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Saturday, February 22, 2014

LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED

                           
                                                 

                                                                 




These words above are some of the hardest I have learned over the past 70 years.  I've spent a lot of time these last several weeks thinking about this 70th birthday.  It's a hard one for me, mostly because I know the length of my days are behind me now.  I think I may have about 15 years left, maybe 20, if I consider all the other females in my family who have lived into their 90's  Having now lived 70 years, what words of wisdom would I want to give my children and grandchildren .......and would they pay attention anyhow, if I had some advice :). Well, here's a list of some of the things I now know for sure, through my own life experiences.
1.  Life is not fair.  You may think you deserve a good life without adversity, but believe me there is more than one surprise waiting for you.  Some happy, others not so much.
2.  Never make up your mind about what you cannot endure.  We are all much stronger and more resilient than we think we are.  You will discover your true self the first time life throws you a heart wrenching curve.  Pain and sorrow put life in perspective and you will find courage that you didn't know you even had. Happiness will be valued and appreciated more than it ever was before.
3.  High school is not the most fun you will ever have, in fact for many it is a personal agony.  If you are lucky you will end up with one lifetime friend that you knew in high school.  I feel that I am extra lucky in that area because I ended up with 4 high school friends that are still very much a part of my life.  However, I lived in a small town with one high school.  We spent all of our time together.
4.  Pick a profession you love, you're going to be doing it for a long, long time.  Women no longer have to be teachers or nurses, not that there is anything wrong with either profession, but it was our only choice when I was in school.  I wish I could have studied art way back then.
5.  Keep a journal, even sporadically, you will love reading it as you get older. It's never too late to start one. Write down the funny things your children and grandchildren say and do.  They will love hearing about it over and over.
6.  Don't settle for anything....a man, a job, a salary, a life style.  Think long and hard about what you want to achieve in your life and then be willing to work hard to get it.  Remember that there are no free rides.
7.  Raising children is the hardest job you will ever do.  If you have no children you have not a clue what I am talking about.  It is also the best job I ever had.  If you have small children you are now fighting with a two year old and wondering how you got in that position.  If you have a teenager you have my sympathy because those are the years that truly test your patience and restraint.  There's good news at the end of the line though.
8.  Those unruly, annoying, cantankerous children grow up, get married, become responsible adults and they give you....GRANDCHILDREN!  This is truly the very best thing about aging.  These sweet babies come to your home, you bake cookies together, they mess up your kitchen, they mess up your bathroom, they leave toys all around.  You play games, read stories, color together, go to bookstores, the zoo etc.  Eventually they get crabby,,,,,but then they go HOME.  It's wonderful I tell you!
9.  Be a good friend.  Everyone needs at least one special friend.  You know, the one you might not see for a while, but you can pick back up as soon as you are together again, like you've never been apart.
10. Be kind....to everyone.  I used to be afraid to talk to people I didn't know because basically I am kind of shy in the beginning.  However I soon began to realize how much I was missing and I also found out that other people were afraid to initiate conversations too.  Isn't that silly?  What I could have learned from some of those people is forever lost.

I don't know what lies ahead for me, however I have decided this.  I plan to live these remaining years, hard!  I love living and I want to soak in as much as I can.  I want my grandchildren to remember me as a feisty old lady who said what she thought....kindly :), who lived a full life and was grateful for it, and one who gave them annoying lists of lessons to live by :) :) :)  Maybe someday those lists will bring a smile to their faces, and they will remember me.