Five Surprising Life Lessons I Discovered Now I’m Older And Know Better

When we’re young, It’s hard to understand that life is short, fleeting and filled with ups and downs.

I would change a lot of things now that I’ve lived and learned through the hard times and the good ones. They are reflections of regret and not relishing that one moment we’ve got. Wisdom isn’t something you are born with — you cultivate it through the endless struggles you face in a place called — life. It seems that we are all on a different path towards our greatness — or are we? What are we searching for on a day to day basis? Our lives are overwhelmed with working — going home and having dinner, then starting it all over again. Sometimes we’re happy; life can be good — then were are struck with setbacks, heartbreaks and financial disasters. I used to take these things very much to heart, thinking that I was somewhat cursed in my life with endless struggles. When will it become more manageable — I would often ask myself? The trouble is, when it does get a little bit easier, the next blow becomes a whole new challenge to overcome. Here is my little pool of knowledge from a 40 something that got stuck several times and keeps getting back up again to tell the next part of her story.

One: There is always a benefit to any setback — you have to find it

When I first heard of this theory, I found it quite hard to accept. How can there be something good in a situation that’s left me helpless, raw and exposed to the world? What benefit is there when you lose money, a spouse, a friend or even someone close to you through death? When I was a lot younger, I could never fathom that a benefit would ever stem in the realms of darkness. But, as I grew up and opened my mind and heart to possibilities, It seemed that those words echoed by Napoleon Hill were legitimate. What could come out of the death of my mum, you might say? Well, a lot of things. Through pain, the force and overwhelming nature of heartbreak bring you to your knees and open your soul to vulnerability. Through the pain of my mum’s illness and her transition towards death, I learned the depths of my inner being, and I opened myself up to expressing myself through writing. For whatever reason (possibly due to grief), I could never express how I felt knowing my mum would pass away. The hard road that was to result with hospital stays, code blue emergencies, and staying the course to have mum die at home with my sister and myself as her carers. So during this time, the whole six months of pain, I wrote. I wrote a lot, and most of it was words without an explanation — just thoughts, feelings, and anger. But I wrote and tried to make sense of it. Sometimes it was logical, and other times it was me trying to crack myself open to expose the vulnerable side. So where will this lead — I don’t know yet. But I do know I love doing this, and it’s helped me uncover myself from the inside out — or begin my healing process. What would be the benefit of your current hurtful or harmful situation? What is your seed of an equivalent benefit?

Two: Your friends can come to you during different stages in your life — and be a lot older (or younger).

You never know who you might meet in your life; that will help give you advice, guidance or a kick in the backside! It’s strange because now I’m in my 40’s I never thought I would meet more people who I can connect with and love on a deeper level. I was utterly wrong, and I opened myself up to the possibility of having very unconventional friends — both male and female. It so happens that the people I have developed deep and meaningful friendships with now are two women who are a lot older than I am. One is my mum’s age — which I thought was quite strange. However, I took a liking to her instantly. When my mum was close to her death, these two women provided so much love, guidance and compassion. I was amazed by how lucky I was to have met these two powerhouses — both knew mum well and seemed to take on the new role of a mother hen in my life. Maybe I lost my birth mother, but I also gained two other extraordinary women with whom I can turn to at any time for support and kindness. I’m very grateful.

Three: Put yourself first as you deserve to feel good too

As a woman, I felt guilty for putting myself first. So I hid my feelings, desires and my true nature. I was scared most times of being ridiculed and called selfish. The guilt becomes magnified when we have kids because they should become our number one priority at the expense of ourselves. To think otherwise would make you even less of a mother. There came a time when I became very resentful. Why is it that I was working hard, slaving away with home chores and never allowing myself to feel good about the small things I wanted? That ranged from buying myself some clothing, shoes or even just colouring out my greys. These are small things, and why don’t we allow ourselves to feel good about what will make us happy? If we are happy, that radiates to the rest of the world, especially those around us. I came of age when I started buying things without guilt — knowing I was worth it. But, you know what, we are worth it! It doesn’t have to be a grand scale reflection — just something that makes us warm and fuzzy on the inside. Life is fleeting, and without some comforts, then what is all our hard work for anyway? Do spoil yourself on those extraordinary things; your children will do the same when it’s their time to feel parental guilt — because we all do. Allow them to understand that it’s safe and in their own right to do things that give them joy — without guilt. Our children want us to be happy.

Four: Embrace death as you would when a baby is born

We all celebrate life — because babies are a blessing, and they are our very own child, nephew, brother, sister or perhaps a cousin. Babies are born every second of every day, and when they come into our lives, it’s beautiful. We smile, laugh and grow them up. But then, life becomes endless feeding, burping, changing nappies, settling and sleep. That goes on for years, and those years pass by us in the blink of an eye. Death, on the other hand, is silent — unspoken and dark. It’s a place we know will call our name sooner or later — although we pray that it’s not when we are young.

But death’s calling can happen whilst we have an illness, or maybe it could happen suddenly without warning. When our time is written in the book of the afterlife — there is no turning back. I didn’t want to know death at all — especially knowing that mum would pass away. She was and still is the most important person in my life. I didn’t want to let her go — and I still can’t. I watched her deteriorate after she came out of hospital for the last time. It was one of the most brutal two weeks of my life. Those final two weeks tested both my sister and me on a spiritual, mental and emotional level. We only had each other to turn to, and the nurses through palliative care. But we did it; we got through it as hard as it was. No one told us about the outcome, other than it would eventually end. Death is yet another natural and unknown progression of life — because as life begins, eventually it will end. It was beautiful to see her take her last breath — a blessing and also heartache. She was finally at rest — her body let go. I’ll never forget that moment, and death no longer scares me. Death is this — the endless sleep blessed upon us. She is resting in peace.

Five: Everything is impermanent — everything

Moments disappear — people come and go. We may lose our job, or the company we work for shuts its doors. Life and everything in it are impermanent. I learnt now to enjoy the moment I have — even though I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Developing this skill was something that tore me up inside when I knew mum would pass away. I kept telling myself to enjoy the seconds, even though I was stressing about her departing; it was all unknown — but that’s the beauty of it. Some things are in our control — and some are not. So be the kind of person who takes things as they uncover in life. That will allow you to enjoy it and not stress out too much trying to discover the next step. But, of course, we don’t have as much control over everything as we’d like, and that’s ok. That step will come, and the last one will dissolve. So be grateful for everything but detach from it all. Enjoy today because that day will never happen again. As I grow older, life becomes an evolving reel of motion and emotion. Right now, with the loss of mum, I’m finding it challenging to accept and let go. So perhaps this is my lesson to learn — and maybe you’re learning it too. As with anything that blesses our path of life, it’s always going to be complicated -and then it won’t be. But, unfortunately, we will have to make the transition from right now to over on the other side — in due course. Just breathe and let it evolve as it needs to, and intervene when the time is right.

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