Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Few Lessons

The last ten years of my life have been filled with tragedy and triumph, sadness and joy, pain and pleasure. hatred and love, strife and unity, explosive confrontations and unexplainable peace, brokenness and healing, sickness and improved health, and lots and lots of lessons. Ten years ago, I sincerely thought I was pretty smart, advanced, and mature for my age. I now realize that while I may have indeed been sharp for my age, I basically was young and inexperienced, which often translates into dumb. In the last ten years, I found myself in so many situations that left me feeling helpless and utterly baffled. So many times, my youth/inexperience left me searching for answers, advice, and direction.

But I don't despise the experiences. Those painful, confusing, and sometimes shattering experiences molded me into the woman that I am now. For many years, I didn't feel like an adult. I was an adult by age. But for some reason, I thought of myself as a girl. Now, I know that I am a woman. To tell you the truth, I feel that I have developed into a fine piece of work.

I'm kind of ashamed to say that I haven't really learned much in 2006. So, I won't say that. I'll just say that nothing really comes to mind. 2006 was kind of like a breather for me. The formidable years were filled with such hardship, I really got a chance to recover and rest in 2006. Well, not really... But 2006 was definitely a change for the better.

So, I will take this time to focus on what I have learned in the last 10 years. I'll be brief. In fact, I will only make mention of 5 important lessons I learned. There not the most important lessons... Just what comes to mind this morning...

1. Self care should top our list of priorities.
While putting others before yourself may indeed be noble on some level, it's not always smart. We must learn to take care of ourselves and then shift our strength to taken care of others. If we are not healthy/whole, we will continue to fracture and fragment ourselves when reaching out to others. Before you know it, you will have diminished and withered into what you do not deserve to be.

2. "It's not what you know, it's what you can prove."
A line from one of my favorite films, Training Day. Unfortunately, I learned that hard lesson first hand. Our family was embroiled in a heated legal issue. Boy, that set of circumstances still makes me feel dizzy. One thing I learned is that you should rely on facts that can be tested. I learned not to accuse someone of doing something, unless I can prove it. I also learned not to make judgements based on rumors and hearsay. That ain't cool.

3. I learned that it is always better to be smart and not emotional.
Well, maybe I should say that I learned to balance the two. Too often, women abandoned all sound reasoning and jump on the bumpy hay ride of emotions. Being an overly emotional sister, who makes all of her decisions based on how she is feeling, is not a good look. It's okay to listen to the heart. But some emotions are not even logical. If sisters would think, rather than relying on their feelings, they would find themselves less likely to be stuck in the turmoil that they so often find themselves pinned under.

4. Life is not fair.
I think I have always thought that life wasn't fair. Well, I know it now. I saw the woman I love, my mother, transform into a less vibrant, confused, angry, sometimes hopeless woman. Who was the culprit that cause that sudden change? A stroke... It changed her life and ours, her children, forever. I know that she doesn't deserve the deck she's been dealt. I'm not saying this because she's my mother either. She really did deserve more than the life is she living today.

5. I am in charge of my happiness.
Basically, I'm in charge of all of my emotions. Because they are my emotions, I should budget them like I would do anything else. Plus, it's no one else's job to see to it that I am happy. That's my job. I'm on a quest to discover, apprehend, and handcuff myself to what makes me happy.

No comments: