When March rolls around I think of my grandpa, Art Reukauf. (Here he is in the center with his brothers and a neighbor eating dinner after branding).
March 1st was his birthday and he would have been 93 this year. He passed away in 1985 unexpectedly. I was only 11 years old when he passed and I didn't get a lot of time getting to know him as a child, but now that I'm getting older I look back on his life and accomplishments and they fill me with pride and wonder. My grandpa was very respected and I truly admire that about him. My grandparents worked hard to create a life together. I'm sure yours did too....it's what they did back then. (Here on my grandparents on their wedding day.)
Since I became a mother my focus has shifted a lot. Maybe turning 40 had a lot to do with it also, but I'm more grounded than I've been in my entire life. I know what I want and I know how to get it. I look around and it's as if the blinders have been lifted. It happened in a kind of breath-catching sort of way. Kind of like an unexpected truth revealed to me once I "graduated" into the harsh realities of the world. At first I didn't like what I saw, but then I began to see certain truths about it. I found comfort in these harsh realities. I imagine that most folks in advancing years would be able to discuss these truths with a sort of factual analysis versus abhorrence. I think that my grandpa would have been able to talk with me about these things. I'm sure he would even be able to add to my list below. Maybe he would find me blunt and hardcore. He might even be right about that a bit, but I don't apologize for it. Life is a wonderful thing and I truly love this existence. I prefer life at 100 proof....not watered down. Here is what I have found so far:
I've learned that people will come and go in your life. The ones that stay are the ones worth investing in. They are the ones that will be there through the tough times. They will be the ones that will tell you the ugly truth to your face and speak compliments behind your back (not the other way around). I would personally rather have only a couple of good friends than a handful of fake ones. I wish I had known this earlier in life.
I've learned that life is tough. As John Wayne once said, "Life is hard; It's harder if you're stupid.
I have been stupid plenty of times in my life. However, I went to the school of hard knocks and I came out of it more educated than I could have imagined. I don't wish those experiences away. I actually embrace them. They made me who I am today and I know I wouldn't be where I am at without them.
I've learned to never judge a book by its cover. Don't judge people just by what you see. Everyone has a story. Be respectful of others. Cherish those close to you. If you don't gel with someone don't be around them. Plain and simple. Not everyone is going to think like you and not everyone is going to like you. Get over it....that's life!
I've learned that not everyone is cheering for you and that's okay. As long as I can cheer for myself that's all that truly matters. I'm not conceited, but I know where I have come from and I know what I have been through. Nobody likes a braggart. Don't be that way. Celebrate your successes, but be humble. Never be too busy to spend time with those who matter. Don't get so wrapped up in making a life that you forget to live yours.
I've learned that actions speak louder than words. This pertains to ourselves and to others. Think about that one for a bit. A greater truth was never spoken. Folks can say whatever they want, but it's what they do that really speaks the truth.
I've learned that at the end of the day if you can lay your head down and know that you helped someone in some way (even if it's just making someone smile) then you have all the reason in the world to have sweet dreams. Be an encourager, the world is full of critics already.
I've learned that it's okay to love yourself. Heck, if you don't love yourself first who will? Find small things to adore. You are an original. Be proud of that! You will never be perfect....neither will I. Whew....thank goodness! Perfection is a scary thing. Be unique.....cookie cutters are for baking. Smile!! The big toothy ones are the best. Hug those you love and tell them how you feel. And above all else, let go of past hurts and disagreements. We only have one life to live. Love with all of your heart and let it lead the way!