Lessons Learned

????????It’s almost time for the kids to go back to school where they will be filling their heads with all sorts of knowledge and wistfully looking back at the casual days of summer break. It seems like a lot of what we learn in school isn’t ever going to do us much good in the real world, and there are a lot of lessons that we learn along the way that aren’t taught, but learned from our experiences.

OK, so I’m not expert at life (far from it), but here are some things that I have learned along the way so far. Some of them I’d like to pass along to my kids, but I realize that in their eyes 1. I don’t know anything and 2. They will have to learn many things for themselves. But here goes……

– Life is not fair….get used to it. I cringe every time I hear an adult claim that something isn’t fair. Who ever said that life is fair? When we were kids we would take do-overs and well-meaning adults would let us win, but when we grow up we learn that no one is going to hand us anything and we don’t always have the chance for a do-over. Sometimes your hard work will be overlooked. Sometimes you get your heart broken. The guy who would do anything for others has to deal with a chronic illness. The couple who desperately wants a child have to endure seeing the family with six neglected kids. Nope….life isn’t fair, so don’t expect it to be.

– Everyone has a story. Have you ever wondered why people do what they do, or think the way they think? Did you ever look at someone and think they’re just plain weird? I used to find myself being constantly baffled by other people and their quirks. I found myself avoiding people who seemed a little too off-the-wall. Then one day I realized that each and every person has a story. It’s their life story and it makes them who they are….myself included. Sometimes I still have to remind myself of this truth because it’s easy to forget, but everyone has their own history and I will never know what has happened in his or her life to cause him to sit muttering in a McDonald’s or to cause her to be so angry with the world. I don’t need to know. All I need to know is that each person I encounter is a person with feelings and a history that makes him or her unique, and that is a good thing.

– I like my parents and I enjoy spending time with them. Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much time with my parents. Is it normal? Is it weird? I don’t know. When we are very young, our parents are our world and we listen to and learn from them. As we grow up, inevitably we decide that they know nothing, understand nothing, and basically cannot relate to us in any way. If we are very fortunate, we have our parents in our lives long enough for us all to be adults and regard each other in a new way. Maybe not as contemporaries….after all, they’re still our parents and we are still their kids…..but with respect and a kind of camaraderie. I like my parents. I think they are great people who have been an example of love and generosity that I still fail to emulate fully. I enjoy their company and I know that someday I will be devoid of it. Someday they will be gone and I hope that I will have a lot of great memories of them to keep in my heart.

– He is never, ever, ever, ever going to leave his wife. Now now….now ever. Move on!

– Change is inevitable. Whether it’s a good situation or bad, there is no avoiding the fact that things will change. In some ways that’s a sad truth. After all, when things are going well and we seem to be riding high, we don’t want to think that it will come to an end at some point. It may not be devastating, but something will change. On the other hand, when things are not going well and we have some feelings of helplessness or despair, this can be a comforting thought. No matter what, things will change and there’s always a good chance that the change will be for the better. It creates a feeling of hope and comfort. Some of us are not very adept at dealing with change and that is understandable, but embracing the idea that change will always come can do wonders for relieving anxiety about it.

– True love never dies. No matter what happens….how much time has passed, how far apart we may be, or if someone is no longer with us in this world……the people we truly love are always with us in our hearts.

– The best things in life cannot be bought….they can only be given. Time, love, friendship, thanks, support, hugs, a kind word….these are the things that truly matter in life and we are very fortunate indeed if others bestow these gifts on us. Appreciate them!

– Having a dog has made me a better person. While a dog is not a substitute for things in life like love and friendships, there is also no substitute for the love of a dog, both given and received. There is something truly amazing about that fact that no matter what else may be going on in your life, your furry companion will ALWAYS love you and be happy to see you. It’s almost unfathomable that love can come so utterly and completely without condition. My dog has opened my heart and my life in ways that I never, ever expected and I am grateful to him for that. I’m also happy that my kids are getting to experience it, too. Everyone should have a dog of their own at some point in their lives. It’s truly a wonderful experience.

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