Why Valuable Lessons Learned May Come To Us Unexpectedly

Lessons learned sometimes come as an epiphany when you least expect it. Sometimes lessons learned come as observations as we go through everyday life. And, sometimes, lessons learned as we grow as a Mom and a woman come through joy and others through pain.


Lessons Learned Through Observations and Memories

Why Valuable Lessons Learned May Come To Us Unexpectedly

I recently sat outside at the local coffee shop working on an article. Here I am, pushing 50, with a 21-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter. I am feeling all hip and trendy sipping my “skinny” latte on a hot morning in Florida wearing a cute hat and trendy sandals.

When I work from the coffee shop during the school year, I sit next to other writers, bloggers, and remote workers. Last week, I sat next to a real estate investor who was on the phone for 30 minutes next to me discussing the ins and outs of a deal. And, if it’s not remote workers, it’s retirees enjoying their morning coffee with friends.

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But on this particular day, I sit next to a handful of 17 and 18-year-old girls with midriffs showing at the table just three feet away from me. They are eating giant muffins and whipped cream-filled coffee concoctions. They are discussing going to the beach in an hour or two. They are discussing the ins and outs of their part-time jobs. They are complaining about their parents’ rules. They are talking about this boy and that boy. They check their phones. Soon they are not talking to one another but all looking, scrolling, and tapping at their phones in silence.

Why Valuable Lessons Learned May Come To Us Unexpectedly

My mind wanders. I think back to the summers in the Midwest when I was 17 and 18. I worked as a waitress at Baker’s Square Restaurant. I averaged about $10 an hour in tips. I worked about 25 to 30 hours a week. I swam all day in my parents’ above-ground pool and then headed to work. On my nights off, I went to the movies with my boyfriend. We “made out” in the mall parking lot.

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My best friend had a hot tub in the basement at her house. She hosted co-ed parties. We played tackle football in the yard with the guys and then “cooled” off in the hot tub. Times were simple. We talked. We laughed. We were present. The future was unknown. We lived in the moment. We didn’t have cell phones. We didn’t take photos to capture the moment.  

Now, we treasure the memories of our teen and college days. I guess every generation says at one point or another, I’m glad I grew up then and not now. I know I am. I can’t imagine my teen and college years any differently. Can you?

Lessons Learned While Traveling

Why Valuable Lessons Learned May Come To Us Unexpectedly

Traveling down the highway along the rolling hills of west Tennessee headed to a family reunion back in my home state of Illinois this summer, my eyes caught the message on the back of the cab of a shiny blue semi – written in a script font: I Wish I Didn’t Know Now, What I Didn’t Know Then.”

Take a moment. Let that sink in.

I Wish I Didn’t Know Now, What I Didn’t Know Then.”

What truth.

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Perhaps, the truck driver is merely a Toby Keith fan referencing his song,” Wish I Didn’t Know Now.” My husband saw the statement as living in oblivion – not wanting to be informed.

But for me, once again, it took me back to being young, full of hopes and dreams. Before experiencing divorce. Before experiencing gender inequality in the workforce. Before experiencing the ups and downs of raising a teenage boy.

I’m not saying I wish I was 18 again. But I do yearn for simple times. No bills. No debt. No health issues. No worry about aging parents. No worry about the political climate. Simply, focused on the here and now, building the future. As you approach 50, you start looking back as much as you look ahead. It’s just different.

My goal is to enjoy life each and every day, while still taking care of the present and planning for the future. Often times that is easier said than done… but I try. We all must try.


What are lessons learned, if not simply the joys and sorrows of experiencing life?

Why Valuable Lessons Learned May Come To Us Unexpectedly

If we all lived by the lessons learned in the sandbox when we were small, the world would be a better place. Of course, I experienced bad customer service at one of the hotels I stayed at on a recent road trip. It’s the nature of travel, some good experiences and some not so good. That’s what makes a road trip memorable. Right? I was reiterating the experience to the front desk clerk at another hotel in the same hotel chain along my route. The house manager at the hotel, Antoine, simply said, It’s all about kindness and doing your best no matter what you are doing. It ain’t hard.

Why can’t life be that simple – capturing lessons learned as we go along? Why can’t the lessons learned in preschool and kindergarten to share, to take turns, to respect one another, to be nice, to make the world a better place – be what everyone does to make the world go round? It’s idealistic. It’s simple. But, in all reality, “it ain’t hard.”

Photo Credits: Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay.

WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out Daily Mom’s article How to Use Manifestation Techniques in Your Life.

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Carla J. Eskew
Carla J. Eskew
Carla J. Eskew is a freelance writer, wife, and mom of two children who are nine years apart. She is a Scout leader with 17 years of experience in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. She serves as a volunteer at school, church, and with the homeless population. She loves road trips, sightseeing, camping, Pilates, and her black standard poodle, Midnight Shadow.

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