In homage to my birthday month and Mother’s Day, I wanted to write about something a little different from fitness and health. This post is about some major life lessons that I learned from my parents that have shaped who I am as a person. I’m hoping that some of these lessons will be a little motivation to help you get through the day.
Perhaps to the mothers reading this, you might find that your crazy teenage daughter will eventually appreciate everything you’re doing for her. That rebellious crazy teenager was me at one point.
And mom, if you’re reading this, you were right. About everything.
I think a major sign of growing older is that we realize our parents were right about many things. There’s a difference between “growing older” and “aging.” Aging represents the natural and unavoidable physical changes that occur in our bodies over time. When people tell me, “Oh you’re so young still,” they are most definitely talking about how well I am aging. However, most people don’t know the experiences we’ve been through in this life. And these experiences are what have caused us, and myself, to grow older. This post is about growing older.
Here are some signs I’ve noticed for myself that indicate I’m getting older, despite still appearing young.
- When you start choosing shoes for comfort rather than style. I have recently decided to get rid of ALL my high heels. And I often find myself searching for sneakers that are work appropriate. (Can this please be a thing in 2017?!)
- When you wake up early even when you have the choice to sleep in. In contrast, going to bed early with the option to stay up.
- Looking forward to a dull evening. This is literally my favorite thing to look forward to, aside from the gym.
- When coffee starts to become a necessity rather than a delicious status symbol. “Look how cool I am with my macchiato,” becomes “Yes, give me that extra shot please!”
- When you’d rather eat in than out.
- You can hear yourself, and you sound just like your parents…
Which leads me right to the life lessons I actually learned from my parents.
Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
I remember when I was in middle school practicing golf with my dad (the only sport I’ve ever played). He would always guide me towards making sure I was conscious of every swing. “There’s no sense in coming out here and whacking the ball a million times. That’s practice. You need to be aware and focus on every shot. That’s perfect practice.” This has translated over to my life and the skills I try to develop. It even carries over to the gym. Every single rep is a conscious effort made with mind-muscle connection. There’s no sense in going to the gym and lifting the weight a million times if your form is crappy. Perfect practice, perfect form… that’s how you grow.
Nobody has to like you.
A harsh lesson to learn as a 10 year old. I would come home to my parents, sad and confused because the girls at school wouldn’t like the same things I liked. I liked hide-n-go-seek, they liked Pretty Pretty Princess. I liked to make balls out of mud, they liked to steal their mothers’ makeup.
Needless to say, my dad told me when I was a very young girl that, “Jon, nobody has to like you.” (My family and friends call me Jon). And that set the tone for my entire life. It was actually a huge relief. At a young age, I was taught that I could be myself and do the things I wanted to do because nobody else has to like those things. This principle freed me from conforming, and that’s why I am who I am today.
Health is an investment and always worth it.
I have my mom to thank for this lesson. She always stressed the importance of eating healthy foods. While other kids went to school with chips and junky food, my mom made sure we had fruits, like grapes and berries. When I was younger, this was ultra embarrassing. I mean, what kid chooses an apple over Pringles? ..weirdos probably hehe.
But now that I’m, older, I can see how right she was about these food choices. My mom would buy the cheapest clothes for us, but the most healthy fresh foods. Material things fade, health is with you as long as you live.
A good walk can heal anything.
During tough times, my dad and I would take a walk around the neighborhood. We would talk about everything that we were going through at the time. It was always such a refreshing feeling to get it all out in the world. To this day, when I have issues going on, I take a walk and it helps clear my mind and find answers.
Everything can be fixed with a little extra work.
If you know my mom, you know that she can fix anything. Bring her your broken toys, furniture, jewelry, and she will patch them up, good as new. Instead of giving up on something, she will first try to mend it. I take this same outlook on a lot of things in my life. Instead of looking at something that is broken and saying, “oh well, I’ll throw this out and get a new one,” I first figure out if there is a way to salvage the damage. And I have found that, with this approach, there is usually always a way to repair something. It just takes a little extra work and determination.
If you’re on time, you’re late.
Thanks dad, for your military background instilling this principle into my brain. My family was the type to be at the door of a theme park right when it opens. We were at least 15 minutes early for EVERYTHING. My parents would rush us out of the house just to wait for place to open. “Hurry up and wait,” as they say in the military. But thankfully this principle has kept me from ever being late to work, or meetings, or hanging out with friends. When I tell you I’ll meet you somewhere, you can bet I’ll be there before you.
Stick to one thing.
Growing up, I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to be. As a child, I would start various little projects and never finish them because I would become more interested in the next project. In my teen years, I would read books and not finish them because I was so eager to start a different and more interesting book. As an adult, I changed my major over 5 times my freshman year because I had no idea what I wanted. Everything sounded so ridiculously amazing, that I had a hard time choosing ONE THING. My mom has been trying to tell me this since I was a little girl. “Finish what you start. Stick to one thing and become really good at it.” I should have listened. Some of the top self-help books today express this message heavily.
My “one thing” for the last year has been health and fitness. I absolutely love what I am learning about the human body and its capabilities.
You’re never too old to be silly and fun.
My mom is a prankster. She’s the type of person who can laugh during prayer, but will also stop in awe of a bird’s nest being built. “See the world through the eyes of a child,” she would say. She taught me to find the beauty in everything, small or large. She taught me to relax when things seem out of control. She showed me how much better life is when you spend the majority of your time laughing. Because of this, I consider myself a happy person. I grew up knowing that it’s okay to be silly, and I’m so thankful of this.
Be nice to people because you never know what they are going through.
My parents have been through some SHIT. There, I said it. Both of them have dealt with things that nobody should have to deal with. Looking back at my family’s lives, we all definitely deserved better in this world. And when I take a look at all of our lives retrospectively, I realize that the things that happened to us could happen to anyone. It’s hard to accept, but a lot of people have it worse. Because of this life lesson, I am kind. There’s a reason why rude customers don’t bother me at work. I forgive them and move on. You can often find me saying, “you never know what people are going through.” Perhaps my family could have been dealt better cards, but at least there is such a positive lesson learned. I wouldn’t trade my wisdom from experiences for an easier past.
Time heals everything.
In regards to what my family has been through, we are all living life amazingly now. I cannot count how often I thought life would never be as good as it once was. But boy, was I wrong. Looking back, I can’t believe I am where I am now. I have a supportive husband who would do anything for me. I have a wonderful relationship with both my parents. I am loved. And I love those who I interact with. The person I am today is because of the experiences I’ve had, and my parent’s valuable lessons (that I bet they had no idea they were teaching!).