Photo note: Picture I took on Cape Cod a few summers back.
Stop and pause this summer. Soak in the sunshine and summer breezes and listen. Listen to yourself and your loved ones on long summer beach walks and lazy summer strolls or bike rides. Truly listen.
So many times we don’t stop and listen to people or ourselves enough. So many people have experiences that we can learn from- both good and bad. And while everyone has an opinion and not all are valuable, you can learn from listening to them, yourself (probably the most important) and observing. Pay attention. Pick your head up and let life be a teacher. We are students every day. Often times we don’t pause long enough to learn what life is telling us. We are too busy running, staring at our phones, or thinking to really just observe and learn.…… What is life telling you?
Do we take time to ask our loved ones- ourselves, friends, people we respect, and our partners– what they have learned in life? What we can learn from each other? I have had wonderful people try to give me advice or tell their story in the past. Sometimes I listen intently. Other times, I was just not in a place to truly hear it. Too consumed with myself or my own thoughts. Or too stubborn and wanting to figure it all out myself. As I age, I am more open to hearing those stories (of course with people that aren’t lecturing but really trying to engage in a dialogue and/or not showing a ton of judgement) and finding the nuggets in them to keep learning. So I am my own teacher, but so are other people. I can be a student all the time if I allow myself to be open to the experience.
I’m also learning so much from myself by just pausing, breathing, and letting life unfold. We miss so many ques and fun moments by being stuck in our phones or in our own head. Summer is the perfect time to slow down and practice this.
As I write this blog I got a wonderful email from a dear and lifelong family friend. I am including a part of it here. Meant so much to me and was fantastic advice that I wanted to share. Really hits on the journey I am on to make sure I don’t miss out on the wonderful aspects and lessons of life.
What is some advice you would also like to share…with yourself, here or with a loved one?
I read some of your blog.
Taking some time now and then for some introspection is something everyone should do. Life is a long road. Take pleasure in your successes but also be honest with yourself and learn from your mistakes. Just don’t beat yourself up to much, take ownership but move forward. It is how you grow. We all make mistakes but we don’t all seem to learn from them.
I doubt I will be here, but it would be interesting to sit down and talk with you in 20 years about your later thoughts, experiences and reflections on life. I have made the comment before that I remember thinking at say 40 looking back on my behavior and some of my attitudes from my 20’s and thinking how naive and stupid I was. Then later looking back on myself at 40 and thinking similar thoughts. Life is a constant learning and growing process for most of us.
You have accomplished so much, those of us that know and love you are so proud of you. You seem to be learning that happiness comes from within. It can be hard to learn to love ourselves because we are also our own worse critics. Only we know all our darker thoughts and fears.
Take pleasure in today and enjoy it, it will never come by again and life truly passes quickly do that and tomorrow will take care of itself. Don’t wait around expecting others to make you happy. Others are attracted to happy people that take joy in living their life.
Love will find you when it is ready. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.
I know, for me, life becomes a lot happier when I am less focused on “me” and more involved in the “we”.
Thankfully I have reached the point in my life where I am no longer in competition to see who can reach the highest rung or earn and accumulate the most tokens. We all need a certain level of success to be able to live life comfortably without excessive fear but I now recognize that I missed out on a lot of life chasing after such things. When you get older you realize that it is the truly close relationships with family and friends that you have that is really what you value.
It was moving to read of your affection for your family and it is great to see the effort you make to stay close with your Dad.
Nothing material loves you back or will leave this world with you.
That was such an important message to me. Every time I read it, my heart grows bigger realizing so much of the truth in the advice.
So grab a glass of wine (or any beverage of your choice….a good glass of cold tea or lemonade is pretty wonderful too) and enjoy a long lazy summer moment with yourself or your loved ones. Learn and be a student for a moment. Listen. Get to know them (or you) better. Reflect. Enjoy the slowing down for a moment. Enjoy your own company. Enjoy your loved one’s company.