I contemplated all day today about writing this entry as I think it is a bit unusual. It is my mother’s birthday today, and I wanted to write some of the life’s lessons that she’s taught me. I feel it is unusual, b/c people usually save these kind of things for Mother’s Day, rather than a birthday. On the other side, we (I) write entries on stuff we’ve learned and don’t wait for a specific day to post it.

1. The value of being Organized
While growing up, there was never a moment in which I couldn’t locate something, as there was always a correct place for it. Whether it’s scissors, a hammer, the Tylenol, rubber gloves or binders, it was always in one (logical) place. Even nearly 6 years having moved out, I was able to find (for example) Chinese rubbing medicine. I look at other people and how stressful their lives are being disorganized, and I’m grateful that this is one lesson that I’ve picked up.

2. Declutter your space, Declutter your life.
There was a book a LONG time ago that my mother read and it apparently changed her whole outlook on life. Per #1, I can’t recall a time that my childhood home was cluttered with unnecessary stuff, but after this book, it ceased to exist entirely. Home ownership has shown me first-hand of when people just collect things, for no other reason than “because”, or “its free.” Coupled with a bad habit of not being able/taking the time to throw out useless things, the house disorganized mess that was filled to the brim. For example, there was one time I opened up a cabinet in my basement and it was just stuffed with binders and random useless papers of the previous ‘roommate.’ It had no use, and the person didn’t even remember that they had twenty binders, or accessories for it. Our material attachment makes it difficult, but letting go of the useless and unnecessary makes for a much better life.

All throughout my childhood… actually even to this day, I’ve been shown how to clean (properly and efficiently). One of the greatest lesson’s from this is opening your eyes to the mess; there are some people that don’t see clutter as mess/dirty. It’s sometimes a double-bladed sword, for on one hand you see the clutter so that you can clean it up, but on the other hand, it’ll bother you because you see the clutter (when other household members don’t see it).

3. The Importance of being Hosted.
My mother always taught me (maybe as one of the eldest in the family) to offer the host help, whether it be setting the table, assisting in bringing out the food, or loading the dishwasher. If you couldn’t see anything to help with, ask them if they needed any help. It was your responsibility to not be lazy and to contribute instead; whenever we went to my late-grandparents’ place, her and my aunts would always spend time helping clean.

She encouraged me to talk to and try to make conversations with those that are sometimes difficult, (such as the elderly or distant relatives) instead of just hanging out with my cousins. This applies to non-family gatherings as well, making conversation with people you’re not familiar with is important.

Lastly, I can always hear her voice when I’m preparing to head to someone’s house, “make sure you bring something.” Whether it be wine/drinks, snacks or a dessert, you should bring something as a little gift for the host. Small gestures goes a long way.

Three great lesson’s from the strongest woman I know. Happy birthday mum xo