What I Wish I Knew Then

I was recently asked to speak about what I wish I knew 20 years ago that would have helped me in my life. It took a few moments of thought and then I realized it was pretty simple. The answer is there are so very many things I wish I knew, but I’ll reduce the list to only three, and these are the attitudes that can make a difference.

1.     Don’t Stress. When you think about how often worry gets in the way of having peace and happiness in your life, you realize that stressing never made anything better. The fact that stress is such a popular subject in both medicine and psychology tells us that it’s a universal challenge. Stress in itself is not a bad thing, but there’s motivating stress and then there’s malignant stress. One impels you forward; the other makes you sick. Make sure you know the difference for your self.

2.     Don’t Hold Your Self Back: How often do insecurity and fear cause you to place dreams aside and make for missed opportunities? All the amazing inspirations and ideas that get stuffed away in the back of the closet, never seeing the light of day, are wasted. Regret is a terrible feeling when all it would have taken was courage and belief in your self.

3.     Don’t Take Life For Granted: The truth about time is that is passes whether you appreciate or not. You know, when you experience loss, that time had been your gift; when things are difficult, time drags and becomes the enemy. We seem to have a push-pull relationship with the clock, but no matter what, it keeps ticking. Don’t miss moments of joy or snippets of beauty because you’re wishing time away. Rather than blindly speeding through experiences, notice everything. Those who are artists say the reason they can reproduce what they see is because they stop and look at every line and nuance of their subject.

We know that the mind is a fertile garden; that whatever we plant in it grows. So I want to turn these three “Don’ts” which can grow into weeds, into more positive thoughts.

  • If you don’t stress, then you can choose ease.
  • If you don’t hold back, you can trust and follow your dreams.
  • If you don’t take life for granted, you can savor every bit of sweetness life has to offer.

Sometimes we don’t realize that how we approach life simply is a choice. Conscious or unconscious, the direction you walk, like the garden you grow, is dependent upon the seeds that are planted or the decisions you make.  Waiting for a better time to create a good life doesn’t work, because there will always be a more perfect time and then that moment never comes.

So what do you wish you knew then? And what would be helpful to know now, that some future self might tell you? That what seems like big worries may not really matter in the end? That time is a gift no matter what? The pleasure is in asking the questions and then realizing you just might have the answers somewhere deep in your brain. The answers were there 20 years ago, and they’re in you now. Dip in to the well of wisdom within and see what you find.

Amy Martin