Old Chick Wisdom: Hindsight

Aug 30, 2017

One of the great things about having completed a few turns around the sun, i.e. being an Old Chick, is hindsight. Life and the passage of time provide so much perspective.  Do you ever look back on moments that you agonized over and realize just how insignificant they really were in the grand scheme of things? And then think to yourself, ‘if I had to do it again, boy, how different things would be.’

I can remember, as a young mom with a full-time career, always feeling totally stressed; at home, at work, trying to keep up with fitness and all the other demands of life.  And always feeling like I was never in the right place or doing the right thing.  One day in particular stands out that I actually laugh about now, but at the time, it felt like a really a big deal.   

The scene was this:  Per the usual morning routine, I was rushing to leave the house with minutes to spare to get my kid to school and me to the office for an important meeting. As I’m buckling my daughter into her car seat, I suddenly remember that it is my turn to bring snacks for the kindergarten class. And I’ve got nothing!  Panic! Nothing in the fridge and no time to prepare anything. So while other mothers were busy cutting grapes in half and making butterfly shapes out of cheese, I was the one, frantically driving through the Tim Hortons Drive Thru to grab the only guaranteed nut-free thing I could think of that might be in some way appropriate for 5-year-olds… Tim Bits (donut holes for those not in Canada). I remember being so embarrassed that I was the mom bringing nutritionally devoid, deep-fried, sugar-laden dough for a class of 5 year-olds. I’m positive that the teacher glared at me with the all too familiar box in my hand as I  stood beside the other moms with perfectly pretty fruit and cheese platters. In that moment, I felt like a failure as a mother and that everyone could see it. I distinctly remember beating myself up all day over it. Most likely for a few days.

Spoiler alert: my kid grew up to be a decent contributing member of society, and no children died.

Looking back on that now, it's actually pretty funny. But I also feel sadness for the poor stressed-out woman who was riddled with guilt over this perceived failure.  In the grand scheme of things, it was an insignificant moment that I carried with me and agonized over for far too long. Having acquired a significant amount of life experience since then, I often think about what I have learned and what I would want to say to that stressed-out young mom. If I could go back and give just her just one piece of advice, I would say….

Whatever you are doing right now is enough! It's always enough! You are enough!"

Your legacy as a mom, a career woman or a human being does not hinge on a single moment, a single act or a single mistake. All you can do is do the best you can in every moment with what you have or what you know at that point in time.  Your life, your career and your legacy are built on a collection of thousands of small moments accumulated over time. So relax and do the best you can right now, in this time, at this moment, with what you know.  It will always be enough.”

Simple advice, I know, but when you’re in the middle of it without the benefit of hindsight, you can't know what you don’t know. Lessons learned through life are powerful. As old chicks, I'm sure we have all had similar experiences.

If you could go back and give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be? Perhaps you could share that advice with a young chick or someone else who could use it now. I would love to know what that is. Please leave a comment below. #Oldchicksknowshit.

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