21 Life Lessons by Barbara S. Talley

Anyone that knows my story knows that I have lived a life full of challenges and tests.   So, that only means that I have learned a lot of lessons and have managed to consistently make lemonade out of the lemons.  Fortunately, I love lemonade!  Three of my favorite spiritual quotes on facing challenges are: “The tree most pruned bears the best fruit. “You can’t have a testimony without tests.” And, “I give thee tests because I desire to exalt your station.” I didn’t write those quotes, but I sure can relate to them.  The first I believe is biblical or inspired by biblical principles.  The second I heard from a friend who heard it from someone else.  The last quote is paraphrasing a quote from the Bahai Faith.

Below I am sharing my ‘21 Life Lessons ‘ which I was inspired to do by Erma Bombeck, who shared her life lessons after she learned that she was dying from cancer.  She died in 1996.  I decided to not wait until my deathbed to reflect on my lessons.  Perhaps you will be inspired to do the same.

21 Things I’d Do Differently, If I knew then what I know now…

  1. I would have spent more time developing my talents.  I would have learned to draw, written sooner, published sooner, and spent more time listening to my spirit than to others.
  2. I wouldn’t have stopped singing just because someone told me that I couldn’t sing.
  3. I would have waited to be intimate with someone who loved God, my spirit, and soul more than my body.  I’d have wished that I’d learned sooner the difference between “I love you” and “I lust you.”
  4. I would have stayed home with all my kids when they were under five and loved every moment and made do with less stuff.
  5. I would have insisted on knowing all of my children’s friends and been the mom that had everyone over.
  6. I would have given or thrown away all the stuff I hadn’t used in a year and not allow clutter in my sacred space.  I’d have made my home a ‘fortress for well-being’ instead a warehouse full of useless stuff.
  7. I would have lived a much simpler life and only purchased things that I needed instead of anything that I wanted. I’d have spent less and saved more so that I’d have the money to visit my grandchildren whenever I wanted.  I wouldn’t buy anything that I couldn’t afford.
  8. I would have more dinner parties and time with my friends and not put it off for another work project.
  9. I’d have taken more time to nurture the relationships between my sisters, cousins, and dear friends.  I’ve also have gotten to know my aunts, uncles, and grandmother while they were alive.
  10. I’d have judged less and loved more unconditionally.
  11. I’d have complimented my husband more and helped him to reach his dreams.  I’d have shown him more gratitude for the little things and his belief in me.
  12. I’d have listened to my father’s story and written it down so I could benefit from the lessons when I became his age.  I’d also have written my story as it was happening.
  13. I would have excelled in nutrition and health.  I’d never have stopped running since I loved it.  I’d have exercised more, learned sooner about vitamins, minerals, proteins, vaccines,  and pro-biotics,  and would have done yoga and pilates sooner and religiously.
  14. I’d have hired an interior decorator to make my home beautiful instead of buying a luxury car.
  15. I would have been less trusting of what people said and relied more on what they actually did.
  16. I would never have told a lie, gossiped about another person, or said anything unkind.
  17. I would have respected myself more and not allowed others to make me feel ashamed of myself.
  18. I’d have been kinder to my stepmother and perhaps she would have been able to heal and find love in her heart sooner for me.
  19. Although I did well in school, I would have strived for perfection since I had the capacity.  I would have stayed in school and gotten a PhD before I had kids.
  20. I’d have brushed more, flossed more, and eaten less junk food as a kid and young adult.
  21. I would never have stopped playing.

The good news about my list is that some of them I can still do!

The previous is an excerpt from my book, ‘The Great-Full Heart Challenge’ due out in 2011.  Barbara Talley is a keynote speaker, author, poet, and trainer who can be reached at www.thepoetspeaks.com.

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