I was thinking this morning of the things I have learned as have grown older. I have learned that, as long as you don't go around with your trousers undone, or your breasts hanging out, people will not notice much about you. All that angst I wasted worrying about what people would think of my hair/clothes/make up when I was (much) younger, was completely wasted.
I have learned that, no matter how hideous people may appear on the outside, they want to be thought attractive, and to be loved.
I have learned that, no matter how beautiful and attractive a person may apear on the outside, this may bear no relation to how attractive they feel. Thus some of the people I think are beautiful, have a hard time believing this about themselves.
Home is home, no matter how abject or poorly kept. Places which you would have to be paid handsomely to stay in for one night, are home to other people. You can't know how a person feels about their home by looking at it with your eyes. Those elderly people who fill their homes with junk and old newspapers, feel just as much affection for their homes as the most well-kept show home.
What is right for one person is not for another. The old saying that one man's meat is another man's poison, is true for any aspect of life. You can't know how someone else will feel about folk dancing, country music or jellied eels, based upon how you feel about them.
Every person has their own path to God. This is very important to know, even if you disbelieve in God. People are often so busy trying to prove the other guy wrong, that they don't allow for the possible fact that what is right for you, with your experience of life and core beliefs, may not be right for another. Nearly all problems with religion relate to the idea that it is possible to know what it is right for another to believe.
Be the change you want to see in the world. It's no good complaining that the world is rude and uncaring if you reply to that with rudeness and lack of care. If you believe that it is right to be polite, be polite, no matter how rude others are. It's the Do-as-you-would-be-done-by philosophy.
Remember that you always have choices, chances to make things better for others, however small. That word or deed or kindness may make a much bigger difference than you realize.
Finally, my grandmother's favourite: to thine own self be true.
The Beijing home of an art collector
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