39 Life Lessons I've Learned in 39 Years Part One

Oh wow, this is quite a bit of stuff I am going to have to come up with.  But in my 39 years on this earth, I've been through all sorts of situations, good, bad, and strange, so I don't really think it will be that hard.  Since this will be so long, let's not do a long intro, okay?  Let's just get on with it!

Here is part one of the 39 crazy things I've learned on this ride called life:

  1. This is a funny one, yet not funny when it happens to you: don't paint your ceiling with your mouth open.  Just a cute little FYI for ya....nothing major.  I hope this one digs into your brain and you remember this the next time you paint.  Hell, I hope I remember this the next time I paint.  But yeah, this one was learned from personal experience.  Also: don't saw a limb above your head without eye protection, unless you want sawdust in your eyes.  Learn from my mistakes, people!  Remember: just be careful in general when you do anything where you have to look up 😜
  2. Don't judge other people's kids or their parenting.  When my oldest was a baby, my closest friend had this horrible little girl who I thought was completely insane and acted like a spoiled brat.  I used to think I was better than her, that my children would never be horrible like hers.  HA!  I then had a second child, and I ended being that mom in the grocery store with the kid on the floor screaming his lungs out, kicking or hitting anyone who tried to get him up.  I was the one who was now the horrible mom.  Everyone started judging my parenting, when all I wanted to do was cry to them "But I don't know why he's like this!  I didn't make him like this!"  Turns out, my son has asperger's.  His behavior got immensely better when he his puberty, but before that?  Fuhget about it!  My friend's daughter is now 19 and is completely awesome and sweet and kind, and I feel like a total jerk for acting like my friend was a crappy parent with a crappy child.  I have learned my lesson on this one: I see moms struggling to control their children in public and I will commiserate with them instead of judging them.  Nobody knows what those parents are going through, not even if they are your best friend.  Remember: it takes a village to support a mom and dad so they can raise their child without the judgement of others.
  3. Blood is not always thicker than water.  And family doesn't always have to come first.  I am not referring to your kids and spouse, I am referring to everyone else.  Sometimes your blood relatives are the most toxic people in your life.  Never be afraid to set boundaries with them.  Even if that means walking away for good (as I did).  Your happiness and mental health is worth more than keeping around toxic people.  Remember: your family can be who you choose to be in it. 
  4. Forgiveness really works.  I will say, if someone is actively hurting you, forgiveness is damn near impossible.  But if they are passed away or if it was just one thing they did?  It's a lot easier to find a way to forgive them.  I am not one of those people who will tell you "You HAVE to forgive to move on!"  While it's true--it's not always necessary.  I do believe there are some things in life that are unforgivable: like, a woman I was once friends with forgave her father for molesting all her children and her sister's children--all because the bible says she should--allowing the man to come back into her children's lives for the sake of a religion.  To me?  That is a unforgivable act and frankly, isn't up to the parent forgive--let the child who was hurt grow up and eventually forgive--if they want to.  But there's NOTHING in reality that says you ever have to.  With that being said, I forgave my own father for physically, emotionally, and mentally abusing me for my entire life with him.  Like wholeheartedly forgave him with all the anger that was attached to the memories of his abuse gone.  I don't condone his actions, but I can now acknowledge them without any hatred or anger attached.  I used to not even be able to talk about him as I would get so angry.  But as I said about the old friend of mine, my mother didn't forgive him for me.  That's just nonsense.  The only way true forgiveness happens is to be ready for it.  And if you're not ready to let go of the pain and hurt?  Then it won't happen.  And it shouldn't be forced.  Forgiveness isn't a term to be thrown around lightly.  It isn't a path one should try to tread until they are ready.  There is no shame in holding onto hurt.  All pain needs to be felt for as long as you need to feel it.  When your body is done with it?  It will let you know.  There are a few things you can do to help it along, but don't expect it happen, overnight or even ever.  Some pain isn't meant to be gotten rid of.  And that's okay.  I am not one of those people who think that all pain=bad.  Sometimes pain can elevate you and help you to become a better person.  So don't feel bad if you're not ready to forgive someone yet (or like I said, ever).  But when and if you are?  It will be one of the best things you can do for your own happiness. 
  5. Give your inner child a voice.  This stems from #4.  When I started to explore my childhood and blogged about it, I realized that I was so much more damaged than I even realized I was (and I knew I was pretty damaged to begin with).  I had to sneak back into my childhood to explore things that happened and view them again from the point of view of me back then and me now as an adult.  When you are dealing the wounds of childhood, you need to access that inner child in order to give him/her a voice.  When you do, you can heal faster and get to the root of your issues.  Dealing with feelings of abandonment, fear, hatred, etc. from a child's point of view is so much different than how you view all of those things now.  Adults tend to push off the fears of a child as "childish", but when you enter that space of your childhood self, you can fully feel those feelings again and deal with them.  Remember: never underestimate the power of who you once were when you were small.  Because those feelings that were created back then are why you are the person you are today.  One book I suggest to check out is the Inner Child Workbook by Cathryn L. Taylor
  6. Learn to do it right the first time.  Yeah, there's nothing in life like personal experience.  I have to say, Pinterest fails are some of my favorite things to look at online, as most of what I try to do in life usually falls into that category ("Oh, that's not how it was supposed to look at all.....").  So this piece of advice doesn't work for things you have to learn to do in order to do them well, like cooking, drawing, knitting, sewing, fixing cars, or making things from Pinterest.  I am talking about basic life stuff.  If our parents did not or would not teach us how to become functional adults, then seek out someone who will teach you.  Like Youtube.  Youtube will teach you anything you want to know and not guilt you about it when you ask.  Things like: how to clean your house properly (like, who knew you were supposed to wash your baseboards???) or how to do dishes properly (I have developed my own system that I view is the right way, and if anyone in my house does them differently, I refuse to be in the same room as them--because I am kind of an a-hole sometimes), or how to build your credit from age 18 on.  One thing I had to figure out on my own (from YEARS of mistakes) that I've taught my children to do properly is how to pick out a perfectly ripe avocado.  I mean, they aren't cheap, so who wants to waste all that cash trying to figure out how to get one you can eat today for some kickass guac?  Find a teacher!  Life should be about learning from your mistakes, yes, but there's a point when you say "Screw this, I need to learn how to do this right the first time!"  Think of all the time, money, and grief you'll save by doing so 😀
  7. Teach your kids to be self-sufficient from the get-go.  This stems from #6.  My kids are 19 and 15.  And they are NOT self-sufficient in the least.  And that's my fault.  Learn from my mistakes, people!  Teach them how to be responsible and give then life skills from as early as they are capable of doing so.  Let them help you make dinner as much as possible (kids who can cook will grow up to be adults who can cook--my husband is in his 30's and has no idea how to cook!) and when they are older, let them plan meals and help you shop for them.  Some kids hate cooking, so teach them the basics so when they are own their own, they at least know how to make a grilled cheese rather than eating nothing but ramen.  Teach them how to do laundry from as young an age as possible.  Don't be like someone I knew who made her son do ALL the laundry in the house at age 10 (2 brothers, 2 adults and his own laundry), but they should at least know how to separate clothes, pick a cycle, add soap etc, and dry them (and empty the lint trap).  Chores are one thing, and self-sufficiency is another thing all together.  You're not just creating responsible kids, you're creating kids who will grow up and know how to do for themselves.  Remember: the more they know how to do, the less you have to worry about them 😉
  8. Life after 30 changes, BIG TIME.  Your period changes.  Your body changes.  Your hormones change.  Think of this as a second puberty.  Where is my puberty book for age 30??  I need to write one.  You get hair in places that you'd never think you would (like your upper lip, chin, and even on the side of your neck and around your nipples!)  Your metabolism changes (no longer can you eat whatever you want!).  It's not fun, and it's not pretty.  Those things you laughed at when you were a teenager and in your 20's?  They will now happen to you.  So now you know.  You're welcome.  I suggest investing in couple pairs of really nice tweezers and a magnifying mirror to get you started. 
  9. Cooking at home is cheaper than eating fast food.  But it's also more time consuming and complicated.  So eat what you want.  Just balance it as much as you can with healthier food and exercise.  Remember: food is body fuel.  So fuel up when you need and go on with your life 😃
  10. Always bring a broom with you when checking out a house to buy.  Three days after moving into our first home, our kitchen ceiling fell in and dropped our light to the floor, spreading sparks all over the room (quite frightening!).  On my husband's birthday.  So use that broom to check any and all ceilings to make sure none are ready to burst!  (We even had an inspector who missed this!)
  11. Sometimes the movie is better than the book.  Now, I am normally a die-hard book fan in comparison to a movie (movies leave too much out) but there are several times that the movie has made the story better.  Not that the book was bad, it's just that the movie took the story to new heights.  In my opinion, I feel The Giver by Lois Lowry was made better in the movie by making the main character older (I felt in the book he was WAY too young to be taking on the responsibility of his job).  And then we have movie series or show series such as The Maze Runner or Wayward Pines, where the movie/tv show isn't better than the book series, they're just different.  It's like getting the same story with an alternate reality version: both of which I enjoyed very, very much.  My advice to everyone in the world: always watch the movie FIRST and then read the book.  It makes the both so much better!
  12. Sometimes bad things can turn out wonderful.  When we lost our house in 2010 to foreclosure (due to losing income), we moved into another house, with the worst landlord on earth (for real, I actually started a book on how to get back at your landlord when they've screwed you over--she stole $2,000 from us which was supposed to be rent and then threw us out and kept it).  And from there we moved into my mother's two-bedroom apartment until we could find a new home.  Fortunately we found a new home within a month, and we've been there ever since (and we have LOTS of room and love it!).  We lost our first home and have now lived in our current home longer than we did that one.  While we are still renting, we are moving towards buying it and love where we live (our old house was in a very bad neighborhood--I had drug dealers in front my house daily).  Where we live now?  I feel safe.  I only have neighbors on one side of us and while it isn't perfect, it's the Ritz compared to where we used to live.  So while our foreclosure felt scary and hard, it was one of the best things that could have ever happened to us.
  13. Never move in the winter.  This stems from #12.  For real guys, unless you know the neighborhood well, DO NOT DO THIS.  You have no idea how horrible things can get until the weather warms up.  Our first home was bought in December of 2007, and that summer, our eyes were opened to the actual neighborhood we were living in.  I am not a "stand by" type of person...those who sees crime and just lets it happen.  I was calling 911 practically daily (for real crimes, not just me being an asshole) and my anxiety was completely out of control.  This was also the house where I slipped into my deep depression due to our circumstances and the loneliness of living such poverty.  One year, for the fourth of July, the neighbors almost burned down our house due to illegal fireworks (I am not exaggerating when I say our entire street, probably for 5 blocks or more, was literally covered in people setting these off).  The cops did nothing, as they had too much to deal with that they just couldn't stop them.  Right after we moved in, a man was chasing his son down the middle of the street beating him with a belt all over his body while he was screaming.  I had to hide in the bushes to call 911 so they could hear what was going on.  It was disgusting.  So for the sake of your own sanity?  Do not move somewhere out of your area until you've hung out in your chosen neighborhood at night, preferably on the weekend, and in the summer.  Or send someone else do it if you're really far away. 
  14. Don't let other people control you on your own property.  I have these next-door "neighbors" at our current house.  They are elderly...a sister and brother who live next door to one another and the sister's daughter lives with her.  And their yards are PERFECT.  And because of their perfectionism, they think it's their job to control whomever lives in my house (apparently they did this to my landlord as well).  They complain if our windows aren't open in the summer.  They plant stuff  in MY yard.  They take down my garden fencing to weed MY flowerbeds.  Without asking.  They complain about what I plant in MY own yard.  At first, I just let them, thinking it would taper off the longer we lived here.  WRONG.  So, without being directly combative, I took control of the situation.  First of all, I ripped out 99% of the plants they planted in my yard so I could plant the veggies I wanted (and besides I utterly hate peonies and they had them all over!).   I also would catch them outside when they were cleaning their own yard to tell them to let my kids take care of our yard, because that's what I pay them to do.  That got them to quit taking my fencing down and to stop pulling my weeds (for real, I pay my kids to do that kind of stuff, so it wasn't really fair to my checking account).  And there's also the fact that they kept telling me what time my oldest son's light was on at night, and I am still waiting to tell them to mind their own business on that one.  But as for my yard?  I see it this way: if you don't pay my rent?  You don't get to say what I do with my yard.  Simple as that.  Remember: being a good neighbor doesn't mean you have to put with someone's crap and being assertive doesn't mean always being an a-hole.  Just find a happy medium and stick with it 😉
  15. Accept people as they are.  I once heard this great line in The Americans where a woman said she married her ex-husband a second time, later in life.  And that time, they got it right because they accepted each other fully for who they were, not for what they felt they needed to fix in each other.  As humans, we are always looking for the "perfect" people: as mates, as friends, and even as children of ours.  But nobody is perfect.  And when we find out the person we're hanging out with isn't perfect, we try to fix them.  But we need to remember that it's okay to have flaws.  It's okay to be different.  I am pretty much a liberal and my oldest son is a libertarian/republican.  He does have liberal leanings for some things, but for the most part, we can disagree on a whole lot.  Yet, I love the shit out of him.  I'd never want him to change to suit my own thoughts and political leanings, because he is not me.  Imagine if the world was nothing but a carbon copy of us?  We'd probably still find something wrong in the other person (knowing how humans work).  I think it's human nature to pick out flaws in others.  And what I think nobody gets is that sometimes it's because we need to fix those things in ourselves, and we end up reflecting those flaws in other people.  So you have two steps to take with people: a) accept another person's flaws and help them if it's an issue they need and want help with (with no judgement or bossing anyone around--and don't give help where it's not wanted!), and b) look in your own life where this annoyance is happening from your own behavior.  Are you frustrated your husband forgets everything?  Then work on your own memory (and help him with his by setting reminders on your phone).  Are you irritated your kid is lazy?  Then look where you're lazy in your life and correct it.  Then help your child get un-lazy by jazzing up his day with things to do (or setting rules that A has to be done before B can happen).  No anger, no frustration, just accept (them), help (them), and change (you).  When you can change your own issues, you won't always feel the need to want to change everyone else.  

So that's it for the first part of the 39 life lessons I've learned in my 39 years on this earth so far.  Check back for Part Deux!

And share some of your own life lessons below 😀

Post a Comment