What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

So today I made the error of telling the hubs he had already snuck into the pages of the blog. He is adamant that he will, in fact, get to see that movie, and that he is very supportive of my creative based products. “I’m very supportive of your projects, I’d love it if you did those projects, no one on this earth would be happier than me if you did those projects” quoth he.

He is currently singing “Love potion number 9” at the top of his lungs. I had to ask him what song it was… cue the introduction of youtube into our evening. Lesson: never give a grown man internet access, a simple question turns into a three hour visual introduction into a subject I care little enough about to have no prior knowledge of.

I’m not really one for learning lessons. There are very few things that I’d never do again as a result of my personal experience.

For example, when I was eighteen I got stung by a wasp and had a horrible allergic reaction, with blisters spreading all over my head, torso, and arms. It was hugely inconvenient to my love life (I had just embarked upon my first serious relationship, and we were very much in the full body contact at all times stage). Anyway, the nice doctors put me on some very strong drugs and told me to go away, not pick my scabs, and not get stung again. (Seriously, that was their advice). So I spent a week hiding in my bedroom applying lotion and inspecting my body for scarring, until the last blister had burst, and I released myself back into society with frenzied abandon.

To celebrate my return to civilization, my parents decided to have a dinner party, and the boyfriend was invited. It was a lovely evening (well as lovely as an evening can be with my nu-metal-fan beloved asking my dad who Leonard Cohen was, and my grandmother smacking my hand every time I went to scratch myself). Lovely aside from one, very small, faux-pas.

Now, some of you will likely be aware that the legal drinking age in England is 18. I was born to liberals that didn’t see the harm in allowing their kids to have wine with dinner once we reached a certain point (Shocking), and so I thought nothing of enjoying a couple of glasses of merlot with my steak. That is, until I (literally) hit the floor. The only thing I remember from the rest of the evening is my best friend removing my shoes, and waking up on the sofa fifteen hours later wondering what on earth happened.

Don’t drink on medication. Lesson learned, right?

Nope, not right. Since that mortifying evening I have mistakenly consumed alcohol with three separate types of antibiotic, codeine, and some form of super strength migraine medication that a karaoke singer gave me in the bathroom at a wedding. None of these experiences ended well. But the thing is, I didn’t intentionally “drink on medication” on any of these evenings, I just plain didn’t make the connection that I shouldn’t be doing it. Clearly, the “lesson” I was taught at eighteen didn’t stay with me.

I really think that if you’re going to do something, if you want to do it or are predisposed to do it, you’re going to do it no matter how many times you’re told not to.

I drive 35 miles from my house to my office, that’s 70 miles a day, and it’s all highway. I see at least one accident a day, often more (personal record was eight in one day). Some are serious, some are not, but all of them slow the commuting traffic down to a stop. Every day hundreds of other KC residents and I pass some unfortunate person standing on the side of the road (at best), or being wheeled into an ambulance (at worst). And yet the first thing everyone does once the lanes open back up is accelerate, change lanes, cut each other up. In other words, perform all the same reckless actions that likely caused the accident they just passed.

This is human behaviour, echoed all across the globe: liver transplant patients start drinking again, husbands and wives cheat in their second and third marriages, criminals repeat offend. I’m not saying that people don’t change, I’m saying that change is a choice. To me, learning something ‘the hard way’ implies that it’s beaten into you, learned against your own will. Is that possible? maybe. Is that likely? Not really. People are stubborn, smart, and individual; very few can be coerced into learning something by force. That’s why I still don’t know how to find X. Once someone makes the decision to learn from their experiences, they learn the lesson the only way that human beings can: on their own terms.

And what does that mean for my habitual “drinking on prescription drugs” problem? I think that’s more likely a result of my forgetful nature than anything else



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