As I was walking the dog this morning*, the temperature was around 25 and the wind was extremely gusty. I thought how great it was that I was staying warm with my wool hat, warm coat, boots and mittens. Then my mind zipped to the same kind of day when I was a teenager, and how I wore the minimal amount I could get out of the house with, and then I had one of those “aha” moments that pop up from time to time…. My parents were right about a bunch of things! For example…
Dress warmly. It’s only in the last few years that I actually started dressing properly for the winter weather (and I’m in my 50s so it took a long time for that lesson to hit home). Winter clothes aren’t usually very attractive and my tendency has been to dress more for style and less for warmth. However, I’ve found that the small things really make a huge difference in terms of keeping warm. My parents were right that you lose most heat through your head, and wearing a hat is crucial. Also wearing something warm on your hands and feet – that’s a must! And having the right coat is key. This winter we had some of the coldest weather I can remember – with many days with below zero temperatures. I didn’t have to use a hair dryer to warm up my toes and fingers once this year. So Mom and Dad were right; dress warmly!
Use an umbrella. And wear a raincoat. I remember MANY times as a teenager, my mother would tell me to remember my umbrella on the way out the door. “OK Mom!” as I raced out the door without it. Carrying umbrellas was considered a dorky thing to do; no one used them. And I was already nerdy enough and didn’t want to add to that image. And those raincoats we had! They were thick short ugly and sort of plastic-smelling coats and I did not want to wear them. So I didn’t. Well, the result was that I would be wet and uncomfortable which probably didn’t make me look too cool. So now? I have a bright red long raincoat and several umbrellas to choose from. And guess what that means? I’m warm and dry. Duh. Mom and Dad were right about using that umbrella and wearing a raincoat.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. Money seems to come easily when it isn’t you doing the working for it. As I watch some of the younger generation grappling with the fact that you really need to work hard for money, I remember those words of my parents years ago. And then I think of the last forty years of my life since I started working. I remember the fifty, sixty or more weekly hours while working in my thirty year career in telecommunications. I think of the seven day a week career I’ve embraced now. I think of the days where I worked my butt off at a full time job, while going to school to get my B.S. degree and raising my two small boys on my own. That was a challenging time, and it took all my effort, but the bottom line, it was in an effort to make sure my family would be financially stable. So when my parents said “money doesn’t grow on trees,” they meant that it takes a lot of effort to make money.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, part 2. They also meant spending your money wisely is key. As I moved through my first jobs of babysitting and working as a cashier in a local store, I started realizing if I spent all my money on records (yup, pre-itunes, cds, cassettes and 8 tracks we had these things called records) or books, I wouldn’t have money for gas or food. I learned little by little the key to budgeting and to saving, so now I’m in a good position for retirement. Because money can be so tough to earn, it shouldn’t be squandered but should be used wisely. So yes, Mom and Dad, money really doesn’t grow on trees.
There are so many more of these lessons my parents gave to me; these are just a few. I didn’t embrace these lessons when they were first imparted, but certainly learned along the way how right my parents were. I hope it doesn’t take my sons as long to “get it!”
These are some things my parents were right about.
*Originally posted on ActiveRain 3-18-15.