It isn’t everyday that you suddenly realize you’ve been an idiot about something. We tend to remember moments of inspiration, brilliance, and adaptability, but we mostly re-write realizations of stupidity in our minds to credit ourselves with learning and growth.
The past few months have been huge for me, as I’ve caught myself suddenly realizing things that I wouldn’t have understood a year or two ago. I keep chalking it up to “gaining experience” and “becoming a wise person,” but now I’m starting to think I’ve just been so unbelievably ignorant about these things.
1) Lock your doors
As a New Yorker, this is a no-brainer. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been living in a little bubble college town, and all my notions of safety and security have been warped to reflect that of Pleasantville. Most of the time my backdoor is unlocked and sometimes even left ajar (I’m hoping none of you know where I live) and I don’t even think about it. Windows are unsecured. Though I have a dog, I’m pretty sure he would be absolutely useless against a burglar.
Now to answer the question you’re probably thinking about, no, I did not get robbed or mugged. In fact, nothing bad has really ever happened to my possessions (KNOCK ON WOOD). But you should never make it easier for other people to take things from you. You store your possessions in a safe place and guard them with everything you’ve got. To leave a door open or the keys in the ignition is just asking for it.
So next time you feel too safe, or just need to run into the store for a bit, or need to set something down on the sidewalk for a quick second, ask yourself: what would I say to the person telling me their story of how they got taken advantage of?
“Yeah, I always keep my doors unlocked, I can’t believe someone broke into my house!”
“But I only had to run into the dry cleaners to pick up a shirt, I didn’t know someone would drive off in my car!”
“Then I turned around and my laptop was gone, maybe I shouldn’t have left it outside unattended…”
Hopefully that should get you to be more careful.
2) If you’re going to recycle (you should), make sure you KNOW how to recycle
I like the idea of recycling. I do it all the time. I will separate trash like nobody’s business, you know, just to do my part to save the earth (insert self-righteous grin here). What I didn’t think about though, is whether or not I’m actually recycling properly. It’s almost silly, but recycling incorrectly is probably worse than not recycling at all.
As a general rule, anything with paper, plastic, glass and metal should be recyclable. To spell that out, that means any paper & cardboard (not paper towels!), all hard plastic (but not all plastic bags!), glass bottles and jars (but not ceramic!) and basically all metal. The following are a list of recycling’s worst offenders, a list of unrecyclable materials that confuse a lot of people.
What Not to Recycle:
- To Go Containers
- Coffee Cups
- Pizza boxes with food residue
- Tissues and napkins
- Paper cups and plates
So before you recycle next time, take that extra second to think: is this recyclable? Better yet, confirm you can recycle it here!
3) Some people actually suck and there’s nothing you can do about it
This is somewhat of a negative comment, and it’s not something I would say normally, but if you really think about it, it’s the honest truth. Without going into detail, all I have to say is this:
Never lie to someone who trusts you, and never trust someone who lies to you.
I’ve always been a positive person, and I always try to see the good in people, as opposed to focusing on the bad. But somewhere down the line, after being continuously let down by someone, you need to realize that some people actually suck and there’s nothing you can do about it. Seriously! If you start adhering to this rule, you begin to really draw the line and realize that some people can’t be trusted. To trust that they will do the right thing, tell you the truth, not screw you over takes a lot of, well, trust. Untrustworthy people hurt others, even if they don’t mean it. And somewhere down the line, you have to just say stop.
So that’s it. Three things that I will start doing, starting today. What about you?
Yu Live, Yu Learn
Photo from here.