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The Only Life Lessons I’ve Learned

The Only

Thirty-Seven years. Six Lessons.

Yes, just 6.

I feel compelled to share those {great} overarching Life Lessons, as they will dramatically impact the next thirty-seven years of  my life.  And I am hoping they may help shape yours.

 

  1. Hair Grows Back

Age learned: 25

Life Lesson: You might think that by age 10 I realized that my hair constantly grows – however, this lesson was actually only learned after probably 30+ haircuts throughout the years leading up to age 25 – ALL of which I cried my eyes out about afterwards.  It was only after age 25 I came to terms with the fact that haircuts are not permanent.  And – shortly after that I came to terms with what this really meant about life in general.  It taught me to not waste the time or energy fretting about things that could be changed and were not permanent.  If you were to list all the things on your mind right now – things that you are ‘worried’ about – I am willing to bet that over ½ of them are changeable.  You may say “Yes – but it requires effort – sometimes a lot”.  I’d agree with you – except I am willing to bet if you are not willing to put in the effort – then you should let them go. Acceptance of the current state with the understanding that it is in motion will bring more peace to your heart than worry.

 

  1. Being “OK” is a choice.

Age Learned: 30

Life Lesson: Right before I turned 30 it was as if a capsule broke in my head – one that released a powerful and motivating serum into my brain.  For the first time ever, it felt like someone shook me and said “Hey you! This is your life! Wake up!  Make it good – make it something you love!”  That voice knew me, it was me, it knew the inevitable reality I was avoiding and luckily – I listened and woke up.  It was a whole life (and lifestyle) overhaul I was entering into – and so I sought out the advice of a therapist that I had been seeing.  My biggest concern that I expressed to her was – “I just want to know that everything will be okay.”  Such a simple worry – and the truth she provided has changed my life forever.  She looked at me and through the most gracious of eyes and said, “Well I don’t know, will it be?  Because Monica, being ‘okay’ is a choice.”  It’s a choice!  A Choice!  CHOOSE!  No one statement has shifted my mindset so greatly.  How powerful is it that we get to wake up every day and Choose to be Okay!  Circumstances don’t make us ‘okay’, people don’t make us ‘okay’, things don’t make us ‘okay’ – we make us ‘okay’! I make the choice to be okay everyday…maybe not at first, but I come around easier knowing it’s my choice (and if I don’t come around – I’ve chosen that too).

 

  1. Rituals – Especially to Mark Change are Important

Age Learned: 30

Life Lesson: Sometimes the opening and closing of chapters of our lives is abrupt – but most of the time we wax and wane through the ending of one and beginning of another.  I was encouraged by a friend to make their passing more vibrant.  Mark them to yourself and the universe.  How? Through something specific and connected to nature.  You’d be surprised how much more successful you are in making a transition when you declare it to the universe.  Before I was able to completely & freely move on from a relationship – I wrote one final letter to him – a long letter, filled with emotion –  on my thoughts, fears and anxieties about moving on – I poured it all out on paper (to the tune of 15 pages)…then I BURNED 6-5-2015 1-54-24 PMIT. I got it all out of my system and then I let it go.  The end of your child nursing can also be an emotional time.  I have a friend who celebrates it by a long walk in the woods, followed by the final nursing session on a bench by a creek.  She’s done it with all three of her children – in the same place – and she swears by this special ‘ceremony’ in order for her and her child to come to peace with that chapter.  Rituals are important because they are outward declarations – often only between you & the universe – that there is a change – that you are embracing that change and that life shall move on in its most beautiful and complicated ways.

 

  1. Let things Serve Their Purpose – Then Let Them Go!

Age Learned: 32

Life Lesson: I bought a beautiful dress that I let hang in my closet for 3 years – waiting for the perfect moment to wear it – when I felt that moment arrived – that darn dress no longer fit.  Let me be the 1st to tell you to buy fancy underwear, buy really nice shoes, buy nice dishes, and buy that beautiful dress.  But, please don’t just buy it – USE IT.  Things in this world serve a purpose – let them.  Don’t let that underwear sit in your dresser waiting on the perfect ‘date night’ – wear it to work, wear it anytime.  Fancy underwear is powerful – you’ll be surprised how powerful you feel in it.  Don’t let your fancy dishes sit on a shelf for years or just for holidays – use them.  Make every day fancy –  make every day magical.  Don’t put your children in clothes that you don’t expect to get muddy, grass-stained or covered in ice-cream.  One caveat – don’t buy things that you are worried about ruining or breaking.  Let the things you buy serve their purpose – and serve it well.  And, when that purpose is over or worn out or broken – then let them go!

 

  1. Parent like no one is watching.

Age Learned: 35

Life Lesson: It wasn’t until my son was probably 9-months old that I realized the futility in caring about what other people think about my parenting choices.  Thank goodness that everyone is NOT parented the same – we would be one boring homogeneous world.  The experiences you give your child are things that make them uniquely a part of your family.  The choices you make are because they are the best for your family.  Some days you make choices because you believe they are important (I buy organic when I can, I breastfed for as long as I could), other days your choices are based on convenience or exhaustion (my littles have had fast food – gasp!) and other times its just to make your littles smile (yes, on Sunday we had ice-cream before dinner – and my son proceeded to eat none of his dinner)!  We all do what’s best for our family – at that moment.  What is best for my son is that we skip down the halls of school in the morning (it makes him slightly happier to go in the room – sometimes I am in heels – we do it anyway – and no I don’t care about the occasional dirty looks from others around us who believe halls are made for walking).  When we go to the grocery store I drive the cart like it’s a race car – compete with tire sequels & rumbling engine – it makes my littles happy – it makes the trip easier and some people think it’s funny – others seem annoyed (but I think they live their lives annoyed) –I don’t care.  My 3 year old son likes the Beastie Boys, the Scientists and Miles Davis – some people think that is weird and too old for him – but I don’t care b/c they’ve never been to one of our dance parties (and boy can he dance). Childhood is amazing and fleeting – parent like no one is watching you – parent like you don’t care what other people think!

 

  1. Grace & Authenticity Are What I Value Most

Age Learned: 36

Life Lesson:  “How you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you climb down.”  I think I read it off the back of a Philosophy body wash as the definition of ‘grace’…and it has stuck with me for many years – but has not impacted me like it does now.  People can have many great qualities – but grace is one that I have come to value in the past year as one of my favorites.  Why?  Well, because it represents your character in any situation.  As mothers, as wives, as bosses, as sisters, as daughters, as friends – we encounter numerous variations in a given day – do we handle them with grace?  In my case – not always.  I seek to have more grace in my life to handle the variations with the ease of mind that they will work out, that this too shall pass and that both the destination and the journey are important.  As for authenticity – it is the only way.  I am an open book and a very opinionated one…and I love that my friends will tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.  People get very caught up in who the messenger is and not what the message is…if the message is authentic – hear it. Sometimes the best gifts (such as feedback) come wrapped in the most awful packages. Be authentic with others, let them be authentic with you.

 

Tell me – what are the lessons you consider invaluable?  Do you think what you learned in your 20s vs. 30s vs. 40s is different?

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