Don’t Burn Bridges in Life (Seriously)
I consider myself a nice person. You know, publicly.
I feel that every human deserves to be treated like a human. I talk to every human like a human. I see no point in drawing class distinctions, boundaries of pride, nor ‘necessary’ ostracizations of certain peoples.
Besides this natural bent toward non-jerkiness, I’ve found polite treatment imperative to future conversations and relationships.
What do I mean?
I refer to the old adage to “not burn your bridges.” In my younger and more foolish days I thought I would never see most of the humans around me again. Others’ comments about “high school doesn’t matter,” “everyone makes mistakes,” and my young tendency to not consider the future all contributed to that mindset. Don’t get me wrong -I was and have always been a precocious thing. Even given that, I assumed I wouldn’t have to face the people I met at a future date.
That perspective also had help from there being no Facebook at the time…
Fortunately, I only used my ignorance a handful of times. I slipped up at work, wrote a scathing note to some girls in junior high school, typed up a fiery e-mail to someone I barely knew once, and had an embarrassing exchange with a friend in my twenties.
I do not write about keeping one’s bridges intact because of a big mistake. I write, instead, from times in which I’ve realized the error of my perspective from positive situations.
Two years ago, for example, a teacher at my children’s school asked me if I’d want to do content writing for a relative of hers. I took the job and worked at it for 9 months. That position gave me necessary professional experience for a writer’s resume, plus a relationship with someone still working in writing fields.
Through a love of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I started a blog named A Wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing. I saw others who referenced this trilogy, formed friendships, and was even invited to help judge a contest over at The Carrot Ranch.
A girl I babysat grew up and was babysitter to my own children. The daughter of my husband’s former CEO tended our two-year-old for a few weeks when I had my last C-Section. A good friend, looking for part-time work, ran our dice store for nearly a year. Just last week, I joked about my children with another random mother at Costco; and she called me by name and remembered we’d been college roommates.
No, we don’t “never see” people again. People live a long time. (You know, usually.) People know other people. People are related to someone you might work with, dated a guy you got angry with online, or taught preschool to the person bagging your groceries.
We are all connected, in The Circle of Life. It’s beautiful.
On that note, how have you seen this phenomenon in your life? Did you run into an old flame? Get hired by a former acquaintance’s relative? Accidentally cut off your elementary teacher? What happened?
Check out what I wrote this week:
Wednesday, September 11: Wrote about what I like about where I live in “Welcome to Utah; Wanna Stay?.”
Thursday, September 12: Posted “A Tribute to Frank Prem.” Check out his site and his poetry!
Friday, September 13: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Joem18b and Tiredhamster!
Saturday, September 14: Announced the 43rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a free-verse poem about secondhand sales. PLEASE ENTER!
Also, “The Problem with Being Karen;” a three paragraph story about Karen, a victim of her name.
Sunday, September 15: “The Stupidity of the Sexes,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.
Monday, September 16: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Four.”
Tuesday, September 17: An inspirational quote by Hugh Laurie.
Also, “Celebrities with Mental Health Issues: Dwayne Johnson” over at The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health blog.
Wednesday, September 18: Today.
I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Kids and Credit Cards (The Magic Money),” “We Don’t Point Guns at People,” and “Happy Hour for Parenting.”
©2019 Chelsea Owens
“An intelligent man believes only half of what he hears, a wise man knows which half.”
–Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips and Quotes
“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort.
“And that is why we write.”
-Neil Gaiman, Newbery Medal acceptance speech for The Graveyard Book at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Chicago, July 12, 2009.