Perspective changes a lot of things, dear reader.
As I grow older, I realize how incredibly valid opinions of the experienced can be. I have become one of those women --the one who watches young single adults, young marrieds, young mothers, and I think, "They'll figure it out. They think they know, but they'll learn and carve their way through it all. They'll figure it out."
I give them looks and smiles just as the women before me did. Do they find it as patronizing as I did? Do they wish I would speak out instead of nodding my head? Do they wish I would guide them the way I wished the older women would have guided me?
It's not taken me as long as I thought it would to get to this place. To realize that the experiences of my life were necessary for my growth, and to take those experiences away from others stymies their growth and their abilities. Because let's be honest --nobody truly knows what it is like to be married until they experience marriage. Nobody truly knows what it is like to parent a child until they have parented a child. These are experiences that must be lived. Death, despair, triumph, success --it doesn't matter how, they simply need to be experienced.
Just seeing how differently I parent my younger children compared to my older children (at the same age) shocks me. When I think about who I was at 22, when I had my first child, verses at almost 34 --it's almost laughable, really. I've learned so much in these almost 12 years. (Please note, this is not a judgement upon your parenting. I'm just noticing MY changes.)
At 22, I wanted a hospital birth with an epidural and the idea of anyone watching a birth besides my husband and doctor/nurse was ludicrous. Now I give birth at home with midwives, my husband, my mother, and some of my own children present.
At 22, I had my baby on a very strict schedule, made her cry-it-out, had her take bottles very early on so I could "have time to myself." Now I feed on demand, nurse exclusively for at least a year, and do the no-cry sleep method.
At 22, I thought I understood the Atonement. Now I realize that I am just beginning to understand the concepts of repentance, forgiveness, and grace.
At 22, I figured I knew all I needed to navigate a celestial marriage. Now I am grateful for all the times my pride had been crushed into the ground in order to bring me to my knees so I could better communicate with my husband.
At 22, I saw the world as very black/white, right/wrong. Now I realize that individual circumstances create many grey areas of life, and that Jesus Christ will make up for all of our sin.
At 22, I had very little confidence in my abilities to learn new things. Now I realize that I CAN do hard things, learn new things, and accomplish things I never thought were even possible.
At 22, I figured we would have 4-6 children. Now I realize that we don't know how many children we are supposed to have.
At 22, I was convinced that an education at BYU represented superior scriptural knowledge. Now I realize that the best way to learn the doctrines of the Gospel is to study them daily and then live them daily.
At 22, I imagined we would be millionaires within ten years. Now I realize that life gets in the way of ridiculous (and not important) dreams.
What have you learned due to life experience and age? What opinions have changed? Stayed the same?