up feeling hurt with thinking about things logically. (Curse of being a woman) The Southern Guy has been amazing dealing with my uglier side and I am so blessed he’s so patient, but with my family and friends, it was hard to not get offended right off the bat. You’ve left that system and so you
When you leave home, you leave your familiar system. A system of people who keep you in check and remind you, sometimes just by actions, that there are other things going on out there that are more important than what you feel right now. Sometimes you have to push yourself to get up and do things for the benefit of others that you may or may not be reimbursed for, but it is something you have to choose to do and choose to do well.
It is not all about you. There are billions of people on this earth who are all children of a Father in Heaven, just like you. What makes you more important than them? I’m not saying we are not individuals and as such we are not individually important, but rather we need to focus on the importance of those who are more in need. Doing service, no matter how small, always makes your problems less intense and more manageable than we before thought.
Lesson #3 :
Work as if your job is always on the line
Prove your worth. No one cares what you know until they know that you care, and so put all your heart and effort into all that you do. Always be proud of what you put out, all your projects, service, and accomplishments need to show you in them. Be proud of your work and show that pride in the final product, never settle.
Be your own best friend (It’s ok to have alone time)
Again it’s not all about you, learn to love yourself and enjoy time by yourself. Have a “Me Date” and treat yourself. Even while dating someone, their life isn’t focused on you, they have their own life and worries and you can’t hold that against them. Plus you never know what life and the Lord has in plan for you, so you need to just focus on you time while you have it and learn to appreciate it.
Lesson #5 :
Life is short, no one knows how long they have been given…
Live life with the thought that you don’t know how much time you’ve been given. Love as though everyone is family, you don’t know who is having a rough time in life, who is down on their luck, or who just needs a friend. Some of my best relationships have been created out of those spur of the moment decisions to ask someone how their day is, or to sit with someone who isn’t exactly top of the crowd. We often pass by some of the best opportunities because the outward package doesn’t look like much. Never ever judge anyone or anything’s cover before at least giving the dust jacket a glance, more often than not you’re going to miss out on something wonderful.
Those are my tidbits for thought, things I’ve found to be really true and very important to living a good wholesome life. Especially when you’re a single adult and you can live for you, your time is your own and you have the ability to accept those opportunities.
Food for thought.