Thursday, May 14, 2015

Life Lessons I learned In My Twenties

You will regret not taking chances.
Risks are worth taking.

While there are a few things that I would be thrilled to take back, my biggest regrets are actually the experiences that I missed because I was afraid to take chances.  A lifetime used to seem so very long, and I believed that I would certainly have another opportunity.  With each passing year I have began to realize many opportunities are truly "once in a lifetime".  How many amazing memories would I have made if I had traveled more when the opportunities presented themselves?  How fun would it be to brag about meeting Taylor Swift had I not been too timid to introduce myself when my boyfriend (currently known as my Dear Hubby) encouraged me to talk to Taylor when I ran into her at a festival back before she was a household name?

I think of the chances that I did take and how wonderfully they turned out.  Had I never taken the time to chat with a stranger with an interesting accent at the bus stop I may have never met my soulmate.  Despite my career mentors' advice to wait to start a family, I decided to follow my heart and was gifted with my beautiful Miss Cupcake and the opportunity to attend graduate school.  Regardless of the fact that money would be tight with only one income, I risked financial security to be a stay at home mom and have experienced moments that I will treasure forever.  Life is about taking chances.  Some of the chances that I take will bring about magical moments.  Some will cause me to fall flat on my face.  I will never know unless I try.

A Rough Patch Does Not Equal A Bad Life.
Life is a gift.

I remember sitting cross-legged on the nursery floor holding my screaming little Cupcake.  Tears poured down both of our faces.  We had been up all night and every night for the last seven months.  Forty-five minutes was the longest period of time I had slept since giving birth.  I could no longer form a coherent thought.  After being up all night, I spent the entire day listening to the blood curdling cries of my child.  I tried everything in my power to soothe her, but the doctors informed me that there was little to be done regarding her severe colic.  She would grow out of it.  Probably.  I lived hours away from family.  My Dear Hubby was incredibly supportive, but he worked all day.  I felt so helpless and exhausted (that truly does not seem like a strong enough word to describe my state of fatigue).  

I will always remember the morning when I woke up at 6am in a state of panic when I realized that it had been hours since I had hear a peep from my baby girl.  I literally ran to her crib to find my seven month old snoozing peacefully.  Tears poured down my face, but this time they were tears of joy.  I had just gotten four hours of glorious sleep, and I was ready to take on the world!

There have been many rough patches, such as my horrific colic experience, that caused me to temporally pity myself or believe that I had a less that magnificent life.  I was dreadfully wrong.  Those sleeplessness months and hiccups along the way have helped me enjoy the many blessings in my life all the more.

People will hurt you, but you can't stop trusting.
Shutting out the world is not a longterm solution to pain.

There have been moments in my life when my heart has been literally shattered into a million pieces.  People who I believed to my dearest friends turned out to be less than loyal.  Relationships failed in ways that I could never have imagined.  My fragile spirit was afraid to let people in again.  I spent the greatest part of my twenties with everyone carefully held at an arms length.  The little bubble that I had formed around my heart was not easily penetrated.  There was little chance of being hurt again, but I was dreadfully lonely.

Somewhere along the way I met a few genuine and honest people who took the time to chisel away at the wall I had built.  I eventually developed a handful of friendships who meant the world to me and fell in love with my best friend.  I began to use my intuition to distinguish who was trustworthy and learned that a few true friends are far superior that a wide circle of casual acquaintances.  I also discovered that there are many hurting people out there who are also struggling to trust.  Being a trustworthy and loyal friend has ultimitely attracted positive people into my life.

Not everyone is going to like you.  And that is perfectly alright.
I do not particularly like everyone.  Why should I expect everyone to think I am fabulous?

With a bit of shame I admit that I do not handle rejection incredibly well.  I have a strong desire to be liked and approved of by others.  Despite my numerous charming qualities (haha), there are those who simply do not enjoy my company or appreciate what I have to offer.  While it is tempting to be bitter or hold ill feelings towards those who do not particularly care for me, I have learned that not everyone will - or even should - like me.  Sometimes personalities simply do not mesh or life goals are distinctly contradicting.  There are individuals who I avoid because they annoy or frustrate me.  How can I possibly expect everyone to like me?  The answer is simple: I can not.  Not everyone is going to enjoy being around me.  And that has nothing to do with my worth as a person... or theirs.

You are the only one responsible for living your dreams, and it's never too late to live an extraordinary life.
Life is what I make of it.  I will choose to make it amazing.

The beginning of this new era has caused me to ponder what I have done with the last thirty years.  Quite frankly, my life has little resemblance to the one I once envisioned.  In many ways my life is unmeasurably superior to the one I imagined.  Nevertheless, there are choices that my younger self made that set me back or caused me to detour from my dreams.  It is tempting to blame the less than desirable outcomes on unfortunate circumstances or the malicious acts of others.

I refuse to fall prey to the victim mindset.  Everyone experiences pains and is treated unfairly at some point.  Successful people simply make a decision that regardless of their misfortune and unpleasant situations, they will choose to live in a way that brings joy to themselves and those around them.  I often think of Helen Keller, who lost her senses of sight and hearing when she contracted scarlet fever before she was two years old.  She was trapped in a world without sight or sound.  To be quite honest, little was expected of her.  Regardless of her misfortune, Helen Keller raised 2 million dollars for the American Foundation for the Blind, published 14 books, and was the first deaf and blind person to graduate with a  college degree.  She also met every President of the United States from Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy.  No one would have blamed Keller if she had lived out her life bitter and unaccomplished.  Yet, she chose to live an extraordinary life.

During my morning stroll to the beach I happened to meet an elderly lady who simply radiated with positive energy and was eager to tell me about the many adventures she had experienced.  With much passion she described the thirty years she had enjoyed flying her small plane with her beloved husband.  This encounter reminded me that only a tiny segment of my life is over.  At ninety-six, this spunky lady has experienced life in excess of three times longer than me and is still going strong.

I can not change the past thirty years, but the rest of my life will be what I make of it.
Today I choose to make my life extraordinary.


  1. These are fantastic and so suitable for young girls and boys... I love a rough patch does not mean a bad life.. fantastic.

  2. Brilliant message. Love it! I think most of us are guilty of not always seizing those moments.


  3. Wow this is such a positive post! I can relate to the rough patch with a collicky baby but I don't think it lasted 7 months on that little sleep! I guess anything life throws at you after that is a piece of cake! X #brilliantblogposts

  4. Such an insightful post. All these lessons are so important and often forgotten.
    I congratulate you for getting through that awful patch of colic, what a testing time!
    I couldn't agree more that we appreciate the good times far more because of the bad times we endure.
    Great post, I'm so glad I came across this on #BrilliantBlogPost

  5. It's odd how our lives often turn out much different from what we envisioned when we wre younger. For you and for me too, life is in many ways better, even though on the surface it's not (I am unemployed, not living independently, etc.). I do not regret many opportunities I took, but I do regret not taking some chances. In this sense, your first life lesson makes perfect sense. #BrilliantBlogPosts

  6. From my now 21-year-old self, thank you. This is great! I'll be sharing it in a Links I Love link round-up at the end of a coming month for all my twenty-something friends to dive into, too.


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