In last week’s blog post, I kind of dished on my mom a little. My wife asked if maybe I should have run it by her first before posting to see if it was okay. Which makes total sense! I really felt bad for not doing just that. She then asked me if I asked what my mom had thought about what I wrote and I decided to give her a call.

She had not read the post, so I gave her a quick rundown over the phone. In case you didn’t read it, I had mentioned she was always at work or studying when I was young. Then she bought this new car and was so excited about it. I had mentioned this was the start of my love of minimalism.

However, from her perspective, we had a beat-up old car and needed something a little more reliable. She had just gotten a scholarship and was looking down the barrel of a long commute to college.

She then delved into more of what she was going through at the time. Why she had sent my brother and me to live with our grandparents. In her view, she had to make a better life for herself and her children. After hearing it all out, I really understood and felt for her sacrifices. 

In the end, we are all doing the best we can. We are making the best choices available with what options we feel that we have. It is always easy to make judgment calls depending on where you are at and what you have been taught with someone who maybe hasn’t learned or experienced what you have. In her instance, a very young mother with a husband that didn’t help her out much. 

The flip side of all that is, all the hardships I went through made me the person I am today. Gold is refined by fire. If I like the person I am, which I do, it is due in part to everything I went through. By that token, I probably shouldn’t look at my childhood as one of abandonment but as how I became comfortable being myself. Living in the middle of nowhere in a municipal airport helped me develop a love of nature. Eventually, when I did move back in with my parents, as a latchkey kid, that was the start of self-reliance. 

I think being content alone, finding a love of nature, and knowing I can handle any situation on my own are some of my best traits! Where would they be if I didn’t have to develop them the hard way? 

How else could I have learned them? 

All this makes me wonder what my own son will grow up disenfranchised with about his own childhood. What am I doing now that he might hold against me later? But what positives will he learn from those negatives if he allows himself to? Does it matter if I feel like I am doing the best I can with everything that is presented to me? 

Now I turn the question to you. What gold can you glean from whatever trash you went through growing up? 

By Sam Watson

I'm pretty good at Microsoft Excel but a freak in Google Sheets.

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Lisa Erb
Lisa Erb
1 year ago

Hey Sam,
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Some of us had experience at home growing up, others did not. In your moms case, I think she left home at a very young age, and she was always doing what she thought best…

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