Here's What I've Learned
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Life is about the endless, endless lessons. Sometimes they are when you expect it, but many times the lessons are when you least expect it. Sometimes the lesson is accompanied by joy, but many times the lesson comes with sorrow.
You can't escape the lessons.
You can't stop the lessons.
You just keep learning.
The past few years have been a lesson to me in living by watching people I love die. I know, I know, we all THINK that we GET IT. Life is short. Live your best life, however else you want to say it. Blah. Blah. Blah.
But there's a big difference between hearing or seeing and really feeling a thing. My father has been gone not quite two years now. It was painful, yet at the same time, so beautiful. The last conversation we ever had, the two of us on a bench at an outlet mall, on a warm summer afternoon, will stay with me forever. And I don't say this to depress you; rather, to have you understand that it is real. When someone says, "you never know if you'll get another chance to make it right, to tell someone you love them, to forgive, or to laugh with someone," it is the absolute truth.
My mother has been through some difficult physical issues, but is doing so much better. Despite what I really wanted to do, which was lay around the house on Sunday, I drove an hour and a half to visit her. She's staying in assistive living for the time being. The length of the time being is yet to be known.
I sat with her in the dining room at her table with two other ladies. And I looked around that room with the real knowledge that for many of us, that's where we'll end up. If we are lucky enough. And what does that mean to me?
Time is finite. Time waits for no one. Time respects no ones plans. Time continues.
Time will be gone before we know it if we don't pay attention.
The important thing is to remember this. Do I want to be the woman at the table looking back at her life and seeing only the regret of things not done? Of plans made but not realized? Of words not spoken? Bitter, angry, or even sad? Or do I want to be the woman at the table who feels a sense of satisfaction for a life well lived?
In recent years, I have decided to embrace and love who I am and what I look like. I am strong. I am tall. I am healthy. I have huge calves and big hips. I have beautiful hair and really, really bad eyesight. When I was 25, I didn't appreciate how absolutely fabulous my body was. I thought that I was fat. And that was nearly 50 pounds ago.
What in the hell was I thinking?
I'm sure any of the people where my mother now resides would gladly, gladly trade places with me. Almost every last one of the people there used a walker or a cane. I just want to stay active and stay strong. But here's the lesson: there's no guarantee that it will last. That I won't end up with a terminal disease or a heart attack or any other thing that can attack the body.
I appreciate where I am at this moment and celebrate it.
Each of us has a vision of what that life well-lived looks like, but how many people really live the life well lived? Think about someone in your own life who you feel did just that. How did they do it? What did it look like?
It doesn't mean that we each have to go out and scale a mountain, or compose a symphony or become elected to Congress. It's so individual, and yet so precious and so special. Our dreams are our own.
It's near the end of the day right now. I have to ask myself if this was a good day, despite anything that happened. I don't get this day again. It's not coming back around for me to re-live and to change "for the better."
Tomorrow is a new day. A new opportunity. A new lesson awaits.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
Reading my mind and saying it so well, as usual.
1300 days ago
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.`•.¸.•´ ♥ Spread the SPARK!!! *`*•.¸¸.•♥
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1308 days ago
My Dad had been in and out of a nursing home for the last 2 years and he passed about 3 weeks ago. I hated going to the nursing home and seeing people as you described. I don't want to end up there some day. As Steven Covey says, we must begin with the end in mind.
1310 days ago
Ah yes, life's hard and bittersweet lessons. Seeing my grandmother (the only grandparent I have ever known -the grandfathers died before we were born and the other Grandmother was in Germany and died long before the one trip I was able to make there) struck down at age 72 with a massive stroke and laguishing, in pain and total disability in a nursing home for 20 long, torturous years was a wake up call. This was a woman living in a wood stove heated shack in our far north, melting snow for water, using an outdoor toilet, but loving the north country where she was born and raised (She was Cree), creating beautiful beadwork, reduced to a person you could barely understand, unable to see or use her right side (she was right handed), just saying one thing, she wanted to go back home. She never liked the city, and there were no level 4 care facilities in her tiny village of course. We had all wish she had passed on of the pneumonia she had caught when she fell in the frigid winter conditions outside and didn't have to suffer this. So I am trying my hardest to keep my independence and not let the RA win, being as fit as possible, but it is a struggle -its now attacking my back, a new area, and this is the pain the prevents me from sleeping or sitting or laying down for any length of time. Slow release narcotics were not a help so the Dr. is trying something else, all the while commenting I am too young to be dealing with this so soon.. Yes, I sure do want to make the most out of this life before it cripples me up too. Just got to find the time out of my busy, busy time managing the bridge club :P
Here is to searching and finding that holy grail in our lives: peace, happiness and satifaction with who we are and where we are headed :)
1311 days ago
Yes, yes, yes!
1311 days ago
Lots to think about! Life is too short for regrets & missed opportunities. I like the motto of living one day at a time...I'm not going to worry about what has passed or what's up ahead, cause I can't change what already happened & I can't profess to know what's up ahead! So, all I CAN do is enJOY the day!
I hope you enJOY your tomorrow & the opportunity it brings! HOPE springs eternal!
1311 days ago
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