It is time to celebrate my 300th post! YAY Me! My dear blogfriend Lois Lane suggested that I do a "Way Back Machine" to the yesteryear of Nic. Sort of like a review of Nic growing up. I think I will save that for another post. I started thinking about it and I want to tell you what I have learned in the past 300 posts – roughly the past 2 years. This blog was created in 2004 but I didn't start posting until the early part of 2005 and now here we are 300 posts and almost 17,000 visitors later. There are a lot of things that have changed in my life since then, and a lot of life's lessons learned and quite a few things realized. I will impart my non-wisdom to you and maybe these things you read will help you figure out what you've learned over the past few years in your own life.
It feels kind of like writing an elementary school essay with this but here goes:
I have learned that everything has a purpose, even the painful things, the unexpected and the hurt-filled. I have learned that letting go is harder than it seems but when you give it over to God, the daily steps of letting go are easier. I have learned that I can't do it on my own, that I need my faith and my family and friends to lean on from time to time and to help support me. I have learned that sometimes saying goodbye to the distant past is harder than saying goodbye to the present. I have learned that there is light at the end of the long, dark tunnel and that the light is not that of an oncoming train. I have learned that there are good and decent men out there with high morals and good hearts. I've learned that sometimes, when we find the one thing that we want, we still need to wait in order to have it. I have learned that true love never really dies, it lives on in our memories and allows us to recognize it the next time it comes knocking. I've learned that I worry a lot about situations and people half way around the world that I can do nothing about from here – that not hearing from someone in a combat area can wreak havoc with your heart.
I've learned that in order to live you have to give – your time, your heart, your friendship, your resources, your money, your help, your love, your learning, yourself – among many others. I've learned that sometimes it's better to hold out for what you want than to give in for second best. I've learned that God knows what He is doing, even though I don't, but that I can never go wrong by depending on Him. I've learned that it is better to have quality friends than to have quantity friends. I've learned that the friends who stick by you, even when you're being a brat or are hurting, are the ones that you cherish and you keep. I've learned that my daughter is the single most important person in my life and that I would die for her in a heartbeat. I've learned that my mom is my strongest earthly rock, my biggest supporter and my most ardent fan. I've learned to treasure the time I spend with my mom and my daughter and to try and not take them for granted.
I've learned that sometimes forgiving others for the hurts they've caused you doesn't happen overnight. Sometimes it is a process of slow, pain-filled steps that are like a strange kind of dance – two steps forward, one step back, two steps back and then three steps forward. I've learned that God forgives me, even when I have a hard time forgiving others and that I need to try to learn to forgive like God does. I've learned that forgiving doesn't mean that I have to tolerate or accept the wrongs that others are doing. Wrong is wrong is wrong and even though I can forgive, it doesn't mean that I have to allow the wrong to go on and that I can say "NO" and set up boundaries with consequences for crossing them. I've learned that even though a thousand people can tell me something, I won't be ready to take action until I know that I have done everything I know to change it first. I have learned that it is possible to love someone even though they hurt you greatly. I have learned that there are times that it is hard to let go of anger and hurt, but that it does nobody any good in the long run to continue to do so and the longer you hold on to it, the harder it is to let it go and the more harm it does all around.
I've learned that I have a long way to go in regards to a few things. I've learned that God's best really is what is best for me and that I can't second guess His decisions. I've learned that I need to start sticking to a schedule or things just don't get done. I've learned to admit that, yes, I have ADD – pretty good too (or bad depending on how you look at it). You heard it here first – I've never admitted it before, but as time goes by, I've learned to recognize the signs. SIGH! I've learned that I procrastinate way too much. I've learned that it's ok to love too much and laugh too loud – both make you feel better. I've learned that I am incredibly opinionated politically, patriotically and personally. I've learned that being a mother opens my eyes to so much out there that I was on the fence about – my daughter deserves better than what the world is offering.
I've learned that two people can be the right people at the wrong time and that there never will really be a right time. I've learned that even without closure that you can move on, though it's never easy and that there are moments that memories come back, but that they can be looked on with fondness and gratefulness instead of hurt. I've learned that you learn from past relationships and you take with you the good and learn from the bad so that you don't make those mistakes again – hopefully. I've learned that tears come at the most inopportune times – especially when one is sitting at their desk at work. I've learned that no matter the distance, some feelings are stronger than time, stronger than miles. I've learned that people can learn to regret years after the fact and that knowledge helps to find closure. I've learned that it is enough to finally know that you're not the only one.
I've learned that I'm not as far along as I'd like to be, but that I'm further along than I thought I would be. I've learned that I tend to make the same mistakes in some areas and that I've got to learn from that and cut it out. I've learned that though I might not have the nice house in the country I've always wanted, it never hurts to dream. I have learned that without dreams, the world would be a dull place, indeed. I've learned that even though I stopped smoking several years ago, in times of high stress – like these past 3 years – that I can still crave one once in a while so badly that I can almost feel it but that I am strong enough to say no. I have learned that there are times when I would rather stay in bed and cry, but life – and Emily – necessitates that I get up and get my act together and get a move on.
I've learned that guilty pleasures come in all forms – mine are usually TV shows that I normally wouldn't watch (like Gray's Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars and Men In Trees). I've learned that owning a Harley Hog by the time I am 36, is probably not a reality because, as a single mother, my money is better spent keeping my head above water and providing for Emily. I've learned that the simple pleasures in life are more rewarding than the extravagant ones – except maybe for a full body massage. I've learned that I couldn't survive that well without my computer. I've learned that I need to go to sleep when my body tells me it's tired or else I'm up half the night once I push myself past that limit. I've learned that patience, while a virtue, still is pretty much non-existent for me in rush hour traffic. I've learned to use creative words to express negative feelings because of Emily – heaven forbid (!) she should come out with a four letter word in the middle of kindergarten or Sunday school. EEP! I've learned to watch what I watch in front of Emily and how I act at all times as well. There are certain behaviors that I would rather she not emulate.
I've learned that even the most careless word can wound deeply. I've learned that a simple phone call or email from a loved one can brighten my day. I've learned that once someone is in my heart that they never really leave. I've learned that the best place I like to be is holding Emily and watching a movie or reading or singing to her. I've learned that while thinking things out seriously and thoroughly is usually the way to go, sometimes spontaneity is called for. I've learned that sometimes I'm still too impulsive for my own good and that I have to keep a tight reign on my tongue when it feels like running off at the mouth – especially when I'm upset. I have learned that I am a great starter but a lousy finisher and I need someone to push me from time to time to keep me going. I've learned that I have a hard time speaking my true feelings sometimes when I don't want to hurt someone even though they're making decisions that affect me too. I've learned too though that I speak out when I should hold back and hold back when I should speak out.
I've learned that it's a blessing to live every day. I've learned that I deserve better than what I've had in the past and I've also learned to be a better person because of it. I have learned that I can be selfish, thoroughly stubborn and obstinate at times, but that part of me is not the whole of me, just some of the flaws that I have. I've learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be in light of the life that I've lead, the decisions that I've lived with, the hurts I've endured and the mistakes I've made. I've learned that I still see the best in people first, or try to anyway. I've learned that, yes, I am still a glass half full person as annoying as it can be sometimes. I've learned that blogfriends from across the world can be just as close as friends that you see all the time in your own city. I've learned that God still loves me, even when I have a hard time loving myself.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
Thank you all for sticking with me during my little journey through life over the past 300 posts – for sharing in my joys and sorrows, my laughter and tears – my life. Here's to another 300 together!