Lesson One – Beauty is Fleeting
I was a sad child growing up. I always wanted to fit in, I always wanted to be cool, but I just wasn’t. I wasn’t cool, I wasn’t hip, and mostly, I wasn’t happy. My day was spent preoccupied with thoughts about what other people were thinking about me.
Now I realize that not everyone is like me, but I do know one thing, it takes time to realize the things that truly matter in life and the things that don’t.
I know I still have a lot to learn, but I don’t fear aging, I embrace it. Many people may not relate to me but my life has only gotten better as I have gotten older. I have never been happier, never been healthier, never been more content with the way my life is going.
Beauty fades, time heals most wounds, and wisdom most definitely comes with age. Listen to your mother, cursing isn’t cool and sometimes rules should be broken.
No, I’m not ranting, I’m just laughing at myself, knowing that my fifteen year old self and my future forty-five year old self are both laughing at me for my ignorance.
So on the days you feel old, you feel ugly, and you feel like you’re failing, grab a glass of wine or a bowl of ice cream, and snuggle the heck out of your children, because unfortunately, one day they will go through all of this too.
Lesson Two – The Human Will is Amazingly Strong
Do you want to learn a new language? Do you want to change your job to something totally different? Do you want to change your life to something totally different?!
No matter what your goal is, almost anything in the world can be accomplished if you set your mind to it and commit.
When I was young, I was a hobby hopper. I went from jazz to tap to ballet to gymnastics, then to band to color guard to debate to the school paper. I LOVED starting new things. I just HATED following through. Commitment was something I couldn’t conceive.
A point in time came when making a commitment wasn’t a matter of sticking to a hobby, but rather a matter of life or death. It was only when I had found myself at my lowest – when I was desperate enough that I didn’t just want to change, I needed to change, that I could find the strength to commit.
As a recovered drug addict and a recovering anorexic, I have witnessed the human will accomplish amazing things. Not only have I seen it in myself, but in others as well – people who beat the odds again and again because they had a drive, a fiery passion burning within them pushing them forward.
Today I am not only someone who has beaten addiction and overcome a life-threatening eating disorder, but I am also the proud owner of a successful small business and the mother to the most amazing, most rambunctious, most aggravating, and most adorable little boy.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would end up here. I have my act together! Holy crap! How did that happen? I seriously wake up every day wondering how on earth I got so lucky. How did I manage to overcome so many obstacles?
Now, when something seems daunting, when something seems like its just too much of a boulder to get past, I look back at where I was, and then I realize that there is nothing, and I do mean nothing, that life can throw at me that I cannot handle.
Lesson Three – Nine Times Out of Ten I am My Own Worst Enemy
I can’t begin to tell you how many things I wished I had done but didn’t do because I feared that I would fail. Doubt and fear, two powerful emotions, are self created, self controlled. When I have allowed doubt and fear to rule my life, I put limitations on myself before ever even starting. I set myself up for failure.
Realizing I was my own worst enemy put me back in control though. Knowing that and believing that allowed me to try things that were outside my comfort zone, things that I would never imagine doing.
One of those things happens to be my career today, art. If you asked me a decade ago if I would ever consider art as a future profession for myself, I would have laughed. Yet today I own my own photography studio and get to earn a living, support my family, and spend every day doing what I love.
All I had to do was get out of my own way.
Lesson Four – Do What Makes You Happy
This is coming from someone who bounced around many colleges over the time span of almost eight years, majoring in practically every major available before finding my passion in life.
Yes, I began college many years ago as a pre-law major, then communications, then marketing and accounting, and journalism, and English. Not only was I switching majors, I was switching towns, switching colleges, I swear I was switching bodies!
Who I was when I graduated high school and who I am today are very different people. We all grow, change, evolve. Life goes on, even when you don’t want it to…. sorry. The key is to make every moment count by doing what makes you happy.
Sure, money needs to be made so that bills can be paid, but when push comes to shove, I work to live, I don’t live to work, and I hope that never changes.
Lesson Five – Keep Things in Perspective
I remember when I was younger I had a doll named Emily. Okay, she was bunny, and I still have her, but regardless… When I was younger and I got Emily, she was clean, yellow, and had pink bangs.<
One day I decided to give Emily a haircut. My mom came into the bathroom and asked me what I was doing and I told her I was giving Emily a haircut. (It was pretty self-explanatory I thought). My mom then told me about how Emily’s hair wouldn’t grow back the way my hair did naturally.
That was when I cried, for hours. I was so upset that I had cut her bangs I think I talked to Emily that week more than I ever had – apologizing for ruining her hairdo and for not having hair that can grow.
When I was five, this was the biggest problem on my plate, my doll’s lack of hair growth. By the time I turned thirteen, I realized that the world was much larger, and that the biggest problem had nothing to do with dolls, but rather pimples. When I got to 18 the biggest problem in the world was finding a way to get away from my parents.
I think you get where I was going with this. With age comes wisdom (sometimes, not always) and the more I learn through life, the more I realize how important it is to keep things in perspective. Take things in stride.
If you handle every situation you encounter like it is the most important thing in the world, you will burn out.
Remember my other lesson about the human will being strong? That is how I know that I can handle what life throws at me – by keeping things in perspective.
Lesson Six – No One Has It All Together
I remember when I started venturing into “adulthood” being terrified because in my mind it looked like everyone around me all had their act together. They had a family, a good job, a clear and carefully chosen course that they wanted their life to take.
Me? I knew nothing. Every day I woke up wondering who’s wise decision it was to allow me to become an adult, let alone a mother.
But then I started meeting other moms, other business owners, even just other people in general. The more people I met, the clearer it became to me that none of us know what we are doing. And anyone who tells you they do is probably more confused than you are.
Life is scary. Life is unpredictable. Life is ever changing. There are no clear cut paths. There are no 100% sure things. The only thing you can be certain of in life is uncertainty itself. The sooner you realize this, the better you will be able to tackle whatever life throws at you.