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6 Things I Learned From a Visit with my Mom

Life is too short to be unhappy.

Ive never been close to my mom and I've written about this before. But as Ive gotten older, I've found myself reminding myself of my mother. In many ways we're more similar than I thought. We hold some of the same beliefs when it comes to hard work and other things. I also feel like as I age, Im looking more and more like my mom. Yikes! I use to feel a huge pressure to maintain a relationship with my mom and brothers because that's the way things are "supposed to be". I would go over a lot when I was married and try to help the most I could. I would buy groceries, buy things for everyone, and even "lend" my mom large amounts of money without expecting to get it back. I was the "successful" one in the family so I felt obligated to do these things. I always called to check in. It wasn't until I was going through my divorce that I realized that nobody was checking in on me. Everything I was doing wasn't being reciprocated. When I attempted to talk to my mom about the divorce she blamed me for everything.

It was a very difficult time in my life where I had to step back and truly discover who I was. I stopped calling and visiting so often. I stopped giving my money away because for the first time I was living on my own and it was hard. As the years went by we just grew further apart. I can count the times that my daughter has seen my mom with the palm of my hand. Not to mention, my mom grew more and more into a hoarder as she aged. Im not sure if there is a correlation between the two but I did some quick research and found that causes for this could be trauma, depression, anxiety, or living for long periods of time without social interaction. Visiting her was difficult because it was nearly impossible to move around the house.

Fast forward, my daughter if 5 years old now and doesn't really know that she has a third grandma. I decided to go for a visit. The last time I attempted to visit was a year ago after I got over COVID. That visit was a clusterfuck. My mom and brothers wouldn't allow me inside the house because they believed that I had "COVID" germs even though it had already been a month since I recovered. I wasn't surprised and just gave up. I hadn't visited since. So this past weekend I decided to take Emma over to visit. For some reason, I also wanted to see some childhood photos. Ive probably seen this photos thousands of times but now as I've gotten older, Ive grown a craving to know more and cherish these photos more.

When I arrived, I was kind of caught off guard with how much my mom has aged. In my mind, I always remember her and picture her as she was when I left home many many years ago. For some reason I could not picture her as an elderly lady. Although I know time has passed by, I was still surprised at how much older she looks and not taken care of. The whole visit I was overwhelmed with a mix of emotions. Here are some of the realizations/ lessons learned:

Time stops for no one:

There are things that are inevitable like death, the sun rising, etc. No matter what is going on, what were doing, what were contemplating, time will continue to go on. We can't stop time. Each day we get a set of 24 hours as a fresh start to make the most of the present. We get an opportunity everyday to focus on what matters before our time runs out in this world. The clock is running so let go of anything that does not make you happy. Life is too short to be unhappy.

Forgiveness is important:

Along with that, let go of long-held resentment toward family members, friends, or unresolved conflicts. It's difficult to focus on forgiveness when you have been hurt but studies show that practicing forgiveness helps reduce risk of heart attack, improves sleep, reduces blood pressure, lowers anxiety, lowers depression, and unhealthy anger. Forgiveness does not mean approval or agreement but rather making a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings and having mercy whether the other person deserves it or not. It can also help with healing and moving on with life. For me, this meant putting myself in my moms shoes and realizing that she was probably going through her own inner turmoil. Understanding that she probably didn't know how to show love and thinking about how I would feel if Emma decided to distance herself from me when's she's an adult.

Be grateful:

It is so easy to get caught up in day to day life and endless things to do. Especially with working full time, taking care of kids, school, etc. In the middle of the chaos we forget to just stop and smell the roses. We forget to be thankful for the little things in life or small social daily interactions with others.

We're too busy focusing on accomplishing our next goal or life phase but we have to remember to appreciate life as it is right now in the moment. What we have now is what we wished we had probably not too long ago.

Take care of your health:

Along with being too busy to practice gratitude, I feel like its also easy to forget to take care of ourself and our health. If you're like me, you probably spend your workday sitting at a desk and not getting much physical activity. I want to increase my physical activity and eat better to improve my overall health. I want to be able to live a longer healthier life with my daughter. I want to prevent the onset of any health conditions.

Dont take life too seriously:

This is something I need to work on. I tend to be very serious and just always focused on work. I have to remember to grow a funny bone and laugh. Also, you never know what others maybe going through and putting a smile on their face or laughing can make their day. Its also important to always remain kind and humble. Remember to not let other peoples mood affect your own. You can't control what happens outside of you but you can control how you react to it. Dont let someone who is upset make you upset.

Hang out with those who care about you:

I don't have a big huge family or circle of friends but for those of you who do, realize you are very lucky. Many people like myself would do anything to be able to have contact with family but we don't. If I did I would definitely make sure to keep in touch and not let the relationships die down. Make time to be around those who you care about.

Make your own decisions/ face your fears:

Pretty much follow your dreams. What would you do tomorrow if you knew with certainty that you weren't going to fail? Often times we let our fears and doubts stop us from from going after what we want. Dont worry about what others may say. Dont wait for approval before you take action. It's never too late to go after what you want. Even if we hit rock bottom there are so many lessons to be learned. It may be rainy now but tomorrow the sun will shine. Id rather lay on my death bed disappointed with a decision than wondering what if.

No relationship is going to be perfect and I now accept that. Relationships are hard work and the effort is ongoing but I wont put my happiness on the hands of someone else. I leave behind anything that didn't go well today and welcome a new beginning tomorrow.




Welcome to my blog!

This is where we get real about how we can reframe our thinking and negative beliefs about ourselves. A casual self-empowerment blog all about self awareness and self-care. 

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