There is no doubt that when I reflect back on the last 10 years of my life that I don’t want to cringe, bust into tears, laugh, and smile all at the same.
I look at the cost of my wedding and the money I spend on ONE trip and realize that I could have probably had my down payment for my house. I look at the things I have “lost” and all the wonderful memories I have gained. I see so many- that somehow- looked past my worst of worst days- my flakyness (yes)- and my bad attitude (yes,again) and somehow stayed in my life (thank you!).
There are a couple of big life lessons that I feel all of us learn over the course of time. I have not spent much time writing in my blog and i thought- with Lola down for a nap, and Kingston playing basketball with his daddy I would reflect.
1. Say What You Mean.
This is one thing I am going to work on. “I’d love to go with you to ______” The time comes to go and I find myself so busy that I can’t even muster up the time to fit it in my schedule. That makes me sad because I didn’t do what I said and it also makes my family or friends not ask me to do things. My 20’s have taught me to say what I mean- pause before you answer- think before you say.
2. When if comes to your dreams- find your avenue.
I believe with no doubt in my mind that if you want something bad enough you can have it. Find your route. Make a plan. Write it down- and try it. If it isn’t working- give it a few more days, months, or a year… scribble it out and write a new route. You are the one that can navigate where you want to go. You’ve got the power to change it all. Keep driving.
3. Surround Yourself with ______ (like minded, positive, happy, inspirational) People.
A support system is just that- support. If you find yourself around people who are not supportive you might not win. How can you build a great life without support. I have found that the greatest support hasn’t just come from my family- but my friends, my professors, and sometimes even complete strangers who took the time to listen to something I had to say and said “I want to help you.”.
4. Tell Your Story.
People want to hear it- if you are trying to write a “happy ending”. I have met some of the best people because I have told many stories. All true- if you can believe it. Tell it- and tell it well. You never know who it can help.
5. You are Going to Fail and it won’t be Pretty- at first.
If I told you how many times I’ve failed you might wonder why I still try- and I fail on a daily basis- Didn’t wake up for the gym today, put two different shoes on my kids, that audit at work- well, it could have been better.
The best part of failure – if you can get past that big ego in the way- is that you learn. You learn a very important lesson when you fail. I sat the bench my Junior year of high school during our state championship game, I was rejected from nursing school twice, It rained on my wedding day, failed out of my second semester by 0.5%, I didn’t speak up for my baby- and he died, my list goes on… All of these have taught me valuable life lessons. One of the biggest lessons I hope over all is that when my children fail- because they will- that I will be there to help them search for the lesson- the bigger picture.
6. Feel Confident in YOUR Decision
I am the worst at making up my mind. I think of everyone in the equation. I am certain the past 10 years have helped me to feel more confident when I make a decision that it’s the right one.
7. Thank you Cheerleader
I wrote a little blog about finding your cheerleader. I was doing a presentation that day and no one wanted to be there. It was obvious. It was a presentation on kick counting and the nurses were not happy to be there. I was taking time out of their busy schedule. I felt slightly defeated and I wanted to get the heck out of there. That was until a woman – a childbirth educator came in and was so excited to meet ME. She held my hand- sat down and helped me get my message across. Instead of the meeting ending with me in tears walking out of the hospital it ended with my fire still lit and realizing that there will always be someone around that believes in you. Look for that person and THANK THEM. When people believe in people it changes EVERYTHING. And I advise anyone in a career where you mentor when you see passion in someone- to create an environment where you help people grow- be their cheerleader- they will remember that.
8. Work for a Greater Love.
I have been alongside my sweet husband since I was 19 years old. We’ve been through many things and I would say that 26-29 was a little shaky. Not in a way that we didn’t love one another but there was a lot going on. I changed jobs 3 times, We had 3 babies, I weight 70 pounds more than I did on my wedding day, I wasn’t the easiest person to be around…
We work on it. We talk. He’s there. I’m here. We are present. We talk a lot about our goals- what we want for our kids- ourselves- and we make it happen. He needs to go do this “Ok go do it, how long will you be?” I want to go shopping on the 20th, “Ok”, he says “I’d like to go hunting on the 18th”. “Sure”. We work hard as both full time nurses trying to run a 24/7 farm- BUT whenever one of us wants to say “this is too much” we remind each other that we are blessed beyond measure to have each other- have careers that realistically allow us to have a “farm” and that we are everyday working on a greater love. We respect each other and we work hard to keep one another happy. There is nothing I am more thankful for than my husband and the love he has for me.
9. Be grateful
For it all. It has to be for it all. How can I be grateful that Leo isn’t here? I can. And I will tell you why. The first thing I thought about after Leo died was that I wanted to be happy. I began immediately trying to figure out how a mother who’s second son died would look like. It would be me. I wanted to be a good mother for Kingston. I wanted to be emotionally present or him. I dove into something that would allow me to know Leo had a purpose. That lead me to “Count the Kicks” and being the Kentucky Ambassador. How can I honor Leo if I am not grateful for him? The lessons he taught me- although are hard lessons- gritting teeth- tears on my cheek- hard lessons. But I am so thankful for him. He is the one that made me a better mother- a more compassionate person- a little bit more cautious- but I feel loving and full of purpose. Without him I wouldn’t know a lot of the more inspiring families that I know. Without him I wouldn’t look at life in the way that I do- colors are brighter- time is more precious- and I am grateful for that.
People. Birthdays. Birthdays have always been special. What day is better than the one you were born? You are hear – living breathing- and you have the ability to do amazing things- CELEBRATE! Celebrate your life accomplishments- it’s why we are here after all. Celebrate your beautiful life.
And there they are. The lessons that have brought me into my 30th year. It has been a wild ride and there is no doubt that there won’t be bumps in the road ahead. There is nothing I know more than that you life can change in an instant. Are we ready? I am. I think, I hope. I do know that I have met the most supportive and present people in my 30 years of living. I am so appreciative to all my family and friends-my cheerleaders- near and far for helping me see that this life is so so special.