Welcome to Wild-Card Wednesday. You—my readers—never know what you’re going to get on this wild and wonderful day of the week. Today is no exception. We’re going to talk about life lessons.
February is my birthday month. As a nod to the years I managed to survive, I’d like to share some of the stuff I’ve learned.
Cut Your Losses
Time is a finite resource. That’s right. We each only get a certain amount of time on this planet, and when time is up…it’s over.
A few years ago, I downloaded an e-book by Holly Lisle called How to Find Your Writing Discipline. Holly always makes me think and the content of this book was no exception.
My biggest takeaway was a tool to evaluate how I spent time. Things I spent time doing went into one of two categories: things I feed and things that feed me.
Here’s an example of “things I feed”
- Spending time around a toxic person who drains me of energy. I’m doing nothing but giving this individual an audience for his/her bad behavior.
Here’s an example of “things that feed me”
- Spending an hour playing with my little dog. He makes me feel loved and appreciated and asks for nothing in return other than my love.
[Holly’s explanation of this concept is better than anything I can do. If what I’ve said interests you, please check out her e-book How to Find Your Writing Discipline.]
Determining whether something feeds me or if I feed it has changed my life. When something doesn’t work—after making sure I can’t change it—I cut it out of my life…and I don’t look back.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
This sort of ties into my talk about time being a finite resource. Steve Ray Vaughan had thirty-six years of time to use up. Janis Joplin had twenty-seven. Elizabeth Taylor had seventy-nine. When my time up, it’s over. Everything I’ve done will have to be enough.
I am fond of saying, “Time is short.” And it is shorter than it was one day ago or one minute ago. Failure embarrasses me—and I do have plenty of them—but I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize I didn’t even try.
I look back over my years and see so many times I wouldn’t try because I was afraid of failing, of feeling embarrassed, or just didn’t know what to do.
It doesn’t really matter if I succeed or if I fail. What matters is what I learned along the way, and who I met, and how they touched my life. One hundred years from now, nobody is going to know or care that I existed, much less be worried about my failures.
Love Like You Mean It
This ties into my talk time being short.
None of us knows when the clock will run down–for ourselves or the ones we love. In 2010, we lost my maternal grandmother to cancer. We had to put her in a nursing home to assure she got the proper care in the last months of her life.
On the Saturdays I could, I’d cook lunch and take it to her. Gran would tell me about movies she’d liked–Mildred Pierce–and about the first time she met my Papaw–he was handsome.
The day eventually comes when there are no more chances to say, “I love you.” Time runs out.
So, when I love somebody, I say it and I show it. I do everything I can to love like I mean it.
Stevie Ray had it right:
What a long, strange trip it’s been. May you all have great success in the coming year. I’m glad we all found each other.