I never had a father and what I never learned by missing out on that relationship could fill a warehouse. My mother left this world far too soon, we never had the chance to have those conversations that would have endowed me with (hopefully) better decision-making ability. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame my bad decisions in life on a lack of a parental sounding board, the fault lies totally with me. Looking back now, there are a lot of things I wish my mother would have told me. Instead, I’ll tell you and my children if they happen to stumble upon this blog sometime in the far off future.
1. Life is Drudgery – It’s made up of all the junk you never feel like doing, like laundry and dishes. I don’t even want to think about the number of hours I’ve wasted doing both. I’ve stopped beating myself up over the fact that last weekend’s laundry will undoubtedly sit in the basement until Thursday before it gets put away, just in time to start the whole process over again. Don’t waste your breath beating yourself up over not doing the little things, it frees up more time to snuggle with your kids and enjoy life. As long as you still have clean underwear, the rest can wait.
2. Life is Complex – yet in its complexity, it is so simple. We’re born, we grow up, we have children of our own, we raise those children and then we die. It’s all the stuff in between that’s frustrating, beautiful, awe-inspiring and hopeful. I am constantly in awe of life and how no matter what you do or which road you chose, it brings you everything you need on the journey. Even the things you don’t think you need. Let life lead you, it knows where you need to end up.
3. Love is Every Thing – I would have to say, I didn’t know what real love was until my sons were born. At times, their love and devotion to me is overwhelming, it never wavers and I still don’t know what I did to deserve such adoration but I cherish it. Friends, family, spouses should all feel that same devotion towards one another. If you don’t feel it, then it’s not worth your time and you need to move on. There is nothing worse in this world than being with someone and feeling alone.
4. Choices are More Than Pro/Con Lists – After my mother died, every decision I made was broken down on a Pro/Con list. I did this because I didn’t have her around anymore to bounce my thoughts off of. I figured if there were more items in one category over the other, than it was the right decision. Unfortunately, life isn’t black and white and 50% of the time my Pro/Con lists led me astray. Now, I’ve learned to just trust my gut. I never make a decision without sleeping on it first. The next morning, I get up and the answer is right in front of me. I’ve had a 90% success rate with trusting my gut, I’ll take those odds any day.
5. Age Really Is Just A Number – There are times when I lament getting older, only because it means my time here on this wonderful plane of existence is drawing to a close. Being in the second act of life means only that I have the first act to look back fondly and the conclusion to look forward to. The number of years I’ve been here only means that I’m older enough to know better but not old enough to say what’s really on my mind. I’m looking forward to 40 for no other reason than for the wisdom and experience I’ll gain in the next five years until I reach that milestone.
6. Parenting Advice – Everyone has an opinion on how you should raise your children and the choices you should make. Everything from breastfeeding and vaccinations to spanking and what you feed them, has been debated Ad Nauseam online and off. My grandmother had a saying, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink.” What everyone has to say, is just an opinion, let them have them. Live your life and do what’s best for your family.
Thirty-five years on this earth, observing humanity, does not make me an expert but I’ve seen enough to know this: Life is too short to waste it on anything that doesn’t matter. Decide what really matters to you and screw the rest of it.