Life: The User’s Guide

Last week I was hanging out with a few friends, one of which has a few cleaning-related quirks that I love to tease him about. We were with 2 of his friends who have known him since approximately the 9th grade (I love meeting the longtime friends of people I know because you get such good insights into who they were and are as people).

After telling a story about my friend Marwan’s particular way of doing dishes (it involves 2 different sponges and each dish has its own special place on the drying rack- God forbid you go to help with dishes and get it wrong!) his friend commented that he needed a user’s manual to know what he could and couldn’t do when they all hung out together.

‘I could write the manual!’ I giggled unhelpfully. I’ve known Marwan for 2 years now and while I cannot pretend to know everything about anyone (including myself) we have remained close friends, and I do so like to tease my friends.

After a pretty rough week of work stress, riding an emotional roller coaster and worrying about making a decision on grad school I wanted a user’s manual on life. I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years, or a year from now even… but maybe just a hint from the universe would be nice?

Then I realized (because I think too much and have had a lot of coffee) that there is no user’s manual to life. There is no guide, there is no tried and true method of making sure you come out at the other end safe, sound, happy, with answers. Sure, there are ways of living that have been proven to work better than others, but if you take a sample of people you’ll find they’ve all made different choices for different reasons; some turn out ok and some don’t. It is arbitrary. When it comes to the day to day decisions, and even some of life’s major decisions like choosing a life partner, whether you should go to graduate school, or if you should spend the majority of your life living outside of the country where you were born, there are no answers. The world continues to turn in spite of my existence.

Each person’s path is unique. We all make choices based on our own experiences and we all turn out the way we turn out. This concept, however obvious it might seem, was freeing this week as I’ve struggled with choosing the ‘right’ way to live my life.

Some people will argue that there are guides to life- the Bible, the Koran, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (DON’T PANIC!), and hundreds of other collections of ideas from people and civilizations all around the world. I am relishing the fact that I have the opportunity to write the user’s manual for my life every single day.

And that, my friends, is kind of awesome.

Happy living, everyone.

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