Becoming the best version of yourself

Lesson #35

“All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.”

Note that this does not say that you WERE loved” – it’s that YOU loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day and for a lot of us, it’s just another reminder that we’re NOT part of a couple.

I’ve written on this blog before of the many different way’s Valentine’s Day has weaved itself into my life so I won’t bore you again – but it’s there, always in the background.  Note to self:  never name your new puppy Valentine in honor of your BF’s gift, because when he dumps you – every time you call out that name, it stings!

The message today on this day of love, is that you are loving.  First and foremost you need to make sure that you love yourself, because if you can’t love yourself and your actions, you will never be able to truly express love to another.

Love your family members, yes even the ones who drive you crazy – we all have them.  Love your friends, and even when they are no longer a constant in your life, love them anyway.

Love your neighbors, you never know what they’re going through so send them a message, say hi, smile and wave as you pass by.  Show love to those in the service industry, thank them for what they do.   Share a smile, brighten their day.

Love those who have hurt you, and those that “done you wrong.”  Maybe it’s the first kindness they’ve had in a while?  Maybe it’ll never be returned but no one can ever fault you for not at least trying?

The Golden Rule has been passed down for years and years – there’s a good reason.  It’s to make us all better, kinder, more loving human beings.  It starts with you.



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Lesson #34

“Get outside every day.  Miracles are waiting everywhere.”

I love this lesson.  This is right up my alley.  If I had to work in an inside office cubicle I think I’d wither up.

Getting outside allows you time to think and breathe and take in the beauty of the world.  Granted, freakish storms can keep you inside but in general, you should be able to get outside of your house, your office, your comfort zone.

Oxygen is vital to our existence, it’s vital to our brain to operate.  For years artists have painted beautiful landscapes that draw you into their beauty and pastoral settings.  Being outside makes me happy and even when I’m stuck in traffic I try to look around for the unusual or the beautiful.  (People can do some pretty hilarious looking things when they’re in their cars and think no one is watching!)  Not encouraging you to be a voyeur, but when they’re jiving to the radio, I try to guess what song they’re listening to.  Everyone thinks they’re Jimmy Kimmel!

Take a walk, visit a neighbor, make a grocery or pharmacy run, there seems to be a Starbucks close enough for anyone to walk to.  Drive to the park then walk around that park, say hi to someone and smile.  Breathe in, breathe out and look for the miracles that are everywhere.


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Lesson #33

“Your children get only one childhood.  Make it memorable.”

For me, it’s a bit late.  Although I do think they had a wonderfully memorable childhood, they’re now young adults so we’re past that stage.

That said, I’m lucky to have grandkids from my youngest married son and anything I might have missed the first time around, I’ll be sure to make up for the second time around!   The biggest regret I have from my sons’ childhood?  Whenever their father would cancel our family vacations or plans that we had for an evening out, we always believed him when he said he’d make it up to us – or we’d still get to go but it would be “later”.

For us, “later” never came.  If I got a “do over”, it would be that I would’ve packed them up and gone on the trip or the adventure anyway, without him.   Back then I was scared to travel as the only adult without “back up”.  Now I realize we would’ve been just fine.

You can’t get those years back, but I’m watching my sons become great parents and not doing that same “cancel” thing.  If they have to break their promise, they apologize for it and do make it up to them.  I realize sometimes things do happen and you have to change your plans.   The learning “message” is how you handle it and honor your word to make it up to the one’s who’ve been disappointed.

If you’ve never had children, there are so many organizations out there where kids would love a little of your spare time and attention.  It’s never too late to give children a wonderful memory!

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Lesson #32

“Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.”

You hear this a lot around birthdays.  When people bemoan turning a year older, someone always says “It beats the alternative” – the “dying young” part being implied.

I come from good hearty stock.  My paternal grandmother lived to 102, my Dad made it to 87 and my Mom just celebrated her 97th birthday on Christmas Eve.  My plan has always been to hit 100 – of course this sends shivers of dread down the backbones of my financial advisors!  They better be doing a really good job, right?

We’re all living longer, modern medicine and our health knowledge has made sure of this.  Yet I also believe  the emotional part of living has a huge impact on not only our longevity, but our desire to see it so.

I’m not a medical doctor, but I go out on a limb to say that I believe that happy people live longer.  And while there will always be things unforeseen that take lives too early, like car accidents, etc. – we are hanging around this planet longer than ever before.

I dreaded turning 30, enjoyed turning 40, loved turning 50 and hit the ground running when I turned 60 a couple of years back.  I’ve learned a lot and hope to keep that learning pattern going.

Hope you’ll join me along this wild ride and let’s make those financial advisors and our children worry about how long we’ll be around to keep them on their toes!

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Lesson #31

Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.”

Of course I don’t mean “literally” – but more about your resolve to survive.

During the YOTD (Year of the Divorce), I thought there were plenty of things that were going to kill me, at least my spirit.

It’s been 9 years since my divorce.  Many of those days I wanted to crawl into a tight ball and just die.  It was never so dark that I wanted to end my life, but I did understand how people sometimes just want to go to sleep and never wake up.  Reality sucks at times.

The further I get away from it, the stronger I realize I have become.  I would not be the person I am today if it were not for the experiences I was put through with divorce and having to make my own way through this world.

It didn’t kill me and it did make me stronger.  Not the route I would have chosen to get here – but we don’t always get to choose, do we?  What we do get to choose is how we deal with it – and that my friends is what makes us stronger for it.


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Lesson #30

Two thirds of the way along our Life’s Lessons journey and I just love this one!  It needs no explanation, only trust in the possibilities!

“Believe in miracles.”

They do happen!


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Lesson #29

“Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends will.  Stay in touch.”

In other words, keep your priorities straight!

Don’t keep in touch?  Really?  These days with the reach of social media and the internet, how can you come up with any legit reason to not keep in touch with friends and family.

Cell phones, no long distance charges, texting, Facebook and email – these are many of the ways you can keep a relationship from fading away into nothingness.   “He/She was a great employee” should not be how your tombstone reads.

I would much prefer to be remembered for the type of friend I was.  I would much prefer to be remembered as a good mother who raised/reared two great sons.  I would much rather be remembered as a fun grandmother, a passionate volunteer, a caring human being – one who stayed in touch.




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Lesson #28

“However good or bad a situation is, it will change.”

This is remarkably close to yesterday’s lesson.  If you give a situation enough time, it will change.

We have a saying in Texas, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes . . .”

If I have the patience, the right attitude and a little luck – I mostly can get my bad situations turned around.  It used to be easier just to whine about them and do nothing.  Remember the lesson on throwing yourself a pity party?

I’ve learned that it’s my responsibility to do the best I can, to get those bad situations turned around and make them in to, if not good situations, at least more tolerable.

Keep a positive attitude, wow does it make a HUGE difference.

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Lesson #27

“Time heals almost everything.  Give time time.”

“Impatience” is my middle name.  This one speaks LOUDLY to me.

It also doesn’t take a genius to figure this lesson out either.  You cannot rush yourself through divorce recovery.  You cannot rush yourself through any kind of recovery.

Do not rush yourself through life, because you will miss a lot along the way.  Stopping to “smell the roses” is something I intend to do a lot more of both literally and figuratively.

I’m going to give “time” a chance!


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Lesson #26

“What other people think of you is none of your business.”

Today would’ve been my Father’s 105th birthday.  Of course, I lost him long ago, in March of 1998 but his wisdom has stayed with me forever.  I sometimes wonder what he’s thinking of my life’s journey as he looks down at me from up above.  Does he have a good opinion of how I’m doing?

He’s visiting his elders in their heavenly nursing homes, singing in the church choir, mowing and “edging” the grass every Saturday, playing devil’s advocate in every conversation, rooting for his beloved Texas Aggies and looking for a foot massage (except we called them “rubs” back in the day!).

He would’ve given me the above advice.  He was his own man.  He was a man’s man.  My Dad served in the Army through WWII and Korea.  He was a leader of men, and gave no quarter.  Mostly he minded his own business, and rarely minded anyone else’s.  He lived his life and allowed others to live theirs.

Opinions of his actions were seldom, if ever, sought.  To say he was self-assured is an understatement, but then again, he grew up in a much different time.  There was not much of a male role model in his life, so my Granny sent him to “military academy” – back when it wasn’t a place of just troubled young men.  She wanted him to have strong structure and guidance, and he got it.  Served him well in his Army career, and later in his engineering career.

When we live our lives worried about what others think of us, we’re not being very good or fair  to ourselves.  If all we do is seek their approval and their opinion of our actions and our lives, we’re not really living for ourselves – we’re living for them.

It really isn’t my business to know the opinions others hold of me; I’m pretty sure I might be surprised.  They don’t know my reality, they haven’t walked a mile in my shoes.  As long as I continue to live my daily life in a physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy way, then really only my opinion should be my business.

Live your life so you have an excellent opinion of yourself!  I think you’ll turn out A-OK!