Some life lessons learned the hard way
December 11, 2007
First things first, congratulations Dayton community.
By your participation, Community Roots’ Hometown Christmas Saturday was a big success, raising $1,245 for this year’s toy drive. With 210 children to provide for, every bit helps.
While the collection deadlines have passed for toys and coats, there is never a time too late to donate food. Drop your food donations by the Community Center at 170 Pike St. Families are counting on us.
I recently marked 43 years on the planet. Sailed through 30, had no issue with 40.
This year, I’m having issues. In part, I suppose because I had planned that at this time in my life I would no longer be dating, that I would have clear direction about every last detail (or at least the important details) of my life.
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Thanks to someone else’s decisions, which I now see as a blessing, I am divorced and dating a very nice guy. I have two beautiful, healthy children who are the light of my life (really), a nice home and a job that I love and fits my life.
Lots of wonderful blessings.
As the years have ticked along, I’ve learned a few lessons and usually by the most difficult route.
I don’t sign up for the easy tutorials for some reason.
So I thought I’d share a few things with you.
Change happens whether you think you need it or not. Usually it’s for the better, even if we can’t see that at the time. Patience, which in my eyes is a highly-overrated quality, is not a lesson we can avoid.
I’ve tried substituting tolerance and frankly, it doesn’t matter. Creator has other plans. Being in gratitude every day, saying thank you, is the most important prayer that can be said.
Sometimes in life things happen and it’s really not your issue, your fault, or something you can change. People are who they are and rarely do they change their spots.
Also, lessons never end and rarely do they get easier. I have a theory that once you’ve passed a certain point in spiritual development, the next lessons are designed to keep pushing the envelope, to test your strength and faith. See, it all comes back to learning PATIENCE! Ugh!
On dating: Believe everything a man says about himself. If he likes to fish and says that during fishing season (which I believe is pretty much all year) that you’ll be a fishing widow, believe it.
Make a decision about whether or not you can live with those things he’s passionate about. If not, move on. If he says, “I’m a really great guy, but I can be verbally/physically abusive when I drink, oh and did I mention that left to my own devices I tend to drink too much,” you should believe him. (This category includes addictions of any variety).
If he has a daughter who refers to her father as a “manwhore,” believe that, too. These last two should involve running as fast as possible in the other direction. If you meet the ex-wife and like her or better, like her so much you invite her to the wedding, consider that perhaps she was not the problem and that you may not want to marry this guy.
Know that if you go on to marry and then divorce, everything said about the ex will be said about you. Trust me on this.
On marriage: It takes work, communication, trust and partnership. There are people who don’t know the meanings of those words. Ask for their definitions of these prior to tying the knot. If the answers don’t work for you, don’t second-guess your gut. Move on.
On children: The hardest, most rewarding, exhausting work I’ve ever done in my life and the most joyful, sacrifice-inducing, self-awareness raising, experience ever. I have been blessed beyond reason by and through my girls.
On friendship: I would be dead if not for the unconditional love and support of my friends. Each has brought beautiful, unique gifts to my life. I hope each day, that I return the same to them.
On family: They are who they are. Love them where they’re at, otherwise it’ll make you crazy.
On living: Every moment is an opportunity to learn, to touch a life and perhaps change it in some way. Sometimes we get so caught up in the stupid crap and all it takes is looking outside your universe to see what else is going on, to get fresh perspective; to realize that someone else is always facing challenges greater than our own.
So while I may be having issues with 43, there are many good things afoot in my life. Part of me feels like I’m running out of time and there’s still a lot to accomplish. I don’t take for granted anymore, like I did on graduation day in 1983 that, “10 years is forever.”
Because it isn’t. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let any moment of the next 10 go by without standing fully in it gratefully and happily.
To do less would be a disservice. To myself, to Creator, to others.
• Karel Ancona-Henry can be reached at email@example.com or at 246-4000.