On my birthday I often find myself reflecting on my life and the previous year. Recently, it was my son’s birthday, and as the woman who brought him into this world, each year I find myself doing the same thing on his. I reflect on the year, his milestones, my milestones, our challenges and think about the future. Life is so precious! Life is full of opportunities, blessings and achievements, but unfortunately nothing comes without struggles, hardships or misfortunes. Yet, it’s all those things, the good and the bad, that shape us into who we are and guide us down the path of who we are to become.
As parents, it can feel like a double whammy. Not only do we have our own struggles from our own lives but we take an arrow to the heart for our children’s struggles, too!
We see kids on the playground saying “why can’t I?” or “that was unfair!” and it can sometimes hurt us not to pave the way to an easy life for them. But the truth is, things will happen to us and they can be bad and they can certainly be unfair… whether they be a health condition we may fight, a situation we couldn’t avoid or a decision we now regret. And as adults we tend to overthink these things, while we tell our kids (admittedly dealing with much smaller issues on the playground) “it’s ok”, “pick yourself up”, “you’ll get another turn”. It would be great if our own peers or our own self would give us the same verbal encouragement or affirmation that we give our kids when they stumble. Whether you have one kid or 10 being a parent is all about teaching our children how to navigate through these experiences and challenges and come out of it stronger.
So as we find ourselves telling our children how “it’ll be okay” or “you’ll do better next time”, we also need to start believing it for ourselves. While we teach our children, the bad things that have happened to you are not who you are, you are not the setbacks that you had yesterday and you cannot let the past define you, we should remember those sentiments remain true for us, too. Sometimes, we as adults, can dwell on these past experiences and let them get in the way of how we feel about oneself or create misconceptions of how we are perceived. But the truth is, we (like our children will) have a past and will make mistakes and experience hardships, but it is how we navigate through that journey that will lead us to a moment, the now, to define your present and shape your future.
Someone very important to me once said, you have one day, one hour, one minute to feel sorry for yourself and dwell on your hardship. But after, you must pick yourself up and start counting your blessings, because someone else has it far worse than you. And that sentiment is one I carry through my life now more than ever.
So each year when I look at the candles on my cake or on my sons cake and I reflect on the journey that has lead us to this very moment, I choose not to dwell on the hardships. I try to remember to take life one day at a time, to cherish the little moments, to pick myself up when I fall and try again. Because time will pass regardless, and you’ll be facing those candles again in no time, and each year will bring you good and bad, it’s what you do with each passing moment after that will shape your year and your future. So go ahead and make a wish, because you and only you get to make your wishes come true!