Throughout my daughter’s life I’ve always used thrown out the term “life lesson” when I wanted her to learn from what I was saying. I can’t remember when I started saying it, but it’s something that’s always been ‘our thing’.
Sometimes she listened. I’m sure most times she didn’t in those days. It was “just another of Mum’s rants…” At least that’s what I got from the teenage grunts, eye rolls and body language.
The day before she left home – and boy is that is still a hard sentence to write! – I gave her a letter with many of the life lessons I shared with her over the years. You know, in case she wasn’t listening…
It’s been five and half years now since she’s left home and – shock horror!- she has paid attention. Well, to the important ones anyway. So, I share them with you.
43 Life Lessons from Your Mother:
Life Lesson #1. There is no #1 lesson in life.
Life Lesson #2. Never ever settle. Live your dreams, in life and in love. Go with your instincts always and ignore whatever others tell you (excluding me, of course!).
Life Lesson #3. Travel far and wide. Don’t just exist in your life. Live it. (Yeah, I know, I harp this one too but I MEAN it.)
Life Lesson #4. Live in the country for part of your life. Be with nature for a while. Get in touch with your genetic hippy-ness. Seriously, it will make you appreciate life more.
Life Lesson #5. Never stop writing. It’s a great outlet. Never, ever stop.
Life Lesson #6. Perfect 5 recipes. That way you’ll be set for any occasion and you’ll be able to stick to a budget. And make sure it’s more than just pasta.
Life Lesson #7. Live beneath your means. ALWAYS. This will give you the freedom to live the life you want. Don’t be trapped by the credit card lure or keeping up with the Jones’ next door.
Life Lesson #8. Be open to true love. When it finds you, take it in, savour it and never let it go. It’s the best part of life there is.
Life Lesson #9. To know when green beans are ripe, they will be a beautiful, solid green, firm and when you’re ready them to cook them, snap off the ends. Don’t cut them. Same goes for asparagus.
Life Lesson #10. Don’t believe you know all the answers. Ever. Be open to others thoughts and opinions. Listen to what others say before expressing your opinion. Think about what they have to say.
Life Lesson #11. Make time to journal, meditate, think through things. Find quiet time to do this. It will help process everything before making any decisions in life.
Life Lesson #12. It doesn’t matter what exercise you do; just find something you enjoy and do it. Don’t let your body let you down to live the life you want to live.
Life Lesson #13. Make a menu for the week, so you know what groceries to buy. This will keep you from impulse buying at the shops and it will keep you on budget.
Life Lesson #14. For the freshest fruit and veg, hit up the farmer’s markets.
Life Lesson #15. Fresh sheets on the bed are a great way to start off a week, or if you’re stressed, a great way to relax you.
Life Lesson #16. Communicate with your mother. Constantly. Tell her what you’re doing, feeling, thinking, hating, loving, liking, confused about. Don’t make her have to ask. 😉
Life Lesson #17. Don’t be afraid to leap. Make mistakes because that’s how you learn in life. The key is not to have any regrets.
Life Lesson #18. Believe that you are just as smart, as beautiful, as capable as the next person. Everyone has their quirks and their insecurities. Even those skinny girls who look like they came out of the fashion pages and the kids that got 99 on their ATARs (they may not have any common sense).
Life Lesson #19. As soon as you start earning money, no matter what job it is, put some aside for your retirement. You may not think it’s important, but no one will be there to pay you when you’re 65 except you. And if you have no money by then, well, you’re screwed. Live life in the moment, but always invest in the future. Always. I can’t stress this one enough.
Life Lesson #20. Save a little of your pay check toward your ‘nest egg’. It may only be $1 in the beginning, but that nest egg will allow you to quit that insane job that you hate, that’s making you insane and sick, to live the life you want (sound familiar?). Without the nest egg, you’re going from one job to the next.
Life Lesson #21. Better yet, find what you are passionate about in life and go for it. Find a way to make money doing it.
Life Lesson #22. Always have medical insurance. You never know when you may need it. Shit happens. Best to be covered. This goes for travel insurance as well.
Life Lesson #23. Recycle. The world is going to flood if you don’t, if it doesn’t burn up first. Recycle. Recycle. Recycle. The power of recycling should never be underestimated.
Life Lesson #24. Be frugal. You don’t need all that stuff. Experiences last forever, stuff fades. Question your purchases. Throw out one thing before you bring in another. Seriously, don’t be that consumer.
Life Lesson #25. Keep your fridge clean and organized. There’s nothing worse than finding a science experiment in your fridge first thing in the morning. (I’m just going to hurl, brb).
Life Lesson #26. Don’t become addicted to cafés or smoothie bars. They will suck you dry financially. Find a way to have what you want at home and keep going out as a treat.
Life Lesson #27. Be creative. This is a left brain/right brain thing. You will find you’re more balanced if you keep a creative outlet.
Life Lesson #28. Your mother is not always right, despite what she thinks. Just make sure you have a good, logical argument to convince her though. (Yeah, this is a hard one to admit.)
Life Lesson #29. Being a control freak is not a good thing. Let go and let the universe guide you. Be in tune with your gut instinct and most importantly LISTEN to it. Always.
Life Lesson #30. Be kind. Always be kind. Life isn’t always rainbows and puppy dogs. Be kind to yourself and to others. Always.
Life Lesson #31. Baking paper will save cleaning your cookie sheets/baking pans and make your baking more even. Buy the huge roll and it’ll last a long time.
Life Lesson #32. Be aware of washing labels. This will make your clothes last longer. Don’t wash your darks with your whites. It’ll take forever for your whites to be white again.
Life Lesson #33. Be true to yourself. Don’t try and be like someone else or change so someone likes you. There’s only one of you in the world. Be authentic always.
Life Lesson #34. You don’t have to buy name brands. Most times, you can get away with generic. However, when it comes to clothing, invest in classics that will last and go cheap on the seasonal/supplemental.
Life Lesson #35. If you ever live somewhere that has a pool, invest in a pool service. While a pool is great to have, it is a time and money suck. Get a pool boy (and no, not THAT kind of pool boy- unless that really floats your boat…)
Life Lesson #36. Don’t be afraid to dance wildly to the music or sing your lungs out to a good song. If you get weird looks, who cares. The watchers are probably just jealous because they don’t have the guts to let go and do it too.
Life Lesson #37. Always follow a recipe to the letter the first time you make it. You’ll learn what you like, can omit, need to add on the second round (if it’s that good).
Life Lesson #38. Butter is better than margarine. Always. Invest in the butter.
Life Lesson #39. Steam/Grill your vegetables. Don’t boil them (except for potatoes for mashed).
Life Lesson #40. Buy yourself flowers. Splurge a little occasionally.
Life Lesson #41. Believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Because you can. If people knock you down, look at it as an opportunity to prove them wrong.
Life Lesson #42. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially ‘why’. Keep learning.
Life Lesson #43. Don’t look at the world like it’s out to get you. Contribute to life. Contribute in a way you think people should be. Be an example.
What Would You Add to This List?