Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

In Honor of Maya Angelou: What Have YOU Learned?


As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the great Dr. Maya Angelou passed away yesterday morning at the age of 86. I remember reading all her books in the summer after 8th grade and being struck by the sheer force of her will and the triumph of her incredible accomplishments against so many odds. She was a woman of immense wisdom with a gift of language by which to share it. Of course, there are countless quotes and works to remember her by and I particularly love the following poem, especially the final line, which she shared in an interview with Oprah when being honored on her 70th birthday:

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

In honor of her extraordinary life, I invite you to share some things that YOU have learned in yours. I’ll start:

I’ve learned that people are flawed. People disappoint those they care about. People make mistakes. If you want a happy, successful relationship, you need to work towards more compassionate acceptance of those mistakes and flaws. You need to learn to forgive and move on.

I’ve learned that if someone has to change — even if it’s just one little thing — in order to be right for you, he or she’s not right for you.

I’ve learned that a well-fitting bra can make all the difference.

I’ve learned that moving your body is a quick and easy way to improve your mood and change your perspective.

I’ve learned that every trip to a new place is a homecoming for your soul.

I’ve learned that people show you who they are early and often.

I’ve learned that you’ll rarely regret time spent with people you love.

I’ve learned it’s easier to say “no” from the get-go than to pretend you won’t say it later or resent saying yes.

I’ve learned that one of the best gifts we can give is acceptance.

What have YOU learned?

108 comments… add one
  • LlamaPajamas May 29, 2014, 2:20 pm

    1) Being perfect is way overrated; 2) it’s usually best to err on the side of generosity; 3) sometimes you just have to suck it up and ask for help; 4) if you’re going to settle down with a life-partner, make sure it’s someone with whom you can be completely yourself; 5) thinking in absolutes is exhausting and makes you miss out on a lot of wonderful nuances.

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    • AliceInDairyland May 29, 2014, 2:24 pm


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    • LlamaPajamas May 29, 2014, 2:27 pm

      Oh, and my WHYL, wedding additions would be: you don’t have to wear white just because you’re the bride – if you’re buying the fanciest dress of your life it might as well be in a fun color! Never pass up the chance to have farm animals at your reception. Make sure you’re doing things that are meaningful to you, not just what you think couples are supposed to do when they get married.

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      • honeybeenicki May 29, 2014, 2:46 pm

        We went to the zoo this weekend and saw alpacas and I thought of you 🙂 And then we fed goats. We had two kids with us (my bonus son who is 13 and my nephew who is 11) and neither wanted to feed goats but we went anyway because I wanted to damnit!

      • LlamaPajamas May 29, 2014, 2:53 pm

        I love that you thought of me! And I’m glad you got to feed the goats!

      • honeybeenicki May 29, 2014, 2:56 pm

        I was trying to explain the difference between a llama and an alpaca to my nephew but he kept getting distracted. And I love feeding the goats. I love petting zoos in general since I don’t live on a farm.

  • joanna May 29, 2014, 2:25 pm

    No one is worthless.

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    • joanna May 29, 2014, 3:09 pm

      Also, love your body even if it is not ideal.

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  • No Pants May 29, 2014, 2:27 pm

    I’ve learned that no matter how much she drives me nuts, I love my mom to pieces. And that it definitely takes a certain type of someone to raise a confident kiddo with a disability, and she wins, hands down. I’ve learned that it took me being an adult to finally realize that. Hmmm. I’ve also learned that there is no one else who will fully understand some of the feelings I have, but that’s ok. Also, not everyone is entitled to an opinion.

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    • No Pants May 29, 2014, 2:31 pm

      Oh, yeah. I’ve also learned that I’ve been hyper aware of my body, how it moves and what it can do since I was wee, simply because I had to learn to do things differently from everyone else. And that’s pretty awesome.

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      • LlamaPajamas May 29, 2014, 2:32 pm

        That’s very awesome!

      • No Pants May 29, 2014, 2:38 pm

        Thanks! I think so, too. I didn’t really notice it until He Pants remarked about how strategic I am with how I carry laundry down two flights of stars and I thought, “You’re right!”

  • Diablo May 29, 2014, 2:28 pm

    This is broader and wiser than it might seem: “It’s hard to sing with someone who won’t sing with you.” (The Jayhawks)

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  • kerrycontrary May 29, 2014, 2:30 pm

    1) If people treat you badly, it’s more about them than about you. Everyone has their own issues. Chalk it up to “maybe they’re having a bad day” and move on.
    2) Don’t waste time with people who are dramatic or toxic. Don’t ever feel bad about cutting toxic people out of your life even if you’ve been friends since you were 6 months old.
    3) Parents are people, and raising you didn’t come with an instruction manual. They were trying their best. Forgive them for the majority of their offenses and mistakes. It’s not worth it to hold onto anger over your childhood.
    4) The results won’t come unless you put in the work. This applies to exercise, career, etc….
    5) Saying excuse me, thank you, and please goes a LONG way in every day life. It’s the difference between someone politely moving out of your way and a dirty stare (and maybe a few choice words).
    6) Be yourself!! It makes other people more comfortable, and more importantly, it makes you more comfortable. Don’t apologize for your quirks, likes/dislikes, hobbies or interests. Be proud of them!

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    • No Pants May 29, 2014, 2:41 pm

      YES to this: “Don’t apologize for your quirks, likes/dislikes, hobbies or interests. Be proud of them!”

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    • ktfran May 29, 2014, 2:42 pm

      I’ve only read your #1 so far, but it’s exactly what I was going to say.

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      • ktfran May 29, 2014, 2:43 pm

        And number 5. Being polite is my BIGGEST thing. I probably say thank you too much. But hey, I would rather go overboard than underboard with the whole politeness thing.

  • Painted_lady May 29, 2014, 2:37 pm

    I’ve learned that if the idea of doing something scares you (and it’s not actually dangerous, or is a reasonable level of danger), it’s probably worth trying at least once. I’ve learned that surprising yourself is the best way to be surprised. I’ve learned that being focused on a goal is worthless if you fail to realize the goal itself is no longer worth having. I’ve learned that enjoying who you are when you’re around someone is a far more valuable thing than almost anything else you can have in a relationship of any kind.

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  • GatorGirl May 29, 2014, 2:37 pm

    “I’ve learned it’s easier to say “no” from the get-go then to pretend you won’t say it later or resent saying yes.”
    This is a fabulous life lesson.
    I think what I’ve learned in the past few years is to stop comparing myself to others. It doesn’t bring anything good to my life. And to love the imperfect and curvier body I have.

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  • Amanda May 29, 2014, 2:37 pm

    1) Breathe.
    2) Not everything is black and white. There are lots of shades of gray.
    3) Once you know where people came from, you know where they’re going.
    4) Life can change in a split second.
    5) Cake for breakfast is perfectly acceptable.

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    • kerrycontrary May 29, 2014, 2:40 pm

      “life can change in a split second”. This is on the propelling forces behind the way I live my life. It’s why I try to squeeze in new experiences and new places every weekend. Why I almost always say yes to social gatherings. And why I say “I love you” every chance I get to my family. I know how one minute everything can be fine, and then the next the whole world has been turned upside down.

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    • lemongrass May 29, 2014, 2:44 pm

      Can you elaborate on #3? It reads to me like you are saying that people can’t overcome their past or a crappy childhood and I’m guessing (hoping?) that’s not what you mean.

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      • Amanda May 29, 2014, 2:49 pm

        No, no, no. Just once you learned what experiences shaped them (and how they responded to it) tell you how they’ll more than likely respond in the future. It’s something we say a lot in my family, and know what it means so it’s kind of hard to explain, but I’ll give it a whirl.
        Easiest example – my mom and my aunt. Both had a crappy-ass childhood. When my aunt describes it, it sounds horrible and she’s so damn negative about everything. When my mom talks about it she finds the humor or the upside. So if both of them are handed the same scenario I can pretty much tell how they’re going to handle it.

      • csp May 29, 2014, 3:05 pm

        I didn’t read it that way at all. it is more about what base someone has. It isn’t about judging potential but understanding the full person. Like I knew a girl who was very liberal in general and fiercely pro-life. Then I found out that her mom almost aborted her under pressure. Or how some people become councilors because they want to help kids with bad childhoods like their own.

      • Amanda May 29, 2014, 3:10 pm

        Yes! I have a comment explaining this (in fact, I didn’t do as good a job), but it’s stuck in moderation.
        6) FFS learn to spell your own email address.

      • lemongrass May 29, 2014, 3:12 pm

        Okay this makes sense! I figured that it wasn’t intended to be negative so that’s why I asked.

      • Amanda May 29, 2014, 3:28 pm

        No problem! I’m always happy to try to explain what I meant. Or have someone else do it. I’m not always so good the words putting into sentence doing

  • lemongrass May 29, 2014, 2:40 pm

    1) it is okay to distance yourself from people that make you feel like shit, even if you are related.
    2) taking care of myself makes me a better mom, even if it means letting my kid watch cartoons for a few hours so I can rest (ahem, yesterday)
    3) age is meaningless. Yes, most people grow up and hit milestones at similar ages but hitting them earlier/later than average doesn’t make them different. There are some wonderful teenage parents and there are some amazing marriages that start in their 60’s.
    4) if you are cold, stick your hands in some hot soapy water.
    5) you can learn something from anyone.

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    • cmary May 29, 2014, 4:10 pm

      What’s the down-thumb for here? It makes me laugh. I swear, those random down-thumbs are so confusing. I reread Lemon’s post for something possibly insulting…but I find nothing. Are you perhaps against warm soapy water? Do you prefer blankets and tea for chilly occasions?
      Down-thumber, explain, please.

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      • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 4:24 pm

        Clearly lemon is a temperatureist. What do you have against luke warm water?!

      • lemongrass May 29, 2014, 4:37 pm


  • csp May 29, 2014, 2:50 pm

    1.) I only love people who would never intentionally hurt me. People will do things thoughtlessly or with unintended side affects. But I love people who are always coming from a place of love.
    2.) I surround myself with people that are big fans of me. Sounds vain but I am too old to force friendships or take put downs for fundamental things about myself.
    3.) I rarely regret taking the high road. I normally cringe over mean things said in the heat of the moment rather than not saying something.
    4.) Go to bed angry. Yes, pause fights and sleep on them.
    5.) the second a voice is raised in a fight, all rational conversation stops. calm heads resolve conflicts.

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    • lemongrass May 29, 2014, 3:02 pm

      Yes to your #1. I find that people’s intentions are more important than their actions.

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      • rainbow May 29, 2014, 3:14 pm

        I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I don’t agree with this much. Points for trying are for kids. Screwing up sometimes and doing what you can to make up for it is ok, but I know too many people who consistently cause others pain and think the fact that they meant well and just had problems translating it to reality makes it hurt less, or be less their responsibility. Right now I’m focusing on results more. If someone consistently makes me feel bad I cut them off and don’t waste my time forgiving, forgetting and chalking it up to mental illness and/or clumsiness anymore.

      • rainbow May 29, 2014, 3:19 pm

        but I didn’t downthumb you!

      • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 3:21 pm

        I see where you’re coming from, but I still agree with the #1 big time.
        I think the difference here is this- the people you talk about who continually fuck up accidentally with no intention of hurting someone? Well, they clearly aren’t learning anything from prior mistakes that hurt people. For example, if you say something hurtful by accident, and you are called out on it, you apologize and then should never say it again because now you know its hurtful. Does that make sense?
        I guess I think if you’re consistently causing pain to others, you are just not caring that you’re doing that and not learning how to not do it again, which means you don’t really care if you hurt people.

      • rainbow May 29, 2014, 3:30 pm

        Yes, I agree with this. At some point trying in the same way that always backfires starts counting as not trying anymore. Specially if the people you hurt are willing to help you improve but you don’t listen to them.
        What I meant is, it doesn’t matter if you can’t treat people with respect because you’re an asshole or because you’re sick (like people with bad addictions they keep trying to overcome but never can, or people with severe mental illnesses). You don’t hurt people less because in a perfect world you would like to have more control over the situation.

      • csp May 29, 2014, 6:29 pm

        SO, I totally get what you mean. Those are black hole people and I don’t tolerate people who only take and don’t give.

      • lemongrass May 29, 2014, 3:33 pm

        I am thinking of when an older relative asks you if you are going to get married/have a baby, etc. You can be upset that they asked a really personal question or you can look at their intention and see that they are genuinely interested and care about your future.

      • rainbow May 29, 2014, 3:43 pm

        Like ugly presents!

      • Moneypenny May 29, 2014, 5:27 pm

        This is only semi-related in topic but: what about when someone says in some form or another, “I’m just going to end up hurting you” ? As in, an excuse to, say, not take your relationship to the next step, or not get close to you as a friend, or something similar. It’s been something I’ve been told more than once by someone in my life. It’s frustrating because it is such an excuse for someone to do what they like, because they’ve already warned you that they’re going to do so at some point. Or that the consequences of their actions are justified because that’s just how they are.

      • csp May 29, 2014, 6:03 pm

        Maya Angelou says, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

      • csp May 29, 2014, 6:10 pm

        So, I have some friends who have a hard time with confrontation and they will say one thing then blow me off. That is not the same thing. Honestly, I mean that sometimes someone will say, “I just wanted to die.” not thinking that the person they were with just lost someone. Or when someone thin says they feel fat to a fat friend. They are too busy navel gazing to realize what they said hurt. My husband might make an offhand comment that hurts but he will never call me a name out of anger. He might be late from work but he would never just blow off something important to me.

  • honeybeenicki May 29, 2014, 2:51 pm

    I’ve learned:
    – Dress for comfort first and style second (or not at all)
    – People are different. Just because I was one way doesn’t mean my kids will be that way and it is fruitless to compare myself to anyone else or vice versa.
    -Nothing is guaranteed in life. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.
    -Never make life decisions based on other people’s opinions. Do what you think is right and what will make you happy.
    -Deprivation is overrated. I may be chunky and I may want to do something about it, but depriving myself of things I love (ie soda and the occasional candy bar) just sets me up for disaster. Live with moderation.
    -You could get hit by a bus tomorrow, so enjoy life today.
    -A home doesn’t have to be spotless to be clean.
    -Sometimes you just have to pick your battles.

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  • ktfran May 29, 2014, 2:51 pm

    1. Smile often. You’ll be much happier.
    2. Say please and thank you. Even to people who are getting paid to provide a service. i.e. waitstaff, bus drivers, etc. If the customer before you was a complete asshole, you might just make his or her day knowing that helping you out is appreciated.
    3. It’s rarely about me. People have their own stuff going on so stop worrying so much. Seriously.
    4. Don’t settle. Even if there is lots of literature out there on why it’s ok to settle. Don’t.
    5. Therapy is the best thing I ever did for myself. So is yoga. And going to church on Sunday’s. (Not that I’m a religious person, but I find that solitude and feeling as thought I’m part of something bigger than myself is therapeutic.
    6. And finally, if you need a good cry, take a long hot shower and let it go. LET. IT GO.

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    • ktfran May 29, 2014, 2:55 pm

      7. Read everything over before you post because you’re likely to have grammatical/spelling errors. I just found, IDK, at least four.

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  • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 2:58 pm

    Everyone’s are so good. All I can think of are generic ones and I guess don’t be judgmental. Usually the thing you are judging will happen to you.
    Oh, and you are capable of pretty much anything. All you have to do is actually do it.

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    • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 3:14 pm

      Ok, I’ve got my official one now:
      Being content isn’t a bad thing. Its the best thing. There is nothing wrong with feeling perfectly happy with your life exactly as is, rather than feeling like you must be climbing a ladder to something else at all times to feel like you’re doing life right.

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      • GatorGirl May 29, 2014, 3:25 pm

        Omg yes. Living in the now is so important to me. Being happy with my life, in it’s current state. Even if I’m working towards a goal, focusing on being happy with what I have now is so good for me.

      • No Pants May 29, 2014, 3:27 pm

        This, 100%. I spent so much time in my 20s constantly looking for something else and I think I missed out on enjoying feel content and peaceful.

      • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 3:43 pm

        My siblings are big “ladder climbers” and I started to feel like I was wrong for not being interested in doing that. Honestly, right now I wouldn’t change one thing about my life and have no interest in busting my ass doing anything to go higher up some ladder, so why should I? Out of feeling like everyone else is, so I guess I should too? It took a while to get this realization though. And I’m now trying to give up on explaining it to the ladder climbers in my family.

      • No Pants May 29, 2014, 3:50 pm

        Same. My dad and one of my siblings are ladder climbers, and I (30-something me) still sometimes get caught up in thinking my definition of success should equal theirs. It’s such a negative feeling. I think I’ve gotten better, though. I’m glad you’re there, too! In my 20s, it was more about success being defined as getting my MFA and being something “great,” with my writing or art. When I actually was really quite happy painting and writing on my own. (Not that there is anything wrong with getting your MFA.)

      • lemongrass May 29, 2014, 3:52 pm

        I feel this way a bit about my life and the way I go against the grain by being a SAHM and having a lot of gender norms in my marriage. I think that some people would say I’m a “bad feminist” or whatever because I don’t have a job but honestly, you only get one life so you may as well live it the way that you want to.

  • rainbow May 29, 2014, 2:58 pm

    Most people who are abusive or unfair to others do so because they feel at a disadvantage and are trying to compensate for it. Be very careful when you feel underprivileged or a victim of the circumstances, don’t use it to justify being self-centered, lazy or unkind.

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  • rachel May 29, 2014, 3:00 pm

    How about one I am trying to teach myself?
    You don’t have to decide the entire future today. Stop. Breathe. Look around. This is your life – enjoy it.

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  • applescruffs May 29, 2014, 3:07 pm

    I’ve learned to say yes. Some things only happen once.

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  • veritek33 May 29, 2014, 3:14 pm

    I’ve learned to stop putting everything on a timeline. I don’t have to be married by 30. I don’t have to have kids by 30. Everything will happen when it’s supposed to.

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    • LlamaPajamas May 29, 2014, 3:25 pm

      When I was 27 or 28 my best friend and I made a list of things we wanted to do before we turned 30. I found the list a year or two ago (I’m 33 now) and had a good laugh because one of my goals was to adopt a kid on my own. All through my 20s I desperately wanted to be a mom and wasn’t at all interested in ever getting married. Then some things happened around age 29-30 and I decided I didn’t actually ever want kids, but I still didn’t think marriage was for me. Now I’m 33 and getting married in a few months… That’s why I posted what I did about absolutes – I used to think that there was a thing I had to do or I’d never be fulfilled, then I realized that there are so many ways to be happy. It was quite a nice realization!

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      • veritek33 May 29, 2014, 3:29 pm

        That’s wonderful! And I’m glad you’re finding happiness even in something you didn’t think you wanted!

      • TECH May 29, 2014, 3:42 pm

        I love this, too. I guess I just always assumed I would get married and have kids, and it hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes I wonder if my desire to have children is genuine, and how much is influenced by the world around me. Ever since I was in preschool I thought I would be a mom some day. But I think that was 100% influenced by my family and the culture around me.
        Right now, all I can think about is all the amazing things in my life that I can do because I don’t have children.
        Also, why do so many women, regardless of who they are and where they come from, have this “30 year old” mark in their head that tells them it would a good idea that they get married and have kids by that age?
        It’s been a marker in my life for as long as I can remember, too. Who started that?!

      • ktfran May 29, 2014, 4:18 pm

        Same here. I wanted the husband and the kids and the house and the dog ever since I can remember. The older I get, the less likely it looks like all of that will happen. And you know what? I’m 100% ok with that. I’m happy. I’m well adjusted. I have a pretty good life. So, now my mind works like this: things will happen the way they’re supposed to happen and when they’re supposed to happen. But the word “things” could mean anything. Basically, I feel like I’ll make the right decisions for me and in the meantime, don’t stress about it.

      • veritek33 May 29, 2014, 5:44 pm

        Honestly I think I’m a product of my environment. 30 seemed like the cutoff in the midwest a lot of times for marriage. 90 percent of my friends are married and I’m one of the oldest in our group, so I’m surrounded by married people with kids!

  • HmC May 29, 2014, 3:22 pm

    I’ve learned that live owes you nothing just by virtue of your existence. Your happiness is 100% your responsibility.

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  • rosie posie May 29, 2014, 3:34 pm

    I’m sidetracking a bit from Wendy’s question but not too much because Maya Angelou was a poet laureate and it’s still in the vein of literacy. I’m totally watching the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter and it’s going to reach 2 million dollars any minute now. That’s $2,000,000 in 2 days! Amazing!

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  • No Pants May 29, 2014, 3:35 pm

    One more, and then I’ll shut up: It’s probably been said, but if you are terrified to try something new, do it once and just see how it feels! (Well, within reason. Don’t break the law or anything.) I could swim before I could walk and love the water – I wanted to row when I moved here 10 years ago, but I was too scared to try because I was convinced I didn’t have the balance. But it turns out I have great balance and LOVE rowing and I’m now starting my second season.

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    • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 3:38 pm

      I did this with skateboarding. It didn’t end well 🙁

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      • No Pants May 29, 2014, 3:40 pm

        But you tried!!! I have a horrible fear of failure, so I tend to hide rather than try something new.

  • Miel May 29, 2014, 3:38 pm

    -Even though I didn’t like being forced to eat my vegetables all these years, I’ve come to realized that my parents did an awesome job raising me and loving each other. Now I want to become just like them.
    -There are extremely knowledgeable people out there in all fields of knowledge, and I should spend much more time listening to what they have to say. It’s not because it isn’t hard science that it’s stupid.
    -Saying the complete and utter truth to my boyfriend is always the best option, on all topics.
    -Calling strangers on the phone for work is not going to kill me. Same for customer services. Same for dentist appointment.
    -Living by myself is a lot of hard work and a huge reality check. But it’s ok. I’m doing fine. I’m learning.
    And to everybody who said “saying thank you and please”, YES! It’s so easy, and everybody likes you more and want to offer you a better service and it’s great.

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  • Lianne May 29, 2014, 3:56 pm

    My biggest one that I learned recently is, you can’t change other people or their behavior, you can only change you or your perspective on the situation. Here are some others:
    – Never say never. There are so many things I swore I’d never do. And then…
    – Don’t expect more from people than they are capable of giving and you won’t be disappointed.
    – Laugh at yourself!
    – Don’t be stubborn when it’s not that big of a deal.

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    • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 4:03 pm

      Love your don’t be stubborn one. I used to be SO close-minded and stubborn for basically no reason. Its nice not being that way anymore (mostly thanks to DW).

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      • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 4:05 pm

        …and from Lil. Its crazy how much you learn from your own kid. I swear I’ve learned more from her than I’ve taught her.

      • Lianne May 29, 2014, 4:09 pm

        I think we can ALL learn so much from children. They are so unsoiled and innocent.

      • Lianne May 29, 2014, 4:07 pm

        Totally. Sometimes when having a discussion with someone and we don’t see eye to eye, I am just like, this isn’t that important, let it go and move on already! 🙂

  • jnsunique May 29, 2014, 3:56 pm

    Great post. When my husband and I were traveling in Peru, we came across an indigenous version of the 10 Commandments: Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t be lazy. We really liked it, and are going to alter it to the positive for what we want to teach our child: Be honest, respect others and their property, work hard, and be generous. Generous in material and non-material ways. To be generous in how you treat others and to believe that others are well-intentioned until they prove otherwise.

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  • Jennifer May 29, 2014, 3:58 pm

    I have learned that what I want is not always what I need and sometimes you have to wade through the bullshit to get to the gold.

    I didn’t choose to have a child with a disability, but every single day I am thankful for the lessons I have learned, the people I have met and the most wonderful, amazing, beautiful little girl God ever created. I am very lucky and very blessed to be her mom and I would not change anything about her!! I look forward to the lessons I have yet to learn!

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    • No Pants May 29, 2014, 4:04 pm

      Oh, man. This made me cry. I was born with a physical disability and my mom was instrumental in helping me become who I am today (I’m now in my mid-30s). Thank you for being great!

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  • iwannatalktosampson May 29, 2014, 4:26 pm

    Hmm what have I learned in my 26 years of wisdom?
    1. Don’t put up with shit. (Thanks Dad!)
    2. Sometimes life changes and you gotta roll with it. How you handle the bad hops says much more about you then how you handle the pop fly.
    3. Don’t keep score.
    4. Money will never make you happy, but it might buy you a jetski, which would bring you happiness. It’s a balancing act.

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    • lemongrass May 29, 2014, 4:42 pm

      You’re only a year older than me? I thought you were older!

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      • iwannatalktosampson May 29, 2014, 4:44 pm

        I can see why you’d think that – I’m wise as shit 😉

      • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 4:45 pm

        I always forget how young she is too.

    • iwannatalktosampson May 29, 2014, 4:46 pm

      My 26 years did not teach me the difference between than and then though apparently.

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  • Aurora May 29, 2014, 4:41 pm

    1. Being alone does not equal being lonely. The loneliest I’ve ever been was when I was in an awful relationship. I would rather be single for the rest of my life than be in the wrong relationship again. I know this in my bones to be true.

    2. Time goes by faster the older you get. Cherish the time spent with loved ones because every awesome thing you look forward to will be over too quickly. On the flip side, that crappy thing you’re dreading will be over soon too!

    3. No one has everything totally together, no matter how they may appear on the outside. I saw/heard this somewhere in regards to Facebook-envy: don’t compare your entire life to someone else’s highlight reel.

    4. Don’t care so much about what other people think. This one’s tough for me, but I’m really trying to live by this one more and more!

    5. There are few things that a night in with good friends, awesome food, and a Netflix binge can’t cure.

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    • lets_be_honest May 29, 2014, 4:47 pm

      Yay! You’re commenting more!

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    • Kicia May 29, 2014, 7:19 pm

      Seriously, time goes by so much faster the older you get! I feel like a month can go by in the blink of an eye.

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  • AlwaysALurker May 29, 2014, 5:10 pm

    I have learned that what you think people expect of you is usually you projecting your own expectations of what people believe… and even if it’s true it is rarely as important to them as it is to you. I have learned to let that thinking go and seek my own path and that has helped me overcome what I used to think were insurmountable obstacles. People eventually submit to change if you lead the way. Maya Angelou provided me with a truly inspirational world view when I needed it the most.

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    • AliceInDairyland May 29, 2014, 5:58 pm

      I love this. “What you think people expect of you is usually you projecting your own expectations of what people believe.” I totally have screwed myself over with that kind of mindset so many times. It’s a slow learning process, but getting better every day!

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  • rainbow May 29, 2014, 5:44 pm

    One more: If horrible people were horrible all the time they would be horrible and alone. Someone being occasionally nice/kind/loving doesn’t mean they love you, only that they know how to keep you around.

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  • bittergaymark May 29, 2014, 5:46 pm

    I’ve learned that when anybody famous dies… EVERYBODY on facebook professes about how brilliant that person is, though few can even name a book penned by the deceased.


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    • rachel May 29, 2014, 6:03 pm

      I don’t know about your friends, but mine read.

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    • Addie Pray May 29, 2014, 6:20 pm

      I’ve learned that I’ve been agreeing with BGM an awful lot. Maybe I need my head checked. 😉

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  • Addie Pray May 29, 2014, 6:24 pm

    I’ve learned you need friends. My mother and her childhood BFF from WAYYYYYY back when they were cherubs (like WAYYYYY back in 1892) are on a road trip that brought them through Chicago. In their early 70s now and both widowed, the two are acting like a bunch of teenagers. I just dropped them off at a nearby bar that is serving some pretty sweet happy hour specials and I’m waiting for their drunk selves to call me to pick them up. So, yeah, at the end of it all, you need your friends – wine and happy hour deals don’t hurt.

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  • Northern Mermaid May 29, 2014, 6:34 pm

    So. There are a million things that I have learned, but I just have to say that I spent a huge chunk of the day yesterday crying and reading Maya Angelou–I’ve never reacted strongly to the death of a celebrity before, but I credit her writings and poetry for a lot of my life philosophy and outlook. I had to memorize “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in seventh grade, and it opened me to a whole world that was my like…saving grace…through getting picked on in school, to all the tribulations that 12-15 year old girls FEEL SO MUCH. My life struggles definitely couldn’t compare to hers, but damn, I identified with her when I was a kid. Her boundless capacity for love, sensuality, and acceptance are just everything I want to be.

    So I would say that I’ve learned to read Maya Angelou. Read “Phenomenal Woman” until you believe it. I’ve learned to read “Still I Rise” over and over and over again until you fall asleep with the words running through your head.

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  • mylaray May 29, 2014, 6:45 pm

    I’ve learned that if your dreams and goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. Which is to say it’s perfectly normal to be scared.

    I’ve learned it’s easier to keep pushing forward and let go than let the anxious, racing thoughts keep me in a cyclical trap. There are some things I’ll never know the answer to or won’t overanalyze enough and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s better not to know.

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  • TaraMonster May 29, 2014, 8:14 pm

    I’ve learned that reading ALL the DW life lessons comments is super uplifting!

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  • Lyra May 29, 2014, 11:18 pm

    I’ve learned that sometimes when people are crappy and turn on you, a beloved pet knows just what you need to feel better.

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    • Bon Vivant May 30, 2014, 12:47 pm

      This X 1000

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  • Christy May 30, 2014, 8:02 am

    I’ve learned that relationships aren’t black and white. That just because you’ve talked about something once, doesn’t mean it’s decided forever. That therapy can really be good with the right person. That if you find a comfy pair of heels, you should buy multiple pairs while you still can.

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  • lets_be_honest May 30, 2014, 9:39 am

    This prompted me to have Lil watch some videos and read some of her stuff. Thanks!

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  • lily in NYC May 30, 2014, 1:41 pm

    I don’t know if I should write this. I knew Ms. Angelou personally – she was on our board for a few years. And she did teach me something – she taught me how to deal with difficult people – because she was one of the most difficult people I’ve ever worked with. I was so excited to meet her for the first time and it was such a demoralizing experience and it never got better. To this day, she is the only person who has caused me to cry at work. My boss said that she had a knack of making people feel one inch tall, which was very true. She was a great writer, I’ll give her that. I’ve felt really weird since hearing that she died and needed someplace to vent. I almost feel guilty for my feelings because she is such a beloved icon – but she was a human being with flaws like the rest of us.

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    • lets_be_honest May 30, 2014, 1:45 pm

      Wow, that’s interesting.

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    • LlamaPajamas May 30, 2014, 2:01 pm

      That is interesting. I’ve met Jane Goodall and think she’s a huge bitch. Sometimes meeting someone this big can only be a let down.

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      • Addie Pray May 30, 2014, 2:14 pm

        Man, I was trying to figure out why you were likening lily’s experience to yours with that supermodel trapped in the vestibule with Chandler. But ohhhhh, Jane Goodall, that’s a different name.

      • lily in NYC May 30, 2014, 3:51 pm

        Thanks to all of you for being so gracious. I was really nervous about writing this comment and deleted it a bunch of times. I love reading so it was crushing to have one of my idols treat me like dirt; but she was mean to everyone so I tried not to take it personally. Random aside: she saw my butt! I had a mortifying wardrobe malfunction in front of the entire board and mooned everyone. Wayne Newton was there too! I still can’t figure out why he was on our board.

      • lets_be_honest May 30, 2014, 3:57 pm

        Gosh, I hate when Wayne Newton sees my ass!

      • Northern Mermaid May 30, 2014, 5:45 pm

        I’ve heard that about Jane Goodall too, and that of Leakey’s ladies Birute Galdikas is the one to meet. Not that anyone can meet Dian Fossey….

        Sorry to hear about your experiences Lily. That’s such a bummer. 🙁

    • Dear Wendy May 30, 2014, 2:00 pm

      Interesting! That makes me so upset for you. I hate when big people (figuratively, though in regards to her, maybe literally too) make others feel small. It’s so easy when you’re in the position she was in — beloved and admired and highly regarded — to make people feel big and respected. Let’s hope she just lost some of her humor and grace in her old age and wasn’t always so difficult and unkind.

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    • bittergaymark May 30, 2014, 7:28 pm

      Sadly, I had heard she was a cunt on wheels from several people out here who worked on a talk show that she appeared on years ago. I actually was going to post something to the effect — I’ve learned that whenever somebody dies they all become fucking saints.

      Sadly, so many “celebrities” are quite simply the Worst People They Can Possibly Be. It can be jawdropping to witness and experience first hand. And again — karma? Yeah right?

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      • Bittergaymark May 30, 2014, 7:33 pm

        EDIT: PS — the phrase “cunt on wheels” was literally a direct quote said to me describing her. Those aren’t my words. Sadly, the person who said this was one of the politest, most soft spoken person I’ve ever known out here, too. For her to use these words was just… Wow.


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