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On Growing Older and Wiser . . .



By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

Since Mother's Day is just around the corner, I wanted to take this chance to wish all the mothers reading this blog a happy Mother's Day!

I always chuckle when I see "mom-humor" pins and pictures because I've been there and done that plenty of times over the years.

Like most kids, when I was growing up I didn't appreciate all the hard work and sacrifices my mom made for me. Nor did I realize the incredible amount of time and effort she was continually pouring out.

But there's a funny thing that happens as you get older (especially when you have your own kids). And that's this: You begin to see your parents, particularly your mom, in a new light. As you raise your own kids and deal with struggles, you FINALLY empathize with what life was once like for her. And you realize she was a saint for putting up with you back when you were so awful.


I now realize that everything my mom did was because she loved me and wanted me to turn into a hard-working, well-functioning, wholesome adult. Not because she loved to torture me with chores or rules.

I have to remind my kids of these truths quite often. I'm not trying to make their lives miserable by making them work or limiting their screen time. Everything I do for them is out of a deep love–because I want them to be able to thrive when they grow up.

And while I get glimmers that they understand that concept from time to time, I have the feeling they won't be able to fully grasp it until they're adults, especially when they begin training their own children.

The growing older and wiser principle can apply to a lot of things in life, can't it?

When I think about the writing life, for example, I realize that growing older and wiser applies there too. Once upon a time, before I was published, I had certain expectations about what life was like for a published author. I believed that once I was published the road would be paved with roses and rainbows. And that every day would be filled with sunshine.

When I looked at other published authors, I only saw their success, smiles, and popularity. I thought that getting an agent, a book deal, and being a multi-published author would somehow catapult me to the "other side."

But now that I'm here, I realize there really is no "other side." I'm not all that different than I was before. I still have bad days. Things don't always go perfectly in my life. And some days the road is paved with dandelions and thunderstorms.

In looking back at the naive young writer I used to be, I see that I wasn't able to appreciate just how hard those more experienced authors worked day in and day out. I didn't understand the incredible amount of time and perseverance they'd put in to get where they're at. I didn't realize all the sweat and tears they'd shed to reach success.

But now that I'm more experienced myself, I can appreciate (just like in parenting!) those who've gone before me. I see them in a new light. I now realize what it takes. And I can look upon all of their accomplishments with more awe because finally I know first-hand just how hard it truly is.

Yes, growing older and wiser is a funny thing. We realize how foolish we once were and at the same time recognize how far we still have to go.

This Mother's Day I'm reminded of just how much I have to appreciate about my Mom and all she did for me. And I'm reminded to stay humble and not take for granted any of those who are ahead of me in this journey of life.

How about you? Are you doing anything special to celebrate Mother's Day? How have YOU grown older and wiser over the years?

19 comments:

  1. I'm entering my last year of my 40s. It's giving me pause for thought but surprisingly in a good way. Despite my body's sometimes betrayal, I'm enjoying my adult kids and loving letting go a bit of all the anchors of expectations. I'm enjoying being a bit selfish again, indulging my dreams like I did when I was younger. I don't know about wiser, but less timid for sure.

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    1. Julie, I think as I've gotten older I've paused for thought too in lots of good ways and been able to let go of expectations/high ideals that were perhaps unrealistic. And now I'm enjoying things a bit more. Funny how that happens! :-)

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  2. In so many ways, I feel like having children drops you into the Refiner's Fire like nothing else. You find out things about yourself that shock you--in good ways and bad. But it's an amazing time of discovery, because when you've come through the fire you realize you're a lot stronger than you used to think. And having twins (as you know!) is a whole new level of refinement. I've found the same to be true in writing. When people ask me if we're going to have any more children (we have four), I always say: "Writing has become my fifth child." I have to feed it, nurture it, protect it and discipline it. And, like being a mom, I've been refined by being a writer.

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    1. Oh totally drops you into the Refiner's Fire! It's amazing how much you realize how far you still have to grow!

      I love your analogy of writing being like a child! I can totally relate to that!

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    2. I love this analogy too, Gabrielle! And also your thoughts about being dropped into the Refiner's Fire when you become a mom. Oh-sooooo true!

      Happy Mother's day, one and all. :)

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    3. Happy Mother's Day to you too, Barb! Hope it's a great one! :-)

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  3. Oprah once said, "I weep for the woman I was." That is me for sure. I made so many dumb decisions in the past, and sometimes still make them. But, as a writer, I have been able to incorporate a lot of those stories into my books... especially the bad relationships.. LOL.. live and learn. Not having kids was probably the smartest thing that I did, as I did not want to be a single mother dealing with an A-hole ex husband the rest of my life. I was great at picking the wrong men. I guess I would call myself a late bloomer but I now am blossoming like a big beautiful rose!

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    1. Ooh! Great quote, Marla! I think we all have those regrets, the "I wish I would have's." But all we can do is move forward and be wiser for the mistakes we once made. So glad to hear that you're blossoming! :-)

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  4. Not a mom yet but mothers are a special breed. I love the pic with the doctor at the top. Hilarious.

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    1. Hi Sheena-kay! Thanks for stopping by! I get a total kick out of the pic's too! A lot of truth to them! :-)

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  5. Whole-heartedly LOVE my mother. Would be loss without her. Tender-hearted, strong, hardworking - a proverb 31 woman no less. She taught and is still continuing to teach me the value of hard work.

    HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY ALL!! I'm not a mom yet but I find the gift of motherhood truly beautiful.

    Hopefully your kids are doing something special for you!

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  6. The journey of motherhood (and writing) provides a different outlook depending upon our perspective. It's a little like what I think a mountain climber experiences in his quest to reach the top. It's never easy, but there are rewards along the way -- the view at every level is awesome albeit temporary. I suspect once the goal is reached, the view from the peak may be spectacular but short-lived because there are continuing challenges with thin air and the inevitable descent... back to reality, family and the next book. :)

    Happy Mother's Day, Jody. (Oh, and there's a review of ANG coming on my blog tomorrow.)

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  7. Jody, I don't think I have to tell you how humbling I find motherhood to be!! Yikes! And I'm proud of you for all your hard work. You've been a role model for me in many ways, and I'm thankful to watch you handle success with grace. :) Happy Mother's Day!!

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  8. I am on "the other side" of the mommy life as an empty-nester. So often I see my mom in the things I say and do now more than ever. It is an odd stage of life, to be the parent of adults. New ground, most of it is pretty great so far.

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