Well-being

Stuff You Oughta Know By Now, Woman!

I have often expressed a desire to have a younger body with my current mind.

It ain’t gonna happen. The best we can do is take care to stay healthy and cherish our minds filled with experiences, lessons and wisdom.

Have you ever said, “If I only knew then what I know now….”

Maybe you would have made better decisions. Maybe not.

But maybe it’s a privilege of years that you learn a little at a time, learning as you go.

There are some things that are worth knowing for all ages and I got to thinking about them the other day.

1. Time is a funny thing. When you are younger, it seems to drag. Like waiting for the end of the school year. Then you are waiting for your college acceptance letter. Then you are waiting for your first baby to be born. Somewhere along the line, it seems to speed up. Now, there are “trains to catch, and bills to pay.” (Cats in the Cradle song.) Time speeds up such that you feel like you can’t catch your breath. I’m told it slows down again in old age. I’ll let you know.

While time is a funny thing, it is also a finite thing. Difficult times that never seem to end morph into blissful times that fly by all too quickly. There are things to learn no matter what. The main thing is to cherish them all. The season that seems to never end will soon be a memory. Savor the moments.

2. People are funny. They come in and out of our lives. Some are precious to us and we want to spend all the time we can with them. Others are friends for a season, or for a reason. (Like the carpool moms whose names you can no longer recall.)

But if you find one or two that really get you, love you, and always encourage you to have your best life – cultivate them. Spend time with them, even when you feel you don’t have time. Make time for them when they need you. A few people will walk closely with you through life. Hold all the others loosely and let them go when it’s time.

3. Money is funny. When I was a kid, I got 50 cents a week for allowance. On Saturdays when I got my coins, I was on top of the world.  My first jobs paid pitifully. But at that time, I felt they were extravagant!

People are surprised when they learn I paid cash for law school. I had scholarships for undergrad because I was poor, but at the time, scholarships for law school were only for the brainiacs. Definitely not me. So I worked full time, went to school at night and had a very spartan existence.  But the absence of school debt gave me much freedom.

Turns out, for me at least, freedom means far more than money. I didn’t buy a house I couldn’t afford, or rack up crippling consumer debt. My husband was diligent about saving and investing and we lived a simple life.

When you make the acquisition and spending of money your focus, you lose out on a lot of freedom. Money has a way of enslaving, while it is also freeing. Don’t let the enslavement thing happen to you.

4. Your health is funny. When you are young, you think you’ll live forever. You won’t. The damage you incur or the neglect you allow in your younger years will bite you in the ass when you are older. You are not terminally unique and exempt from this principle.

5. Be prepared for surprises. The way you think things will go, or the way you think things will turn out rarely occur. Make plans, but hold them loosely. Be prepared to be flexible. You will do things you never thought you would do, and some things you won’t get to do. But somehow it all works out in the end.

To paraphrase someone wiser than me, if it hasn’t worked out – then it’s not the end. Life is funny and full of surprises.

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Because mothering is wonderful ... except when it's not.