Monday, December 03, 2012

The Things I've Learned

It's interesting to be 49 and be able to look back on the chapters of my life. To look back at each decade, each transition and what I've learned to this point. I would certainly trade the body I had at 25 or 35 for the one I have now. The laugh lines are more defined and the gray is now colored. And let's not talk about how my breasts are having a debate with gravity and gravity is winning. They still point at the sun but there's just more curve on the lower half than there used to be.
Here are some of the things I've learned:

Listen to your intuition. If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. I know this sounds cliche and I'm not saying a person shouldn't take risks. But if you're gut is telling you something just doesn't add up, then it probably doesn't. As important as it is to take risks, it's also equally important know when to say no and walk away.

If you break up with someone and it still feels unfinished and you decide to give it one more try, then limit it to one more try. The several break-up relationship will never make it no matter how badly you want it to.

Trust is the most important thing you can give a person. Trust includes the ability to maintain confidentiality. Knowing a secret does not give you power.

Be in shape before you hit 40, no matter what.  You should be in shape and stay in shape in the first place but I was part of a discrimination lawsuit with a company where people I had worked with for years said things that were flat out lies just to protect their jobs.  People I thought were my friends.  The sense of betrayal was great and I spiraled into a depression so vast I thought I'd never recover.  As a result I put on weight.  I didn't realize I had put it on until the fog lifted and I haven't been aggressive getting back in shape.  The older I've gotten, the harder it's been to lose it.  Your body truly is your temple, take care of it.

There are mistakes you cannot make when you have children.  Considering your children first is the most important thing you can do.  There are times the sacrifice you have to make feels too great (especially when it's something or someone you really want and cannot imagine living without) but you have to suck it up and do what's right.  In a few years they'll be grown and you can then do whatever and whoever you'd like.

You need to be able to laugh at yourself.  One time I was walking down a hallway at work with a coworker on my way to a departmental meeting and she and I were laughing and I needed to pee and took off running toward the ladies room.  I tripped on the carpet and fell.  When I did, I peed a little.  All I could do was laugh.  Laugh that I fell; laugh that I peed a little, and laugh harder because my coworker was laughing with me.  It's one of my best memories of that coworker.

Be true to your word.  Be honest.  Your word and your integrity are all you really have.  For me, being called a liar or having someone doubt me are pills I can't swallow. 

Always track your spending.  Whether it's in a checkbook register or online, know where your money goes and if you aren't good with it like me, don't hesitate to seek guidance from someone.  Being a single Mom has presented financial challenges out the wazoo and if you don't stay on top of it, it'll eat you alive.

It's true what they say, 'if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.'  I spent 17 years as  a Unix Engineer and although I was good at it, I was never great at it.  But being a single Mom, I couldn't walk away from the money.  I'm a Pisces.  I'm supposed to be a counselor or a healer of some sort, not working in the analytical world of IT.  I still work in IT but in project management now which I've found is a more creative way to do it that deals with people.

Wisdom comes with age.  The younger you are, the more everything seems to matter.  The older get, the easier it is to a.) spot bullshit and b.) decide to walk away.  Nothing is ever the end of the world and in most cases there's always a solution.  If you need to sleep on it to get perspective, then do it.  The key is keeping your emotions in check until you can figure out the solution.

Don't time having kids with menopause. Do some simple math and if you would approaching menopause and your kid will also be a teen, then have children earlier or have a life partner to share the load with.  Seriously.

The older you get, the more you enjoy being home.  My favorite things now are making a nice dinner and staying in.  I can make margaritas as good almost any bartender if I want them and I don't have to pay $9 each for them.  Some good food, the occasional glass of wine, the remote.  It's heaven.

I'm far from learning all my life lessons.  I'm tested every single day as I get Auburn Aries through high school and headed toward college.  I'm faced with things that challenge my patience almost daily.  They say the only thing you have in a crisis is how you behave through it.  I try to keep that in mind as I forge ahead through this stage of my life.  Some days getting from point A to point B is no big deal; other days, I can't take a breath deep enough to get me on the other side.

Either way I'll survive and hopefully still be able to share the rest of what I've learned.   I wish my parents had shared what they learned with me.  They didn't know to share it and I didn't know how to ask.  Of course that generation didn't sit and talk about it, they raised you and if you were lucky you got "Miyagi'd" along the way.  You learned by watching and imitating until it became second nature. I can only hope I'm setting the same example for my kid.  3,000 more eye rolls and she'll about have it!

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