I like this bumper sticker as one of my guide rails for my life. Let me explain how its meaning has changed over my passing years.
Thinking about it from my child’s mind, I could balance myself if I stood on one foot. Now, when I close my eyes, it is undoubtedly more challenging. Perhaps there’s a bit of a wobble or two. I will likely topple over when I rapidly wiggle my head from side to side.
I could easily injure myself if I do this inside, in a room full of sharp-cornered furniture. While outside on the lawn, I’m likely to just embarrass myself as I fall into a heap, laughing.
When I tried this one-legged stand as a child of 10 years, I knew better but still occasionally fell, hitting my shin against the sturdy coffee table. I would cry.
Now, here comes the critical point of my life lesson learned. My concerned parents drew my attention to the potential danger after the fact. If nobody tried to instill the lesson I should learn, the natural consequence of my balance act would be the teacher. I will know to be aware of my environment when trying this fun stunt until I’m better at it.
However, if my well-intentioned parents want to be sure I didn’t miss learning life’s lessons, they will chime in; I told you so. Now maybe you’ll listen to me next time.
My focus is on protecting my independence and ability to make good decisions. I’m thinking I wouldn’t have hurt myself if they hadn’t filled the room with so much furniture, giving me little space to play. I make sure I tell them, shifting blame and responsibility for a different outcome.
Lesson not learned.
Fast forward a few years.
As I became aware of the career path as a Social Worker, that title became closely associated with my identity. As I started ‘Movin’ On’ into what many call retirement, the title Social Worker had become a legal title, and I could no longer apply it o myself.
My child-like response would have been one of anger for why the government took that away from me. I’d shift the blame. But life’s lessons have taught me that shifting blame elsewhere left me helpless.
With or without the title, I was still me. So what was the lesson to be learned?
I could find another working title to describe who I was to myself and others.
So I evolved to think of myself as a helper. This freed me to find unexpected ways to contribute. Now with 6 years of having ‘Moved On,’ I’ve added to my descriptors. I’m also discovered that I am a storyteller, traveller, older adult, and continual learner.
When I shift blame to others, I lose the chance to learn.
I am now learning more helpful lessons in life, often by taking control of the things I can control and letting go of the other levers.
Please give this a bit of a think. What are some of your most helpful life lessons?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.
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And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.