It is said that every year trees increase the number of rings that make up their trunk, thus becoming bigger and stronger. What about us humans? Well for us it’s a little different because every year brings with it good and bad things, lessons and regrets, falls and defeats, but it’s not said that all of them necessarily have their use. For my part, in an attempt to ensure that everything I have experienced in this 2022 which is drawing to a close can come in handy not only for next year but also for all the others to come, I have decided to take, albeit virtually, pen and paper, and start writing down the lessons I feel I’ve learned since 2022. And to share them with anyone who has the good fortune to read this blog. They will definitely be useful for me, I hope they will be for you too. But let’s begin…
1) Humans never learn. We have always thought that human evolution was an ever-rising curve where today’s man is yesterday’s man with a few more lessons learned in the meantime, but that’s not the case. The shocking news coming from fronts like the Ukrainian one destroys all my myths about evolution. Man is an animal incapable of learning. He is an animal capable of repeating the most serious mistakes, even those of the most recent past. Man is an animal… Period… The sentence is already right like this.
2) Life has no pause button. There have been moments this year when I really would have liked to stop the tape of my existence, put it on pause, maybe just the time to recharge my strength or recalibrate my thoughts. But it doesn’t work like that. Right or wrong things go on even when we feel down. At the beginning it is a frustrating consideration to make, but then we realize that this universal panta rei has beneficial effects on us because precisely because we are not allowed to put life on hold, we are forced every day to get off our bed and take the stage of our existence to play our part. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes you just don’t feel like it, but this coercive mechanism, I’ve discovered, has its effectiveness in picking us up and recovering.
3) You have to listen to everyone but decide for yourself. Perhaps in the past few years like this 2022 I have been showered with advice. I have received every… And I know that, in most cases, they have been given to me as an expression of some form of affect. The famous advice given for “the good of a person”. Well, I’ve learned that, with patience and respect, if a person who cares about us gives us advice, we always have the sacred duty to listen to it, but not to follow it.
4) And here, reconnecting to the previous point, comes another of the things learned in 2022, namely that good advice may still not really represent our good, and be wrong for us. It’s not easy to choose A when all the rest of the world points us to B, especially when our loved ones are in the rest of the world. But it is so. Our good, our own good, represents an elusive goal that even those who are very close to us often fail to understand because they tend to confuse their idea of good with ours. And the two things don’t always coincide. Here then, lesson learned, that a good advice can sometimes instead lead us down a path that is not the one that leads to our happiness.
5) Wealth is not measured with the zeros in the current account but with the stamps in our passport. Amsterdam, Marrakech, Paris, Maldives, Dubai, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria: these are just some of the destinations of my 2022. A year in which I have once again realized that the main privilege of my economic well-being is not in cars or in the designer clothes I wear but in the extraordinary nature of the encounters it allows me to have around the world. It is no coincidence that the motto of my site, but a bit of all my life in recent years is “I travel therefore I am”.
6) Feelings weigh according to the smiles and tears they cause you, not according to the age in which they are lived. In short, this 2022 explained to me in detail that the old adage that certain things only happen at the age of twenty is bullshit. Life always surprises you and only stops doing so when you close the doors in its face, the famous doors of the heart. Looks and perfumes never cease to strike you, to create interesting situations, hopes and expectations. Whether or not they come true doesn’t matter, the beauty lies in living them at the very moment they are generated and, this 2022, taught me that I don’t want to stop doing it.
7) Photography is like a relative, it remains so even if you don’t frequent it. I haven’t photographed much this year compared to past years, yet I don’t feel I have lost an ounce of my passion for this art. A passion that I have cultivated in the few shots taken, in the research and study of new techniques and equipment. A passion that literally explodes every time, even if it happens just once a year it doesn’t matter, that I take my mirrorless and start looking at the world through its lens. At that moment the camera replaces my eyes and somehow helps me not only to see the world in a different light but also to create a parallel world, a personal metaverse, where lights and colors are dominated by my thoughts , and the shapes are the exact representation of my desires.
8) Serenity is not a spontaneous fruit of life. I read a lot this year. Above all, I have read many blogs and books that deal with the themes of happiness, serenity and human thought from different perspectives. I feel that today I have a cultural baggage in this sense, much heavier than I had a year ago, and this helps me to live my present more centered. The most important lesson I learned from these readings is that, except for a privileged few, serenity is a fruit that each of us, in order to live it, must cultivate by following precise practices and rules of life. That it comes alone is wishful thinking. I can’t say how much of what I’ve learned has become an integral part of my way of being and thinking, but I know for sure that I’m “on the way” towards this goal and this, for the moment, is already enough for me.
9) Don’t judge. Plato said: “Be kind, because everyone you meet is already fighting a hard battle”. I, if Plato allows me, would like to change this sentence slightly and say: “Do not judge, because everyone you meet is already fighting a hard battle”. We know so little about the inner ghosts of the people we think we know well (let alone the strangers we “scroll” on Instagram) that we can never fully understand their choices, their behaviors. Even the most senseless. But for this very reason we cannot afford to judge them. Instead, we should strive to listen more to others until we understand that the hardest part of any relationship (love, friendship, kinship or other) is implemented at the very moment in which the choices of the other go against our own interests. It is precisely in that moment, in accepting them, that the purest version of respect and tolerance is realized in plastic form, two concepts that we are (almost) all good at applying in the social sphere so as not to appear politically incorrect, but which we are (almost) always unable to apply in our lives and with those close to us.
10) The heart is never wrong. It doesn’t matter how long it will take, according to which tortuous paths, how much suffering it may entail: rest assured that the heart will truly be the only possible compass to which you can entrust the most important choices. He and only he knows what you really want and will direct you towards that goal. And if you have a strong heart like mine, it will do it even when everyone invites you to let it go, to change your ways. It will when all seems lost. It will do so when everything seems to direct us towards different horizons. The heart won’t do it, the heart knows its way. And it doesn’t need GPS, compasses, comets or polar stars. The heart will always be able to return to its other half (and here Plato returns), following its paths, like those animals that return to their nests every year to reproduce. Why and how this happens is not known, but who cares after all. It’s a miracle that this happens and we just have to learn to enjoy it.