1. Oh the places I’d go
Firstly, I would take a year off after finishing high school. Taking a year to either travel and see parts of the world or to work and save money would have helped me to grow up before I left for post-secondary school. I should have taken a good friend and traveled. I did not do that and I regret it. I was frightened to go it alone. In my house education was the most important goal. My thought was I would do it later. Sometimes later can come a little too late. I grew up in a very protected and strict household and traveling before getting my education was just not an option. Now, I would persist.
Once I had my education there were other goals in mind. One good thing to come of the strict and protected upbringing was that I let my children grow a little on their own. They all went to universities away from their home province. I wished they stayed a little closer to home but that was another lesson I needed to learn.
I will never be a big traveler but as I have aged I enjoy going on trips and meeting new and different people. If nothing else it makes me aware of the wonderful place I live in.
2. Learn from your mistakes (really) and move on.
You do the best you can and then let it go. You don’t get a redo so don’t even try. You can waste a lot of time and energy with the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. Let it go and learn from it. Life isn’t perfect and neither are we. Children know if we tried our best and that is what counts!
I remember thinking that as soon as I left my family home, I would do anything I wanted to. I wasn’t angry with my parents as I knew they were doing what they thought was the best for me because they loved me. They were just wrong. Oh, the confidence of youth!
Sometimes we carry on in a certain direction for much longer than we should have because we are embarrassed to say we made a mistake. Now I change direction as I re-evaluate when I feel it is necessary.
Life is a series of opportunities to fail and then to learn from those failures. Sometimes we need to repeat those failures to really learn the lesson we need to learn.
3. You are more fortunate than you realize.
My third son was born with syndactyl of some of his fingers and his toes. That means that some of the digits were joined (webbed). He also had a couple of extra tiny digits. His father had the same issues.
We started with the removal of the extra digits in the hospital nursery and then booked splitting the fingers first on one hand at a year old and then six months later the other hand. These surgeries involved skin grafting and we were lucky to have a talented pediatric surgeon specializing in hand reconstruction. His name was Dr. Gropper!
My husband’s surgeries were done in 1957 so the skin grafting was the best at that time. His fingers are scarred and slightly twisted as if he had burns on them. My son’s skin grafting was great and you must look twice to notice anything was done to them.
When our son was two, we went to this same surgeon to ask when he would we have the surgeries on his toes. We were feeling sorry for ourselves sitting in the waiting room thinking of the procedures to come when we noticed a little boy sitting on a riding toy. He was just a little younger than our son and looked up at us with the biggest smile. He had only thumbs, no fingers, cleft palate, and club feet on both legs.
We looked at each other and then we looked at our beautiful little boy and realized how fortunate we were.
4. When you give you also receive.
St Francis of Assisi said, “for it is in giving that we receive.” It can take us a long time to realize the truth of this.
I was brought up to help people out and to “do the right thing”. While I did what I thought was the thing to do I only did it because it was expected. It has only been in later life that I have realized that I have always benefited when I have given, either time, money, or effort.
A current benefit has developed. A neighbor has lost her husband and she is elderly. She was worried about taking her dog out regularly. My husband and I have been taking her dog for a morning walk each day. Yes, this is a nice thing to do but, in fact, it gets both of us outside in the fresh air, we get a little walk in, and while walking we end up talking and discussing things with each other.
5. You can’t give away too much love
Some people give their love as if they only have a finite amount to give out. It seems to me that the more you give out the more you have to give. A lot of people feel that after they show love, they will be taken advantage of. This may occur but mostly the response from people receiving this love is so much gratitude.
There is so much need in this world and to just show a little love and compassion changes so many things. We become much more grateful for our lives when we see what is around us.