Article by Wendy McCance
As the holidays get into full swing, I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished this year. What was the most important thing I have learned?
It got me thinking about the progression in my life. I thought about all of the ups and downs. There were so many good years, but there were also many terrible ones. If there was one thing I wish I had done early in my life, it would have been to put together a growth chart. I would have loved to have a chart where at the end of each year, I wrote down the thing I learned that made the biggest impression on me.
I have been thinking about starting a tradition with my own kids. On New Year’s Eve each year, I want my kids to write down what made the biggest impression on them over the year. It would definitely be something special they could look back on as they grow up. It would also give them something special to show to their own children some day.
I don’t have the best memory so there is no way I could go back in my mind and fill out a chart of the things I’ve learned since I was young. Even so,I thought I would try to go over the last 10 years and write down what I have learned each of those years.
Here is what I have learned in my mid 30’s – mid 40’s.
2003- I live for my kids. They are my source of strength. (while going through a divorce, thinking of my kids helped me to stay strong and face and overcome many fears).
2004- I can do just as much and at times more than a man. (working on the line at a truck plant as an extra-man. My job was to do any job on the line when someone was absent. I also learned how to do repair work. There were many jobs I did that not every guy could handle).
2005- I want more in my life than just a good paying job. (realizing that I needed to have a job I was passionate about. I didn’t just want to work my life away at a job that paid well but gave me no mental challenges).
2006- There really are good men out there. (getting married to an incredible man after having spent sixteen years in an abusive marriage).
2007- Home really is where the heart is. (moving into our dream home we always kept our home filled with friends and family. It became known as the “party” house).
2008- There are no absolutes in life. Save money and make a plan. (finding out the plant my husband and I worked at was closing).
2009- Doctors aren’t always right. (going to several doctors before getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia).
2010- It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. (Going back to school and finding a new career to pursue after the plant closed).
2011- Even in the bleakest of times, you will find strength and survive. (going bankrupt, losing our primary and secondary homes, both my husband and I trying to find a job that made more than minimum wage all while raising three children).
2012- Sometimes rebuilding from scratch can produce miraculous results. (my husband and I went after our dream jobs and got them. We knew what failure felt like and we had the guts to fight through to get what we wanted).
2013- Dreams do come true. (I am doing what I love which is working as a writer. I am making good money again. My future excites me).
In a ten-year span, I have faced my darkest times and my most memorable successes. I have learned that I am much stronger than I ever realized was possible. More importantly, I have learned that my children are much stronger than I ever thought they could be. They are the most well-adjusted kids I know. They have gone along for the ride as we went through divorce, welcomed a new man into our home, landed in our dream home, had it taken away, faced many uncertainties as we struggled to make enough money to put food on the table and in the end they saw their mom and step-dad fight for and accomplish making their dreams come true.
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