Lessons Learned

September 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm 8 comments

This past weekend, I attended a Zeta Sigma Tau sorority reunion back on the UPJ college campus. It has me thinking about lessons learned.

Life is incredibly random. Embrace it.
Once upon a time there were some administrators in some offices, sorting forms, directing college freshman into dorm rooms and classrooms, affecting who would cross my path in September of 1981.

There are many paths. Be willing to explore.
I had planned to play volleyball and become a teacher. Instead, I joined a sorority and became a writer. If I had it to do over, the only thing I’d do differently is not stress over either decision.

Look up and say hello.
You’ll sit down next to a lot of strangers in your lifetime. One or two might be destined to be a friend for life.

There are parties going on. Attend one.
At 18, I was shy. I was nervous. I was kind of a nerd. I was not a snappy dresser. But I left my dorm room and went to a party. That one brave deed led to Zeta Sigma Tau, which became the center of my life at 18 and the catalyst for a poignant, hilarious, joyful, just-what-I-needed weekend at 50.

Everything changes. Some things never change.
From 18 to 50, we slowly, steadily transform. But it’s not like squashing and reforming a lump of clay. It’s like weaving a broader and more intricate pattern. There is always a thread that ties us to our starry-eyed, stumbling, happy youth. An unsnippable, indestructible, soul-saving thread.

A shared perspective is magic.
It is good to take a long look at the past with those who were there. Not to white-wash or candy-coat but to see clearly from a distance. To put an arm around then and an arm around now and embrace it whole. To understand at a deep level that, warts and all, you are one lucky so-and-so.

Bonus:  A group of aging brains remembers more great stuff than one aging brain.

At 50, adult humans become capable of time travel.
Don’t ask me about the science, but it’s true.

Stages of life.
There will be drama. You’ll have good acts and bad ones. Sometimes the script will suck. Sometimes you’ll be confused or scared. There will be those who shout. Or throw tomatoes. But, ultimately, Life is an exquisite comedy. Find a great supporting cast. And stick around for the whole show.

It’s funny . . . 
Sadness and happiness get murky. Anger and joy wane. Achievements and disappointments fade away. But funny is funny forever.

It’s never about the stuff.
True friendship is not about popularity or possessions. It is about who giggles at the same dumb stuff that you do. It’s about hugging someone who hugs back. It’s about who picks you up when you fall (from hard times or too much grain punch or a skid across a dance floor). It’s about being able to join the conversation in a heartbeat, whether you’re returning from a hard day of classes or from a 30-year absence.

Graduating and grief.
Leaving your college friends at graduation is a lot like the grieving process. Over time, you cry less, you get passed how much you miss them, you get on with life. But there will be moments when that sweet ache stops you in your tracks. And you miss them all, all over again, more than can be expressed.

Women are kind, beautiful, and amazing.
If you don’t believe this one, find new friends.


This post dedicated to my sorority sisters, some of the best damn women I have ever had the privilege to know. Til next time, don’t forget for one moment that you are brilliant and lovely and funny as hell. I loved who you were. I love who you’ve become. You have a place in my heart forever as uniquely qualified life preservers.

Entry filed under: Life Preservers. Tags: , , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. barb berk  |  September 30, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Oh my goodness! What a wonderful gift you have! Barbette Z85


  • 2. Karen  |  September 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Wonderfully said Beth. I am so disappointed that I missed this weekend can we make this a yearly event?


  • 3. Claudia Ricci Clow  |  September 30, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    That was absolutely beautiful !!!’ Brought tears toy eyes!!! Luv you Zetas!!!


  • 4. Dani Richey  |  October 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

    What a beautiful piece! It brought tears to my eyes. You have a wonderful gift and I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts.

    Dani Richey Z67


  • 5. boatdrinkbaby  |  October 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you, Ladies!


  • 6. Joyce. Z80  |  October 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Making the decision to be a writer was evidently the best choice! Your gift has given us a gift!


  • 7. Linda Z121  |  October 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more – well said!!!


    • 8. Linda Z121  |  October 2, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      …and another thing, don’t we all look damn good for 50?!!



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