What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

What is it about touching a hot stove that's so appealing to toddlers? Here's a stove guard to save Junior from cooking his hand.

My last two blog posts on marriage lessons I’ve learned through 10 years of experience have generated far more traffic than my humble blog usually gets.

That proves to me that the magazines that put “101 ways to get a flat stomach by Memorial Day” or “7 tips to improve your sex life” on the cover really do know what they’re doing.

But here’s the funny thing: while I think we have a huge appetite for those easy-to-consume lists of how to make our lives better, sometimes the only way we really internalize the knowledge is to learn it ourselves the hard way.

Think of telling a toddler not to touch a hot stove. Does he listen when you pull his hand away and say “hot” or does he listen when he burns his hand and cries?

Today I’m going to try to have it both ways.

First, I’m asking all of you to share the story of a life lesson you learned the hard way.

It could be anything — work, marriage, parenting, exercise, cooking, car maintenance, you name it.

Second, I’ll pull together a list of the lessons you share for a future blog post.

Because maybe someone out there reading a list of “11 ways to improve your life today” will actually learn from your experience instead of having to go through the hardship personally.

Please share your life lessons in the comments, or if you prefer to share via e-mail, send them to me at cnewvine at gmail dot com.


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Categories: career, creativity, health and well being, home and family, lifestyle, writer's choice

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6 replies

  1. When I get into a bad place in my head — having, as my daughter calls them, “bad thoughts” — it really helps to just go outside. Go out into the world, see what’s happening, see other people living ordinary lives, bump into someone you know, have pleasant inconsequential chitchat with a stranger, whatever. The important thing is to get out of your own head.

    Unfortunately, this is harder to do at 3:30 a.m., which is why insomnia sucks.

  2. One life lesson that I just recently figured out is that I actually need to PLAN AHEAD when it comes to cooking for my family. I don’t know why it took me so long to learn this. When we host parties, I always plan in advance . . . I’ll know about the menu weeks ahead of time. However, at the same time, I somehow thought that I could get home from work at 6:00 (or if I’m really organized, during the car ride home) and begin thinking about what to put on the dinner table that night. That’s also likely why everything in my freezer was burned and our weekly restaurant bill was so high.

    But now I think in advance. When I first starting planning my meals, I would map out an entire week in advance. I’m better now, so I can do just a day or two at a time — long enough to pull something from the freezer to thaw if I have to. And I buy fresh vegetables and actually EAT them — they no longer rot in the veggie drawer.

    I actually enjoy planning ahead now and my meals are WAY more creative and interesting than they used to be.

  3. Life lesson learned the hard way–

    Those beautiful magazines at the grocery checkout? You don’t need them! No matter how pretty the living room looks on the cover, no matter how tantalizing that cake recipe, no matter how they offer to “solve” all of your “problems.” By the time you’re 40, you’ve got recipes better and easier than theirs, your house decor works for you, and you’ve already solved the organizing/parenting/beauty “problem” with a quicker and cheaper solution.

  4. Marrige tip No.1! Dont leave the room. stay until its done


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