Lessons learned so far this year

The first half of 2019 has been a whirlwind of huge decisions, major life changes and heaps of new knowledge and understanding. I’m always game for adventure and excitement though, my attitude is always one of “Bring it on!” I enjoy the challenge and I thrive on constantly learning more about life and the world around me. Here’s a few of the things I’ve learned the last 6 months.

My beautiful daughter and me at her wedding!
  1. Being the Mother of the Bride is much harder than I thought it would be! At my own wedding I was so elated and floating on air that I missed a lot of the small stuff that went on and that’s the way it should be. But as the mother of the bride, my sole mission was to handle all of the behind the scenes details and orchestrate everything so that my daughter would see only seamless perfection. I ran myself ragged and looking back I missed some of the fun of the night. It was well worth it to keep the bride and groom insulated from the minor dramas that played out but I also see now that my need to make things “perfect” can often affect the good time that I should be having. I need to learn to let go more and accept the fact that I’m not in control of everything around me. It’s not my responsibility and often not within my ability to get everything and everyone handled and moreover, I deserve to have fun, too! Even with all my overly-controlling mom tendencies in full effect, watching my beautiful daughter walk down the aisle and join her new husband was one of the hardest and yet most wonderful moments of my life. I’m so proud of the woman that she is and I have full faith that she will have a most wonderful life. Now, if only I could figure out how to impart what I learned at her wedding to her now……
  2. Selling your stuff is HARD, much harder than I ever imagined it would be. I assumed the hard part would be letting go of beloved items but in actuality that part has been surprisingly easy. The real problem is coordinating the sale with people. Facebook Marketplace is a helpful tool but I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted responding to messages of “is this still available?” and “how low would you be willing to go?”, only to be left hanging, completely ghosted after numerous communications. I blame the internet culture that we live in and the ease of reaching out to someone anonymously. Some folks message you twice and follow through right away but the vast majority send several messages back and forth haggling over the price and asking questions that were clearly answered in the original ad only to disappear from the face of the Earth. Is it laziness, boredom, what? It’s super frustrating, that’s for sure.
  3. I’m learning more than I ever wanted to about trucks and campers and towing capacity and weight distribution. It’s necessary considering our upcoming adventure but it honestly feels like Greek to me. Last weekend poor Ron had to draw me diagrams on a restaurant napkin while we waited for our lunch and while I told him I understood, I may have been exaggerating. Why does it have to be so darn confusing???
  4. Watching your kids move far away and struggle is extremely difficult. My daughter and her new husband got married this January and moved to Philadelphia at the end of May and to say they’ve been struggling is an understatement. Through no fault of their own they’ve experienced setback after setback and I feel so helpless watching them go through it. I know that it’ll make their character and their marriage stronger in the long run but that doesn’t make today any easier. The job market they’re up against is so difficult to navigate, in fact my daughter just started her own blog about it to share their experiences with others (check it out here). I’m sure every parent experiences this same sense of watching helplessly as our kids flounder and wanting nothing more than to step in and fix it. But they’re adults now, all I can do is offer support and advice when asked and pray that they turn a corner soon!
  5. Patience is an important virtue and I have little to NONE. Since we’ve made our decision to sell everything, all I want is for it all to be done right now so we can move forward but it seems like there’s so much to do I wonder if we’ll ever get there. We’ve sold a ton already – my car, the old boat, the plow truck, the enclosed trailer and a whole lot of small stuff – but it just feels like there’s SO MUCH left to purge. We’re planning a garage sale next weekend and then listing the house mid August. If all goes well we’ll be out of the house no later than November and heading out west in December. We’ve also been trying to upgrade our current 1/2 ton truck to a 3/4 ton truck capable of pulling the fifth wheel we’re looking at and that’s just been a comedy of errors. Every time we think we’ve got a good used truck found, it doesn’t work out and we’re back to square one. Car salesmen are literally the worst thing to deal with, I’d rather have 3 root canals in one day than deal with them for 2 minutes. I remind myself that if it was meant to be it would work out, that to push on the wrong thing is a bad idea but I so just want it to be done already! Patience, Christi……patience.
  6. My ideas aren’t always right. Just because I think a certain way doesn’t mean that someone else’s point of view is less valid. I meet new people all the time and I’m constantly being reminded that I need to keep my mind and emotions open and in check. My experience is not like someone else’s and that makes neither of us right or wrong. Seeking to listen to and understand others is so very important. Even if we don’t change our opinions or beliefs, we’re more likely to empathize and embrace others lovingly when we seek first to understand them and help them to understand us.
  7. Every single day I’m deciding who I am and embracing that. We’re not set in stone, we can change the direction of our lives any time and just because we’ve gone the same way for years does not mean that we can’t do an about face and go another way. I’ve tried my entire life to mold myself into the person that others thought I should be, to please others and to make them happy and often that’s been to my own detriment. What good is that, though? A very insightful book that I’m currently reading is called The Flinch and I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s a relatively short read and talks about our fight or flight instincts and responses, how we’re trained to “flinch” any time something feels scary or dangerous and so we shrink back into our safe, established habits instead of leaning into the flinch and breaking through into new possibilities. Instead of stifling myself and pretending I’m someone else, I am learning more and more about who I really am and I’m learning to accept and love her. She’s pretty awesome!

I think it’s beneficial to take a moment and examine the seasons we go through in our lives. Where I am now is likely to look very different than where I’ll be in the next several years. But we learn as we go, as we grow and as we navigate the valleys and mountains of our lives. Only God knows what tomorrow will bring and look like but I trust Him fully, I know He’s got me in His hands. He has all of us, we need only to trust in Him and to seek to love each other, ALL of His children as He loves us. There’s never a dull moment, just opportunities that we let slip by us. I’m excited to see what the next half of 2019 brings!

Copyright 2019, all rights reserved.  All images taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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