In just a few days, my mom turns 80 years old. She is a spunky lady who can still can be found kicking a ball around the greenbelt or shooting a hoop or two with her grandchildren! She is living life well, filled with much joy and love. One would never know the hardships her story contains. A life story not simple by any means.
Mom experienced life as a refugee after World War II with only her mother, 6 siblings, and the clothes on her back. Their father presumed dead and their home destroyed.
She married an American and immigrated to the United States where learning a whole new language and culture was a challenge.
She weathered those early years as a young mother all alone with her husband serving in the Korean War for 18 months.
Life didn’t become easier after that. She experienced loss compounded by loss. Her mother. Her sister. And at 4½-years old, the ugly disease of leukemia took her beautiful son away from her.
So how did she do it? How did she weather it all and hold onto her joy. How did she step into God’s path and allow Him to create beauty from ashes?
Today, she is likely to be one of the first to smile in a room.
She lives fully.
She loves deeply.
All at 80.
I talked with Mom and with my siblings about what we have learned from her and what she would tell a young person today about living life well. Since she is turning 80, I thought 80 would be the perfect number of secrets! This is what we came up with.
80 Secrets Mom Taught Us About Living Life Well
- Love deeply, lavishly, and relentlessly.
- Your husband,
- Your children,
- Your family.
- Believe in God and hold onto that faith.
- Pray often
- But never go to sleep without saying those prayers.
- Honor your husband.
- Enjoy your husband.
- Take time to connect with him each day.
- Be his advocate
- And your children’s advocate.
- Be persistent in getting your children to talk to you when they are hurt or struggling.
- Give them consistency and routine,
- Creating and honoring special family traditions
- While letting love be the ultimate guiding factor rather than rigidity, rules, or stress.
- Stay involved in their lives, yet not impede their independence.
- Give them space to be different than yourself.
- Encourage their unique gifting
- And remind them how wonderful and loved they are each day.
- As they grow, support their marriages.
- And encourage them in their parenting.
- Reminding them that it is okay to fail and get back up again
- Because perfection is not necessary or possible.
- Always say, “I love you”.
- Especially when you leave
- Or go to sleep.
- Don’t waste extra moments on anger.
- Forgiving as quickly as possible.
- Cry when you need to, then move onto the next moment.
- Find things you enjoy then do them.
- Give lots of hugs.
- Smile often
- Laugh a lot
- Listen to music
- Soak in every moment to its fullest.
- Remembering that simple joys have a lasting impact.
- Fill your heart with thankfulness
- Not wasting anything God has given you.
- Or forgetting to take the utmost care of them all.
- Be a good steward of your finances.
- So, whatever you do, do it with diligence
- And do it with excellence.
- Including caring for yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.
- Eat healthy.
- Stay active.
- Exercise regularly,
- Skipping the car and walking whenever and wherever you can
- Squeezing in stretches and fitness into the random moments you are given.
- Enjoy the beautiful gift of nature, incorporating walks, hikes, and jogs.
- Never stop learning.
- Read often
- Staying informed of current events.
- Put the calculator away and use your head to keep it sharp.
- Take a little time to be alone when possible
- Treating yourself with a few of your favorite little things
- But don’t overindulge in anything.
- Never break the trust of another.
- Live life right, taking the right road, not the shortcuts.
- Face life with bravery
- Learn from the past
- Do not let it define you.
- Let your life experiences make you stronger
- And let them be a testimony of faith
- And stories from which others can learn.
- Because there is always hope, we need never give up.
- Live truth, acting and speaking in one accord.
- Being yourself rather than someone else.
- Knowing that honesty is always necessary.
- Be direct in your communication
- However, hold your tongue in anger
- Refraining from profanity or hurtful words.
- Instead, encourage others with a kind word or compliment.
- Give them the gift of time
- Being emotionally present
- And sacrificing for those you love.
- Help them in times of need.
I know this is quite a long list, but are there other suggestions you would add to this list? Or maybe something here really spoke to you about incorporating into you life? I (and my mom and family) would love to hear your thoughts!! If you want to read more about Mom’s story, you can find it here and here.
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