I have read so many of those ‘things I have learned’ posts over the years and I always find at least one thing in those lists that I completely get. I was thinking about that the other day and started to make a list in my head of what lessons I had learned in my five decades, and I actually surprised myself when I realised that I had learned some big lessons in my own life. Lessons that totally reinforced what I had read and heard from so many people. It made me ponder about how we can live in different cultures, have very different lives and yet we can have similar experiences. So I decided that I was going to commit my list of things I had learned to paper (or screen to be completely accurate). This is just my list, I’m not saying it should be yours or telling you how to live your life, it is just my observations on my journey so far.
Anyway here goes my list of 5 things I have learned, in no particular order……..
- My mother really was always right, or at least she was right a heck of a lot of the time. The friends she didn’t like turned out to be crappy friends. The decisions she questioned often turned out to be mistakes. The time she wanted to spend with me would be time I looked back on now and treasured. When we are young we think we know it all and I wish I had realised then what I know now. That her advice came from experience and love, that she didn’t want me to make the mistakes she had, that she was only trying to make my life easier. What I would give now to have just one more hour with her. So lesson number one is LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER.
- Tea really does make everything better. Now I am not a big tea fan, I’m a latte lover, though I take it with only one shot of coffee and most people say it tastes more like warm milk but that is beside the point. The point is that I have never really got the tea makes everything better thing. I’ve always thought that’s a bit tough on us coffee drinkers and how on earth could a cup of tea make anything better. But I was thinking about it yesterday and I suddenly realised that it’s not the tea that makes everything seem better, its the fact that usually we will be sitting down and sharing that tea with a partner, a friend, a parent or someone else important to us. It is the being with the other person that makes everything seem better, like everything will be OK and no problem is too big to solve. Perhaps I am the only person who didn’t really get this and you all knew what it was about, but I am a very literal person so to me it was really saying that tea actually made things better. Now I can’t believe I didn’t see what it was all about yonks ago. So lesson number two is DRINK TEA (EVEN IF IT’S COFFEE).
- Friendship is a two-way street. Now it is inevitable that in the course of our hectic lives juggling a million different things that sometimes the street will be busier one way that the other. That’s OK as long as the traffic still flows both ways. If it turns into a one-way street that is not OK. If one of our friends lets us do all the work, always being the one to call, to organise to meet up, to ring for a chat then that person is not really a friend. It can be hard to step away from a friendship but when it is not adding to your life or making you feel good then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate why you are friends with that person. So lesson number three is BE A GOOD FRIEND.
- Life is too short for regrets. This has been my mantra for the last 22 years. I lost someone very close to me through illness back then and in those final days one of the things that she said that really stayed with me was that she had no regrets about her life. I knew instantly that I wanted to be able to say that too and that if I kept on the path I was on that would never be the case. So I gave up my job to become a stay-at-home mum and moved closer to my parents as my dad wasn’t well. It wasn’t easy, to be honest it was really scary stuff, we were doubling our mortgage and halving our income at the same time but it felt right and I have never regretted it for a second. For me all decisions are made using the ‘will I regret it’ measuring stick. I have found that, even when something doesn’t work out, I have no regrets now because I know I made the best decision for me. I am not saying that would work for everyone, we are all different, but for me it works. So lesson number four is REGRET NOTHING.
- Don’t waste time worrying what people think of you. It really is true that the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind. It doesn’t matter if you are not wearing the latest trend, are overweight, too short, too tall, too bossy, too quiet, don’t drive the right car, don’t live in the right area, didn’t go to the right school, don’t work in the right job, don’t mix with the right crowd. All those things are just ‘things’ and the people who judge you on them have warped values and empty lives if that is all that matters to them. What matters is how you treat people and what you give back to those around you. It is better to really rock at being you imperfections and all, than striving to be something you are not to try to please people who will always find something else to judge you on. Hold your head high, dance to your own beat and let them shove their judgements. So Lesson number five is (to quote Dr Seuss) “TODAY YOU ARE YOU, THAT IS TRUER THAN TRUE. THERE IS NO ONE ALIVE THAT IS YOUER THAN YOU”
Phew, so that is my 5 lessons and if you got through all that well done.
What would your 5 lessons be?