Friday, August 24, 2012

10 Worthwhile Things I Have Learnt Growing Up

"Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what`s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves...for growing up." From the Wonder Years.

So I have got some time to kill as I am sitting up in the "break room" while my daughter gets her first solo time at her new daycare. It is rare these days that I am in a room with little disruption and have time to just kill. When I have time that is when the brain starts going and when I reflect on things that have happened, things people have said and just life in general. This reflection time used to be on my walk home from the daycare drop off but it seems that these quiet moments are now few and far between.

I have been watching my daughter more and more these days as she grows bigger seemingly with each moment. I kind of want to hit the pause button and suspend this wonderful time when she still wants cuddles and her mama all the time. It is so true how people tell you your kids will grow up in an instant. I still look at her in bed and see her long legs hanging out from under her duvet and wonder how she went from a tiny baby to a little girl. Of course as they get older things become more interesting and she has more and more to say. I do love hearing what little people have to say and she is starting to develop her own kirky sense of humour. It makes me think about my own childhood and the things I took away from it. What advice do I wish i had taken when I was growing up? What things would have been useful to know beforehand?

10 Worthwhile Things I Learnt Growing Up

10. Wear a bike helmet. I remember when I was younger and basically used my bike as a main mode of transportation every summer. It was my vehicle and so my parents made me get a helmet. Now helmets were bigger and uglier about 20 years ago and I thought I looked totally uncool. I actually hooked it on one of my handle bars which looking back probably made me look even more uncool. However today as I am aware of how dangerous the roads can be and also how fragile our little heads are, helmets are suddenly very very cool so wear one Ida!!!

9. Sports. Okay now I dont want to be a pushy stage mom and force my daughter into doing anything she doesnt want. I so remember when I was a swimmer and seeing parents seated in the bleachers at 530am writing down their kids splits during a bloody practice session! However I do want to point out my opinion on sports and its positive impact on my own growth from a little person to an adult. Swimming taught me more then learning how to stay afloat. It taught me discipline, it taught me time management, it taught me to be fit and healthy, it taught me to be social and develop strong friendships and it taught me to be competitive in a healthy way. I had so little time growing up with my busy schedule that I didnt have time to get into trouble nor did I ahve the time to waste.  It made me excel in the pool and in the classroom. There was no hanging out at the mall after school watching time go by for me. So sports is a great thing on so many levels and definitely helps establish a strong sense of self confidence.

8. School

So this one is pretty obvious and everyone knows how important school is. Or do they? Maybe the fact i grew up with two highly educated parents who would have literally killed me had I not gone to university had an impact on that. University was the bare minimum in our house. But looking back, I am happy my parents valued our education so much and that I learnt to love learning..well some of it. Math just never came easy to me and I stopped taking it as soon I had the option to do so. But it was through school that I discovered my love of wrtiting and reading. I fell in love with Shakespeare, Atwood, and Dickinson and learnt how to express all the things I was feeling onto paper. It was a gift really and I was very lucky to go to a school where the teachers really had your interests at heart. No one slipped through the cracks at my school and there was always someone there to help you. I hope my daughter falls in love with school and learning too and that is leads her to study something thaat fascinates her and leaves her craving more. I hope she inherited some of her grandfather´s inquisitiveness and thirst for knowledge. So I am telling her to go the distance but take her time in deciding what to do. If I could go back to 1998 and choose again what degree I would do and what career path I wanted, I am not sure I would pick the same path. I mean who knows at the age of 18 what they really want to do??

7. Sunscreen

I cannot emphasise this point enough! I wish i would have listened to my mother and slapped on the spf 25 all those years ago and I wish I had never used sunbeds. It is ironic as here I was worrying about skin cancer when I end up getting a totally different unrelated kind. I still worry about it and now sit in the shade and religiously use SPF 50 on myself and my daughter. There is no way I am taking any chances at all after the shit storm I lived through.  I want her to learn young how important it is to care of your skin. And not to mention reducing the wrinkles and skin damage you get from it. So slap it on!!

6. Friends

Okay so lots of info here. You meet lots of people in your life especially if you move around alot and get out and see the world which i totally think is an awesome to do. Some stick and some don´t. Not everyone is going to like you or want to be your best friend and you know what? That is totally okay. I think many of us want to be accepted by everyone and it is easy to get hurt when you feel excluded etc...But you need to take comfort in your real friends. The ones who stick by you, the ones who despite not seeing each other for years go right back to where you were within minutes and the ones who just get you. People will disappoint you and will get hurt and that is just a part of life. Remember we all make mistakes and forgiveness is a means of letting go and moving forward. And dont be a mean girl - they always end up miserable and in crappy marriages!

5. Health

Important one here. Now I think it is important to say that there needs to be a balance between crazy hypochondriac behaviour and complete recklessness. I definitely grew up on the crazy side of things and thought i had every disease known to mankind. There was the meningitis outbreak, the ebola virus, brain tumour (not that crazy anymore), diabetes...It goes on and on. I worried so much about all the things that could kill me that i would sometimes have actual anxiety attacks over it. I remember seeing a doctor in London and walking in out of breath and reeling off my list of complaints from potential stomach cancer to ear infections. She didnt  prescribe any drug to me but rather gently suggested I might need some counselling!! I dont think that is healthy but I do think taking responsibility over your health is a good idea. Eat well (it doesnt ahve to be perfect as cake is necessary to maintaining sanity), exercise, dont drink too much (i seriously didnt pay attention to that one and remember alcohol makes you gain weight), dont smoke (I will seriously pull the cancer card on you here) and relax. I wish I had relaxed more when I was younger. There really arent that many big things to worry about.

4. Taking a chance

Now I believe that every decision we make leads us to our destiny. In my case, deciding to throw my old life away and take the leap to move to london really lead me to where I am today. It was through this chain of events that I met my husband, moved to Norway, had my daughter and saved my life. I constantly think how things might have been different if I were still living in Vancouver and had never followed my dream? Where would I be? Would I be happy? If I hadnt had a baby would I be dead or terminally ill? Crazy things to think about. All I know is that I didnt want to wake up on my 40th birthday and think, "I missed that window and life just passed me by." So take leaps and chances because it is hard to shake the feelings of regret that can come later.

3. Boys

Oh boys...we love em, we hate em, we truly cant live without em. I have been a romantic my whole life and swooned over many a boy. I have fallen in love and fallen into traps too. I have met men who made me into a better person and others who dragged me into the pits of hell. If you think you can change a man by loving him that much more or doing this or that, you are mistaken. It doesnt work and you simply end up drowning alongside him. You need to be with someone who lifts you up and makes you want to fly. But be prepared to meet your Achilles heel. All women do at one point and he will wrattle you and make it impossible to resist him. Dont beat yourself up over it but learn from it. I learned from my own experience that anger is a means of engagement, once the angers goes, the chains are cut and you are free. Free to meet the person you are meant to be with and who makes you feel like the princess you are.

2. Money

Oh this one is important and has not been my strongpoint. Save your money! Make plans and learn how to manage it. This is so important and I wish I had listened more in economics class. What I learned from my own experience is that those "rainy days" do indeed happen and you want to be prepared for them.

1. Family

At the end of the day, when your defences are down and the deal is done, who can you truly truly count on? It is your family. They are the first people you call when crappy stuff happens and also when you have something amazing to say. If you are lucky they love you (most of the time) unconditionally and give you a strong base to grow from. I grew up in such a strong and loving family and it made me want the same for myself when I grew up. Dont take your family for granted and make time for them. Don´t waste time holding onto bitterness or anger. Get it out! If I had known I had so much less time with my father, I would have done things differently so dont wait for a tragedy to recognise what you have. And listen to your mother because she knows best!!!

Thanks guys and have a great weekend!


PS: Bone scan news came back clear which is fantastic. I will take whatever cancer free scans I can get. Onwards and upwards to the next obstacle.


  1. "I remember seeing a doctor in London and walking in out of breath and reeling off my list of complaints from potential stomach cancer to ear infections. "

    At that time in London would the cancer have been already present? Could it be that your "body knew" and was sending out signals to your consciousness?

  2. Lisa - no I dont think so though I am not an expert and apparently cancer takes years to develop. But it takes a very long time to actually feel symptoms as cancer initially rarely causes pain. I had this health anxiety from a young age and it was exacerbated with my crazy lifestyle in London. I always find it so ironic that the health hypochondriac that everybody told to chill out, ended up with a serious chronic life threatening illness! Go figure. :) OBB xx