Archive for December, 2008

To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can
teach. ~Havelock Ellis

I’m on a quick approach to 45 and I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes in life… I have few regrets, even the huge mistakes have taught me invaluable lessons. From all that I’ve learned, I wish there was some way I could implant the lessons in my children.

This list is far from complete, but it’s a start. Who knows, maybe my kids will even read it one day.

You’re never as fat as you think you are. (this lesson is especially for my gorgeous and beautifully proportioned 12 year old daughter) I’ve always obsessed over my weight, yes, even as a twelve year old. This may have had something to do with my mother spicing my childhood with comments like “rather waste on the plate than waste on your hips”. Yup, I don’t think she ever heard about the children starving in Africa that most parents spoke of – oh wait, I was one of them, trying to please mom. Looking back at photographs of myself, I was NOT fat, not even close. As I got older my weight yo-yo’d as I tried to get thinner and messed with my metabolism. Now, in middle age, I battle with a few extra kilo’s, but I think if I’d had a healthier self image as a young girl, I may have had a more balanced eating plan.

Make time to pursue your passion, no matter how busy you think you are. There were so many things I was passionate about but just never made the time to pursue. With a family and school and a full-time job, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Well, I’ve learned that you have to make those hours. Set aside a block of time to do what you love, cut out other stuff from your life that take up your time, and don’t let anything interfere with that work. When I think what I’ve achieved over the last few years, and especially the last six months I wonder why I wasted all that time!

Save a little every month, even when you think you can’t afford to. I’ve learned that a little goes a long way. I wish I’d learned it sooner. If I had saved 10% of my earnings – and bearing in mind I had my first part time job at age 14 – I could probably have been semi-retired by now.

All the things you stress over, it’s not worth an ulcer! When things are happening to you right now, they are all encompassing. I had deadlines and projects and people breathing down my neck, and my stress levels went through the roof. I don’t regret the hard work but I think I would have been less stressed if I could have just realised that it wouldn’t matter a single bit just a few years down the road. Perspective is a good thing to learn.

Balance is essential. An unbalanced life leads to ulcers (see above) and worse. It is so important to make time for yourself and for your family. You may have to make compromises financially or professionally, but at the end of the day, what is it all for?

Nurture the special relationships in your life. People come and go in your life, but there are a few, if you’re lucky you can count your family among them, that are consistently there. That don’t have unrealistic expectations, that don’t harp on your mistakes, that share the times between the spaces of your life. Hang on to these. Value them above all else. And most of all, know that you are blessed.

Keep a journal. I kept a journal my entire life, and I mean that. I learned to read and write at age four, and began writing my secret thoughts down. I went through a strange time about 20 years ago and burned all my journals. That is THE major regret of my life. I continued journaling and then, during another strange time about 10 years ago, was so concerned at having my thoughts “out there”, I stopped. BIG mistake. You learn so much from reading back through your journals. It is a wonderful measure of where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. It’s an outlet, a therapy and a place in which to be totally honest and completely yourself. Just do it!


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