I turn 35 this weekend. That’s quite a milestone birthday I think. The ‘find yourself’ twenties are a thing of the past and the ‘reinvent yourself‘ forties are around the corner. Since I am of a ripe old age, I thought now would be as good a time as any to impart some knowledge on the younguns (basically anyone younger than 35). Here is Part 1 of my Life Lessons:
Life Lessons as a Daughter
Before I was anyones sister, girlfriend, wife or mother, I was a daughter. This is something that I will always be regardless of what age I am. I am so grateful to have the parents that I do who treat me with the same love and affection that they always have. Right until today, my folks still make time for me and spoil me with gifts and surprises. They are always there to give advice or offer assistance. A parents job is never done but these two are acing it!
Life lesson #1 – No-one will love you the way your parents do
This is something that I only realised after becoming a parent myself. I get it now. Your partner may worship the ground that you walk on and you may be the whole world to your kids but a parent’s love is next level. Of course it changes over the years but the depth of emotion that comes from creating a life and then nurturing it is something that cannot be duplicated. Regardless of how old you are, I can guarantee that your parents still worry when you’re out late at night and still wish that they could celebrate your birthday with you. After all, your birthday is more their achievement than yours.
Life lesson #2 – Make conversation
You know what sucks? Being stuck for an hour in morning traffic…in awkward silence. When you’re in school or varisty, there’s a whole lot going on in your head that you feel your parents wont understand or that you don’t want them to know. That’s ok, keep those things to yourself if you want but find something else to talk about. Every relationship needs work and talking is one of the best ways to get to know people. You will be surprised at how fun it is to hang out with your mum or dad.
Life lesson 3 – Eat your lunch!
Saying ‘I love you’ isn’t the only way to show someone you love them. Most of the time, actions speak way louder than words. Actions have substance whereas words can easily be empty. Your parents will do a million little things to show that they care and one of those is waking up early to make you a lunchbox. They don’t do this because it’s fun, trust me, it’s NOT fun to have to wake up 15-20 minutes earlier to get lunch ready. That lunchbox is made because they love you and the thought of you being hungry is much worse than the sleep they’re losing. So eat your damn lunch.
I was lucky enough to work at the same place as my dad after I left home and my mum would send me the occasional lunch bag (yes bag! it was FULL of cool stuff!). It’s one of my best memories. When I was pregnant that bag doubled and I’ll never forget the time my dad made a trip to the mall just to get me Gaviscon at work (I had the WORST heartburn). He came back with about 10 boxes and 3 variants, haha! Good times…
Life lesson 4 – Help without being asked
It is very easy to be spoilt as a kid. Children are naturally self-centred but as you get older you need to be more aware of what your parents do at home. Try to lighten their load a bit. Little things like setting the table, bringing the groceries in from the car and packing it away, making lunch on the weekends..it all makes a difference. Helping without being asked is one of the nicest things that you can do. This applies to every aspect of life and not just towards your parents.
Life lesson 5 – Let them know where you are and what time you will be home
It is easy to be spontaneous when you’re with your friends. You follow the fun to wherever it may take you and that’s cool. It’s part of being young. Just remember to let your parents know where you are. It’s all fun and games until they have to get to you in an emergency and you’re not where you said you would be.
This ties in to the second part of this lesson. If you say you’re going to be home at a certain time then be home at that time. In the case where you’re having the best night ever and want to stay longer, let your parents know. They would rather be angry at you for skipping curfew than worried that you’re dead in a ditch somewhere.
Life lesson 6 – Don’t take your parents for granted
They will not be around forever. It’s a horrible thought and makes me feel sick to my stomach but that is the reality. There will come a time when your mum and dad won’t be around anymore so take their calls, phone them, visit, take your kids to see them, go on holidays together. Chances are they will do things that annoy you as they get older (not you Mum and Dad, I meant other peoples parents 😉 ) but whenever that happens, remember all the times you were annoying/selfish/irritating/wasteful/hurtful/stubborn as a kid and that they still loved you regardless. Enjoy your parents, get to know them as people. You will be surprised at how much you have in common.
Life Lessons as a Sister
I am so thankful to have a sister. Not just any sister, but mine specifically. Growing up with a sibling means having someone that shares your childhood memories, someone who has known you at every life stage and can laugh and cry with you along the way. I get why people choose to only have one child but honestly, the best gift you can ever give your kid is a sibling. Which brings me to…
Life lesson #7 – Have each others back
It is inevitable that you will fight with your sibling. It’s impossible to share the same space for so long and not annoy each other. That’s ok. As much as my sister irritated me when we were little or annoyed me when we were older, I would have been ready to kick butt on her behalf any day and at any time. She’s one of my best friends. That’s just the way things are. YOU are allowed to call your sibling an ugly asshat but no one else is!
Life lesson #8 – Keep each others secrets
Trust is so important in any relationship. It is such a delicate thing that can be broken at any time and once it’s broken, that same level of trust is very difficult to attain again. If your sibling tells you something in secret, let that stay with you. This could be anything from boy crushes to something embarrassing that happened at school. The fact that they are sharing this with you at all is a gift and you should treasure that.
Life lesson #9 – Cover for each other
Just do it. You may not agree with what your sibling is doing but you rather know where they are and with who, than be kept in the dark. The time to kak them out will come later so cover for them if you need to or you can be sure that you won’t be asked to again. Plus, who else but a sibling can convince your parents that all is right with the world when you’re busy puking your guts out from too much tequila?
Life lesson #10 – Stay in contact
It’s very easy to maintain a relationship when you are forced to live together. Things get a little more difficult once you leave home. There are so many ways to stay in contact these days that you really have no excuse to not stay in touch. Phone, whatsapp, message each other regularly to check in or share random jokes that only the two of you will find funny. Be a consistent presence so that if you’re ever needed, your sibling knows that they can turn to you.
Life lesson #11 – Go on dates/holidays together
My sister and I have this thing called ‘Sisters before Misters’. It’s what we call our dates, haha! We no longer stay in the same province so whenever we are in the same place, we go for a date. This could be anything from coffee to an entire weekend together. Just the two of us, no partners and no kids. It’s our time to hang out and catch up without interruption. People change over time so it’s great to watch each other grow and evolve as people while still seeing the kids that we were under the surface.
Life lesson #12 – Not all siblings will share your blood
You will make a lot of friends over the course of your life and you will eventually lose touch with most of them. Life happens, people change and that’s ok. What you will notice though is that there are a few friends who stay in your circle. Those friends might as well be siblings because they can probably blackmail you with the stuff they know. Stay in touch with them, get to know their partners, give time to their kids. When you’re old and wrinkly you will want to have people that you can reminisce with.
Anyway, those are enough words of wisdom for now. Keep a look out for Lesson’s I’ve learnt as a Girlfriend/Wife followed by Lessons I’ve learnt as a Parent which I will write during the course of the year. I’d love to hear your life lessons!
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