This past week I turned 40 and I have used this year to reflect on who I am, where I am in my career, my relationships, what I have accomplished, what I have yet to accomplish, and I have realized that I am who I am and where I am is because of the people that I have in my life. I have been extremely fortunate to have amazing people in my life and I honestly don’t know how I have been so blessed.
Some of the lessons I have learned along the way I would like to share with you in this week and the upcoming weeks with the hopes that you can take these lessons and apply them to your own life or think about how the people that are in your life have inspired you.
Let’s start at the beginning. Some of the most important lessons that I learned in life I learned from the first person I ever met, my mother. One of the lessons I learned was showing and telling your loved ones, daily, how you feel and how much you care about them. As a child, I was always told how much I was loved and how much I meant to my family. At the time I never knew how unusual that was. I assumed all mothers loved their children and more importantly told their children how much they were loved. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that not every child grows up in a loving household. The love that I was shown as a child and the love that she continues to show me has made me into the confident, strong, and unstoppable force that I am today. I learned that love is the most powerful force in the world. That with love anything is possible.
Another lesson I learned from my mother was that gender does not define what you are capable of. That with determination, support, and love, impossibility doesn’t exist. That with hard work and dedication, you can achieve whatever your heart desires regardless of what society dictates. My mother worked in a male dominated field and excelled. She used her intelligence to take herself to whatever level she wanted. My mother helped write mathematics texts books and later went on to be a chemist. She never let gender stop her from accomplishing what she wanted. She never saw knowledge, skills, and abilities as inherently male or female. Everyone has a talent, and those talents should be used regardless of gender.
A third lesson that I learned from my mother was never to let someone else solve your problems. Growing up, my mother met questions with questions. She pushed me to seek the answers within myself and not look for solutions from someone else. At times, she would even ask questions of me that I didn’t even know to ask often having more questions of myself after her initial question.
A fourth lesson I have learned from my mother is to embrace who you are. I was a weird child and some would argue that I never really outgrew that. My mother never once inferred that I should change, that I should be someone that I was not, or should be what society expects me to be. I am who I am and that is
I have learned many lessons from my mother but these four are the ones that have stuck with me throughout my 40 years and I am sure will stick with me through the next 40.