The Ravages of Time

Welcome to Wild Card Wednesday. I had another post planned and written for today, but I’ve got something else to talk about. This is not my usual fare, but is instead what passes for deep thoughts with me.  Today, I’m talking about life and what I’ve learned so far.

Knowing it all

Life seems like never ending circle.  As a little girl, I thought I’d know everything when I became an adult. Of course, I thought “old” was twenty-five. So adult happened some time before that. And, of course, you were dead by the time you were thirty.  Right?

By the time I was twenty, I knew adult mistakes got me were just kid mistakes times ten. Extracting myself from whatever morass of craziness I’d wandered into was crazy scary.  And the consequences. Yikes.

Life is for Learning

Now—and I’m not going to tell y’all how old I am—I have a different outlook.  I reflect on that line from “Woodstock” that says “I don’t know who I am, but life is for learning.” Each year that passes, I find more truth in that line.

If you watch the video, look at the screen at 3:09. That always makes me smile.

Back to learning.  If I don’t learn something new every day, I wonder if I’ve died and just don’t know it yet.

Don’t get me wrong. Learning these lessons is not always fun. Sometimes it’s embarrassing, expensive, or just inconvenient. Other times it’s heartbreaking. There are times it’s discouraging. Every once in a while, it’s funny.

The Funny

Tuesday, I needed to have a minor alteration made on an accessory. It was the kind of thing they do while you wait.

Ten minutes later, I had the item in hand. I asked what I owed. Five dollars. But only if I had cash. If I had to write a check or use my debit card, it was ten dollars.

Since I had two bucks on me, the alteration was ten dollars. Worth every penny to me. I could tell, however, that the guy who did my alteration was put out with me.

I was sorry I didn’t get to save five dollars, but it wasn’t the end of the world to me. If that were my business, I’d charge a minimum $10 for every transaction.  I left smiling.

Lesson learned: I probably should get $20 cash to carry around with me. There are places that really won’t take a check or debit card. This time I just got lucky.

It hit me on the way home that twenty years ago I’d have been livid over the price of my alteration doubling. Twenty years of rough road has taught me that it’s too much effort to get upset unless it’s really worth it.

I am still amused at how it cost me extra money not to have any cash.

When it ain’t a bit funny

Sometimes it doesn’t end that happily. There are times when my bad judgement hurts others. The guilt I feel at these times is paralyzing. But these are also lessons for me. I analyze what went wrong and file it away for future use.  I make a point to do better.

Life is a learn-as-you go proposition. The moderately hard lessons leave tattoos on your soul. The silly lessons are good for a laugh. The hardest lessons sometimes have to be buried and bricked over.  They hurt too bad to do anything else with them.

The Toll of Hard Lessons

Those hard lessons have taken a lot of the fight out of me.  Each year that passes, I find less and less to get worked up over. It just isn’t worth my time and energy.

But on the other hand, I take a lot less crap than I used to. I am not shy about pulling the plug on foolishness. To paraphrase Stevie Nicks, time really does make you bolder. When it’s time to walk away, I do it without hesitation or apology.

The Bottom Line

The biggest lesson: life is what you make of it.

We all have successes. We all have failures. The point for me has been paying enough attention to learn from both successes and failures.

Learning to see the good in the little things and be grateful for them is big.  Learning to let bad stuff go is bigger.

(Confession: that last one still gives me trouble sometimes)

Some Things Stay The Same

Many things have changed for me over the years.

But one thing remains the same. Twenty five years ago, I wanted to go back in time so I could go Woodstock (August of 1969).  I’d still do that in a heartbeat.

Of course, when I first wished I had been at Woodstock, I wouldn’t have been one of those naked people in that pond.  Now I would be.

Life is too short not to do it all.  Time is ticking away…


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