When I was a teenager I was pretty sure that I had life figured out and that everyone was making much ado about nothing. A successful life meant being able to do whatever I wanted to do with whomever I chose whenever I chose to do it.
When I was in my twenties, I thought I knew it all and then some. I figured that a successful life was one that was filled with achievements, mostly in regard to career, and that earning money was the most important thing.
When I was in my thirties and forties, I was pretty sure I knew everything there was to know about raising a family. I didn’t take advice well and I didn’t think anyone could do it better than I could.
Now that I am in my fifties I have come to realize that I never really knew much of anything. All of those years in which I thought I had all of life’s secrets figured out, I was actually being quite foolish.
The older I get, the more I realize that life isn’t about knowing it all – life is about people. The secret of life isn’t related to freedom or money or creating the picture perfect family – the secret of life is to love and be loved.
Back in my teenage years, when I thought my parents were clueless, I realize that they were simply letting me figure things out for myself. In my twenties, thirties and forties, they walked alongside me but never criticized my choices because they realized that I had to learn some things on my own in order to truly understand them. For that, I will always be eternally grateful.
So to my children, now in their twenties and thirties, I say this…go ahead and reach for everything you hope to accomplish. Never feel like you cannot do something simply because someone tells you that you can’t. Hopefully we, your parents, have taught you some things that will help you as you travel through life, but know this: You will never know it all.
Life isn’t about being the best or being perfect, life is about people. Life is about reaching out and helping as well allowing yourself to be helped when you need it. Life is full of blind corners and let downs, but it’s also full of happiness and love and the belief that better days are always ahead.
I used to think I knew it all – it seems like the older I get, the less I truly know, but there are a few things I know for certain. In tough times, family always has your back. True friends are more important that any money you’ll ever earn, and the greatest successes you’ll accomplish cannot be engraved on an award or a name plate.
Being loved and loving, that’s what life is all about. I know it.