Lifes lessons are about learning and growing. You learn in school and at home but that may not teach you how to love your job, your life or create passive income. Learn from my mistakes.
After all, we learn from other people as well. Both what to do and what not to do so maybe I can save you some time.
Maybe even twenty or thirty years.
Ready? Here's the mini version of my life.
For years, I played by the book. I started babysitting at 12. Got a job at the Mall when I was 16, and moved out of my parent’s house at 18 – three weeks after I graduated from high school. Then I got a real job and supported myself by typing, filing and loads of other fun stuff working for a huge company in San Francisco.
It was exciting for a few years. I did some mini ladder climbing and got a pay increase every six months. I felt important commuting to San Francisco with all the other 'successful' people. I thought working hard for someone else paid off.
Eventually I saw it differently and it became one of lifes lessons. I felt a little testy that people who knew less than I made far more money. The reason I was told, was that I was too young. Then there was the "you don't have a college degree" excuse. Of course I didn't have a degree. I was busy supporting myself and learning all this stuff so I could teach it to new college graduates who were making a lot more money while I held their hand. I learned life isn't always fair.
After I married, I continued working but there was a problem. In the back of my mind I was secretly thinking that having a job might just be the worst thing I could do to support myself or add value to my family. After all, doing something I didn’t enjoy made me crabby and affected my health. I sunk money into a few things that didn't work out. Still, it seemed there must be far better ways to make a living than selling myself into indentured servitude. Lifes lessons were beginning to unfold.
At 32 I got a break from the work a day world. I was finally blessed with my first child. Two years later came number two. I found "not working" far more fulfilling. Being mother, teacher, and motivator to my sons and all their friends, plus volunteering at school was a full time job that gave value.
There were benefits for my spouse as well. Due to the guilt of my not earning an income, I did all the yard work and home maintenance. I didn’t just water, mow and pull weeds. I landscaped, pruned huge trees, painted inside and out, learned to build simple structures, hang sheet rock and wire the basement for electricity.
All this left me putting in 15 hour days without pay. And while the rest of the world saw me as unemployed, I was working my butt off. I saved us far more money by doing work around the house and taking care of our children than I would have earned at a job. Still, I suffered from guilt for not being like everyone else. Another of lifes lessons unfolding. Why should I be like everyone else?
When my second son was five, I gave birth to a little girl and three years later, my 18 year marriage came to an end. My kids were 11, 9 and 3. Determined to be a stay at home mom, I worked four part time jobs. I drove a school bus, sold health supplements, had a home based business creating and delivering fresh flower arrangements, and helped a friend with her mail-out business a few times a month.
I was a busy
woman. Oh, I forgot to mention pets! Wow, were we blessed. Not only did
we have two wonderful dogs, we also had 3 cats, 2 ferrets, 20 chickens, a
few ducks, a lovely snake (yes I actually loved a snake), hamsters, and
a guinea pig. (As you might guess, I could never say no to an animal in need.)
All this work and I couldn't afford to buy a house on my own. When my baby girl entered kindergarten, I succumbed to the thinking of the masses. I consolidated. I got rid of all the part time jobs that didn’t grow the income I was hoping for and went back to the work-a-day world. It was not fulfilling, but it paid the bills. One of lifes lessons is you may have to do what you don't want for a while to get to what you do want!
Having a passion for writing, I tried being a columnist for a local newspaper. After just one published column, I was dismissed. The editor told me he had two choices. Pay me for my column or hire an assistant. He chose the assistant and told me not to give up writing, because I was good at it.
Then I wrote a kids chapter book about a boy (my son) who found a snake (he did). Together they found a way to communicate and help a world like ours, where people got so busy they didn't realize what they had lost until it was gone. I wrote “Jed's Window” at night after the kids went to bed. It took two years. Many times my son (who the book is about) would get up in the middle of the night to check on me, rub my shoulders and tell me to go to bed because I'd fallen asleep at the computer again.
I gave up on the book after the publisher I dreamed of paying me for it, sent me a rejection letter instead. I put it in the closet and tried to forget about it.
When I remarried, my husband talked me into paying for self publishing. It looked great, but once it was done, I realized it had to be promoted and I was out of my element. I gave up yet again. and it sat hidden at Amazon selling a whopping one copy in four years. Was it a waste of time? Did it make me a failure?
I’m here to tell you that nothing is a waste of time (okay, except for most of television). We learn from all our experiences, or dare I say it, lifes lessons.
Many times I felt like a failure but here are a few quotes I like from Thomas Edison that have helped me keep going:
Not having the courage to try something on my own, I went into business with my husband for a few years doing muscle car restoration. I did the books and hand blocked (sanded) cars 12 hours a day for no pay.
Then went into business with his mother and became a cleaner of newly constructed residential homes. It took a while to get used to climbing extension ladders to clean 2nd and 3rd story windows and it wasn't how to love your job but it was a great opportunity to get to know my mother-in-law. And I was far to busy and exhausted from working six days a week to even think about my dreams.
When the economy put us out of business four or five years later, I was 55 years old. It was time to be honest with myself. I wanted to do something that brought me joy. Something that made me want to get up in the morning. I wanted to make a difference in someone's life. I'd already put it off more than 20 years. I would have felt I wasted my entire life if I didn't try at least one more time.
I finally learned was one of the biggest of lifes lessons - to have the courage to be
myself. My real value is rooted in who I am. So who am I? A loving Mom,
dog owner, animal lover, health food enthusiast, alternative medicine
promoter with a passion for writing, making a difference and making people smile. Turns out I'm even kinda funny.
So what about lifes lessons? Life is full of blessings in disguise. If I hadn't done so many unfulfilling things, I would never have had the courage to grow a website, which ended up teaching me how to self publish my own books. Heck, I am a writer. It's who I am but I almost didn't do it. After all, I'm almost 60 years young now.
Whatever you do, don't give up your dreams. That's one of the biggest of lifes lessons.