I Wish I’d Known…


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Topic of the week: What advice do you wish you’d been given when you were younger?

This is a question I posed. I must have put it in the queue a long time ago, because I honestly don’t remember what made me think of it. Maybe I was frustrated by something the kids did or said. Or maybe I was overwhelmed with my responsibilities as a member of the Sandwich Generation – having kids and grandkids as well as an aging parent who needs care. Or maybe I was missing my dad and his calm, capable way of handling things. He always seemed to have a logical answer for anything that was bugging me. Anyway, I’ve almost always been one who needed to experience failure in order to understand what not to do. Advice like “Don’t run on wet tile” didn’t sink in until I’d skidded across the tile at the pool. So some advice probably wouldn’t have done me any good. But there are a few things I wish Dad would have told me:

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Back when I was in grade school, I realized that most of my friends had a Van or Vander in front of their last name. I asked Dad why we didn’t have a name like that. His response, “You can write Van in front of your last name if you like.” If the lesson he’d hinted at back then had sunk in, I’d have saved myself so much agony. So many things are not worth the effort to worry about.

Write everything down. I’ve kept diaries from time to time, and later on I’ve looked at them and laughed at how much I anguished over things that now seem trivial. While I suppose it could be depressing to know that problems get bigger, I look at it as a sign that I’ve always managed to overcome my problems and move on. I think I read somewhere that writing things down helps you let go of things that are bothering you. I haven’t tried that yet, but I know that making a to-do list for the following day helps me keep on track. Knowing that I have it written down helps me to get to sleep because I know I won’t forget something important. Even if I lose my list or forget to take it with me (which happens more often than I like to admit), simply writing something down makes it more likely I’ll remember whatever it was. As the years go by, remembering things is more and more difficult, so I’ve finally gotten in the habit of writing down as much as I can.

Ask questions. I’ve learned a lot by asking “Why?” I suppose curious toddlers have it right. Asking why gives you answers. Once I asked mom why we use chopsticks. She told me it was because it’s bad luck to cut your food after it’s been cooked. I’ve never been able to verify that belief, but the explanation worked for me. Now I wish I’d asked other whys when I had the chance. Why did grandma and grandpa come to America? What happened to the rest of dad’s relatives in Japan? Now it’s too late to ask. I should have asked when I had the chance.

Hug more. I’m not demonstrative by nature, and it might be a cultural thing. But I wish I’d been more attentive to the family members who are no longer around to hug. My grandkids all hug me, even the adult ones. I wish I’d done that for my dad and grandma.

Don’t dwell on mistakes you’ve made or things that have gone wrong. Focus on the happy times. I tend to be optimistic, but I do tend to dwell on things I’ve messed up on. Mistakes I’ve made. Things I should have said but didn’t. Things I said that I shouldn’t have. I think my scrapbooking habit helps with this. When I’m putting pictures in my scrapbooks, I’m reminded of the happy times. I’ve been at this for over twenty years now, and I’m running out of shelf space for my albums, but I’ll keep on going, because it’s therapy for me. It’s friend therapy because I normally work on these pictures while I’m with friends, and I’ve read that socializing with peers is good for you. And it’s other therapy because I’m reminded that there are plenty of good things happening, so I have nothing to complain about when it comes to my life.

I’m sure if I think about this some more I’ll come up with other things I wish I’d known, but this is enough for now. What advice do you wish someone had given you?

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
This entry was posted in Daily life, Dealing with stress, inspiration, Patricia Kiyono, What if, Words of Wisdom and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to I Wish I’d Known…

  1. Great advice for all of us, Patty. I heard so many family stories and I asked a few questions, not all of which got answered.
    As for sweating the small stuff and dwelling on mistakes, oh, I was queen of those! I still have to stop myself sometimes.
    Now, let’s see what I can post on Friday without baring my soul…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Ha! This is why I’m thankful to have the Monday slot. I have lots of time to write and edit my post, taking out things I figure I shouldn’t share with the world.


  2. What an amazing list of advice. I think I needed to hear some of these.
    I love how your dad told you that could write Van in front of your name.

    I’m not an overly affectionate person (hugging anyone other than my kids) but I’m trying to be more so. I now hug my mom and the top of her head when I leave her place. I see shows where adult siblings hig each other all the time and find myself thinking “oh that must be nice” but I don’t do that with my own brothers and sister. Maybe this is something that I should work on.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Van is Dutch for “from” and West Michigan is full of people with Dutch ancestry. I thought having a last name like everyone else would help me fit in! My family is getting better at hugs – I think it’s because my brothers and I married into families that do a lot of hugging.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. jeff7salter says:

    all those are great advice — whether back then for you as a younger person, or now for you in your middle years… or for those who now succeed you in the new generations.
    This will be a difficult topic for me this week, because I was not one who readily followed advice, regardless of how wise or experienced (or senior) was the person/source offering it.


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