One of the greatest lessons I have learned so far in my life is that the best surprises you will receive in life tend to come when you aren’t expecting them. We all search for things in our lives and hope for everything to go as we have planned. But life very rarely goes exactly as planned. You have to be flexible and be able to roll with the punches.
The worst times in my life have led to positive results, because I was willing and able to see past the negativity in the situation. Plans that I had for myself have fallen through in my life, but they have led to even better things than I was hoping for many times. Things I searched for suddenly came into my life once I learned to stop searching for them and just let life play out the way it was supposed to happen.
The biggest tragedy I’ve had to endure in my life was losing my mom to cancer when I was 22 years old. Within 10 months of losing my mom, I lost my grandpa and grandma (my mom’s parents), as well. To this day, I’m still convinced my grandpa died of a broken heart.
My mom was the reason I am the person I am today. She has had the single biggest influence on my life of anyone I’ve ever known. Losing her was the beginning of a new journey in my life that, 11 years later, has led me to where I am today. My mom taught me how to be a kind, patient, loving, caring, understanding, happy, positive, unique, respectful, open-minded person. I could keep going, but you get the point.
Now that I teach golf for a living, I think of my mom every day while I’m teaching. My mom taught pre-school for 20 years. She taught me how to teach. Without me knowing it at the time, the time I spent with her while growing up was preparing me for my future. The interactions I watched her have with the people around her were preparing me for the person I was going to become.
My family and childhood friends provide me with reminders of my mom on a regular basis. Those reminders always bring back really wonderful memories for me and make me smile. As easy as it would be to be sad about missing my mom, I know she would want me to smile and be happy for the memories I have, not be sad about the memories that we missed out on creating.
I often wonder what my mom would think if she could see my life as it is today. I wish she could watch me teach. I wish she could see the influence I am able to have on others. I wish she could experience the life I’m currently living. I wish she could meet the new additions to our family since the time of her passing. I wish she could meet the new friends I’ve made. I wish she could hear the stories of the memories I’ve created since she passed.
A very personal conversation I had with one of my best friends this past week led me to looking back through my oldest social media posts. As we were talking, I realized that I didn’t bring any pictures of my mom with me when I moved away from home nearly 4 years ago. I didn’t think I had any pictures of my mom on social media either. After doing some searching, I found something that instantly made my whole year. I found a few pictures of my mom that were taken toward the end of her life. As I looked through them, I started to realize that, although I think of my mom daily, this was the first time I had seen a picture of her in nearly 3 years. I stared at those pictures and uncontrollably cried tears of joy for an hour. I just wish I had found them sooner!!
Certain people and certain things come into your life in ways that seem to be random, but, the older I get, the more I’m starting to realize it’s not so random. Things really do happen for a reason. The people in your life are there for a reason. As I grow older, I’m starting to realize that everything significant that happens in my life and the people who play the biggest roles in my life are, in some way, in my life because of my mom.
We all think we can plan out our lives in a way that makes sense for us, but don’t get too comfortable in those plans. Life will always throw you a curveball just as you start to get completely comfortable. There will always be unexpected surprises that come along in your life. You can either focus on what you’re missing, or you can be happy and thankful for what you have in your life. Stay positive. Look at the happy things those surprises bring into your life. Focus on the joys of life’s unexpected surprises.