“24 Life Lessons By An Old Greek Shepherd”
by George Giotis, Greece by Greeks
1. “The road to the destination is never straight. To reach out to the winter shelter someone must take a lot of turns, travel along rough roads, suffer losses. You have to make sure that you always take food supplies with you.
2. Leave the past behind. If a wolf eats your goat, you can’t do anything about it. Just make sure that next time you will be more careful.
3. Don’t live just for saving money and don’t be stingy. Don’t postpone the tasting of joy for future times. Do it now, while you are still young. Make your hard work worth even more.
4. Struggle, fight. You are the only one in charge of yourself. Don’t be truant, don’t expect your dogs to do all the work in herding the sheep.
5. Ask for the respect you deserve, don’t let others use you as a doormat. Set limits, put up fences, protect your animals.
6. Blessed are the ones who make mistakes. Make mistakes. These are life lessons, we call these experience. Don’t forget who you were until yesterday. Start today and define with your actions who you are going to be from now on. Learn to forgive, starting with yourself. Don’t feel guilty, you have no time for that.
7. Blessed are those who doubt. Don’ t let your life be ruled by dogmas. Remember that if some people hadn’t doubted previous knowledge, mankind would have still lived in caves. Examine the information, be skeptical, think critically, think rationally, revise. You haven’t seen any fairies and ghosts in the forest, just wolves.
8. Be careful. Observe others. Look them in the eyes. Like a Greek saying, “If it is not shown in the goat, it is shown by the horn.”
9. Life is a journey, not a destination. And it is valuable. The previous word you read already belongs to the past.
10. Don’t advise the young constantly, it’s a waste of time. There is no right way to teach them pain or misery, solely experience will do that.
11. Go travel! Trips are experiences that stay with us forever. Get out, try, taste, savor images greedily. Let your senses free. Expose yourself, let it go, crumble, lose your self-control from time to time. Not just your self-control, but stop controlling others too.
12. You have been isolated enough in your winter shelter, get out. Go find your friends and companionship.
13. Do not try to control others. You condemn in anxiety and suffering not only yourself, but also those who you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. Leave the other flocks to their shepherds, take care of yours.
14. Life is not fair. The universe does not owe you any solace, and it is certain that at the end of the road you die. Hurry up.
15. You can be a winner. Learn from those around you. Become a child with children, play with them, but also go to the cafe and talk to the elderly. You can learn from their accumulated experience.
16. Do not take everything into account. Do not take everything seriously. You are probably overreacting today. What bothers you or you are afraid of now, most likely tomorrow will seem lukewarm or insipid. Try to see yourself from a distance, take a look at the sight of your flock from the hill.
17. Have patience. The goats do not give birth every month. But when that happens you need to be there because they need you.
18. Quarrel with your partner if necessary, it is not terrible, let the feelings be defused. Make decompression in anger. The fire is sometimes beneficial. If an area of kermes oak get burnt, spring will give again vegetation, fine food for goats and their young. Careful though, the words you say you can’t take them back. Watch what your goats eat, they don’t know how to pick. If they eat the shoots of trees, the forest cannot be created again, the place will be left bare fallow.
19. Be balanced. Enjoy the food and your drink. Do not forget that the world’s poor walk miles for their daily food while the rich walk miles to digest it.
20. There is no perfect time, the circumstances and conditions will never be ideal. Start from where you are now! Do not postpone.
21. Be polite. A smiling face reflects similar behavior. Make gifts. Even the gift of a good word is important. Behave well to the elderly, you will soon be like them. Behave well to animals, they are not mean or envious, they have no obsessions or selfishness. They forgive without limit.
22. If you know how to read, read a lot! Those who read live extra lives. Not only their own but also all of those who you have read about.
23. Be bold. The fear keeps you tied but it is not real, it just comes from the unknown which is not in your head.
24. Do not get attached to things. Life is like the path of the pastures and the shepherd’s bag. The more you fill it, the harder you will walk. Take only the necessary things with you. The flock keeps walking, it will not wait for you if you can’t move because of too many heavy things. Let them go, release them, feel more flexible and free.”
Translated by Eleni Vafeiadou