Several years ago I went through a reading phase where I read many books by women mostly who pondered elements in lives, some dealt with past lives, some mired in the present, some determined to share the path they thought most valuable to attain the future we all wanted. The writers wrote to appeal to the all inclusive we.
However, I believe for most of them they were mired in the I perspective. I had no problem with that; in fact many of the books gave me something to chew on. I can’t say that any of them became my guidebook for living. My mother might refer to that as my stubborn nature.
Maybe I am.
But while I’m an educated woman and I’ve read an incredible number of books, from mind numbing academic texts and treatises to commercial fiction, from books dealing with religions and their philosophies, from biographies to cookbooks, and everything in between, not one of them has totally changed my life.
None of them by themselves turned me into a better woman, a wiser woman, a more caring individual.
Maybe because I’m stubborn as Mom always said.
Am I sorry I read all those books, some more than once?
Of course not. In some way, in a measure larger or smaller depending on the book, its contents became useful to me—if only as a measure of what I didn’t like and agree with.
So as I ponder my life what has made me wiser, better, more caring? Maybe even more stubborn?
Don’t laugh when I tell you. And please don’t think I’m simplistic and dismiss the idea I put forth. But the most influential learning tool I’ve had is my life experiences and all that encompasses.
That means first of all accepting life is full of personal pratfalls—and I’ve had many. Literally. But if I don’t get up, dust myself off, and keep moving on, well, I haven’t learned a thing. In one particular case of taking a well-witnessed fall, I learned always to watch where I was walking, hang on to my skirt (that’s another story), and wear sensible shoes.
To paraphrase Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” (and my brother Jerry’s favorite song), mistakes, I’ve made huge ones. But I learned to learn from them, analyze them, figure out what I was responsible for so I could change it, and then work on that. I also learned to be wary of situations similar to my mistake so I could avoid them or prepare to deal with them in a better way.
In both the above examples, I’m sure many of those books helped me come to my conclusions and knowledge gained from the experiences. However, I don’t think those concepts would have been as meaningful to me had I not been able to apply them to real life situations. My real life.
We’ve all heard that old saying, “Walk a mile in my shoes and then judge me.” Some of us may have used it. I’d like to alter it a bit and to say something like “If I walk a mile in my shoes with my eyes and mind wide open, I will learn more about me and life.”
Or maybe it’s that stubborn nature my mom talked about with me.
Stubborn nature or not, here’s my thought for the week: The more days we live, the more we walk/live a life. The more we learn. So treasure each day, each experience along the way. Do you agree?