Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Listography: Top 5 Life Lessons

Listography has reappeared on Kate Takes 5 (hooray!) with the Top 5 Life Lessons. Follow the link to read some of the other entries.

What are the top 5 lessons I've learned that you may not see on a fridge magnet? The fridge magnet lessons are good but we all know them and even though we know them, we don't always live by them. Here are my Top 5 Life Lessons that have actually changed my life.

1. Some things change with time anyway.
I was always a night person and if I made it to bed before 2am I'd be reading till the small hours. Consequently, I could lie in bed in the morning till lunchtime (and beyond). On the other hand, I firmly agreed with the old rhyme: Early to bed, early to rise, makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy and wise. So I spent years of my life fighting my natural bio-rhythms and trying to be a morning person. One day I realized that I'd become a morning person without even noticing.

I used to procrastinate over homework to the extent of not doing it at all. I believe it was more than just laziness, such was the effort it took to sit and get started, although I'm not sure what it was exactly. This affliction continued into adulthood with preparing lessons and housework. Until the day I realized that I now eagerly rush through jobs so that I can  tick them off my list. (It's not the list, I always made lists.) I don't know when or how I changed but it happened. Maybe it's a matter of maturity or maybe hormonal changes calming ADD tendencies - who knows?

2. A parent's greatest resource is parents with older children.
We had a three-day activity camp over half term and you could pay by the day. I needed to send DD on the first day as I had to work but after that it was her choice. When I took her on the first day I found out that they were going swimming on the second day. DD can't swim, she can't dry or dress herself alone, she's never been to that pool, the camp was for K, 1st grade and 2nd grade together and DD was the youngest kid from Kindergarten. There was no way she was going swimming with them even though the leader promised me she would help her dress. Then I spoke to mothers from the camp who had older children who had been there before. I trusted their judgement, DD went swimming and had the time of her life.

One of the parents from  my after school 'Learning to Read English Group' almost cancelled as her daughter was worrying about being picked up from Kindergarten by another parent and brought to my place when she doesn't even know me. The other, more experienced, parent advised her that it was worth her while to take an hour off work to bring her daughter herself the first time. She did that and the little girl now comes to English happily with her friend's mum. Not rocket science I know, but sometimes it takes a parent who's already been there to see the obvious solution.

3. Homework is for life but you want this.
It was a grey day when I realized that all jobs that are worth doing and bring the most rewards, come with some kind of homework (preparation, accounts, paperwork...) However, unless you want to work for someone else on minimum pay, you will actually look for a job with homework. Not for the homework, obviously, but because the alternative is likely to be less rewarding, either financially or emotionally, or both.

4. Facebook, twitter and blogs don't necessarily tell you about a person's real life.
Sometimes, usually at the end of a busy work day when DD won't go to bed and I've not prepared my lessons for tomorrow, it's hard to see yet another status from a friend who seems to spend her life jet-setting around the world on business. What she never mentions is that she never sees her family, her teenage daughters hate her, her husband is threatening to divorce her, she lives in dread of the nanny letting her down, and she suffers from chronic back pain which is getting worse. (I made all that up but you know what I mean.)

I do have a friend who I keep up with via facebook statuses and I assumed I knew basically what was happening in her life. It wasn't until we met up after not seeing each other in the flesh for almost two years, that she told me her husband had been out of a job for almost a year and they were not in good shape. As she pointed out to me, there are some things you don't put on facebook.

5. Your desires change with the circumstances of your life.
When a friend of mine who had been an ambitious businessman, became ill with an auto-immune disease, suddenly all he wanted was to be able to walk a bit, wash and dress himself, and make himself a cup of tea - and to live of course. Had he been given even that limited life, he would have been very grateful.

As a single mother, all I want now is for us both to be healthy, and to be able to cover my bills comfortably, and save money for emergencies and some nice treats. A big difference from the days when I wanted to be a famous actress or, failing that, to be Princess Diana. Given the choice now, I wouldn't want to be famous or even an actress. If you'd told the teenage me that I'd be happy to be a single mother living in my own apartment and working as a teacher, I'd have doubted that could be me. But it is.

26 comments:

  1. Wow this post rocks. Love your list xx

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  2. It is funny how we think we know people and about their lives through what we read on FB and Twitter etc. Loved this list post x

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    1. Thanks. I try to remember that every time I see another photo of someone in a posh hotel somewhere exotic or jaunting around Europe. It can seem like everyone has this amazing life while you're stuck at home doing the dishes. One thing I tend to forget is that all these photos aren't the same person - LOL

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  3. #2 is so true! I have a friend also with 3 boys with the same age gaps as I have. They are each 6 years older than my boys. So I continue to look to her for advice and support, even though my oldest 2 are almost 21 and 19!! Seeing how her kids have handled certain milestones is very reassuring and I get a lot of comfort from her experiences.
    There should be a warning on FB like on cigarettes, saying if you are feeling anxious, vulnerable, insecure, miserable or having a crisis today do not under any circumstances go on FB and look at your friends' updates!! :-) Gilly

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    1. I don't know why I never replied to this at the time. Good thinking about fb Gilly.

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  4. Love your list. And it is true some things change anyway no matter how much we might try.

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    1. If only I'd known then, I wouldn't have beaten myself up about it, I'd simply have waited. :)

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  5. Excellent post. Everything from the title onwards is a grabber. I know what you're saying about people not sharing the downs on fb only the ups and also the idea of being contented with our part and not seeking the grandiose. Keep up the good work.

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    1. Judy I think you've described it better than I did. I also thnk that some f being contented with our lot is knowing how much worse it could be and being thankful not to be in that lower place.

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  6. Have loved all of the advice in these posts so far. There are some very wise women out there!! :)

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    1. I know, I've read a couple but I must go back and read some more. Some of the more light-hearted and funny ones are often the most insightful.

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  7. Your conclusion makes me very glad for you. It takes most of us many years before we learn to count our blessings.

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    1. I think you need to have been to the edge and looked down before it can happen.

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  8. I entered my 30s and I'm very much at a crossroads. In-between worrying/making plans about the future and reflecting/coming to terms with the past (for the first time, it feels like a life with history) - I take great comfort in focusing on what's important in life.I'm still wondering about becoming a morning person without noticing but especially 5 is something I'm really thinking about...

    Besides, what about dating? It doesn't really come up.

    Your reader from Germany.

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    1. Thank you for your comment and i wish you luck with everything. About dating - I refer you to number 4 :).

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    2. I see ;-) If I decide to move to Israel and need a room, I'll let you know -- not the plan at the moment.

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  9. You are one wise lady. I like that your life lessons are actually things that you have learned rather than things we know to be true but ignore anyway..

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    1. Of course I'm still striving to be the perfect fridge magnet but in the meantime this is what I've got. ;)

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    2. LOL - I've just realized who you are. I went to read Kate Gunn as she's commented on all the other Listographies so it was the least I could do.....

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  10. A thought provoking listography. It's so true what you say about Social media. I'd like to believe that we really don't know people fully through our blogs etc. And I'd certainky lkie to believe that tere are lots of things I don't share!

    Great post.

    xx Jazzy

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    1. I'm sure there's loads you don't share. The funny thing is when less social networking friends tell you that 'you put everything on facebook!' Obviously we choose what to publish.

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  11. So glad that Listography is back, even though I didn't feel I had enough to offer to take part this time - I certainly don't after reading your post: you are simply the best at this kind of post, as you say, not a whiff of fridge magnet here at all. Really thought-provoking xx

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    1. Since writing it I've thought of more of course. But there's nothing very profound here, just what I've observed and experienced. Thank you though. :)

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  12. This is a fabulous post.... very wise and very down to earth. I loved points 1, 4 and 5, and so very true about social media, you only see one dimension of a person's life. Point 5 was very moving. X

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    1. Thank you, I'm still amazed at point 5 myself.

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