This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Lessons I didn't learn

The dawn of a new year has a funny way of making people reflect on their lives over the past year and seeing what lessons can be learned from experiences – both good and bad.

Typically, at this point, I’d start going on and on about the lessons I learned over the past year … but this time, I’m going to regale you with stories about the lessons I haven't learned over the last 365 days.

When I told my kids and boyfriend about what my column was going to be about to kick off the new year, they all had their own views about what I haven’t learned.

My daughter: “You mean like how you can’t figure out how to properly cuff your pants when your wearing short boots?”

My son: “How you hate letting the dog out before you go to bed because you’re too tired, so he wakes you up at 2 a.m. because he has to go?”

And, of course, my other half: “Like how you can’t just be like Elsa (from Frozen) and let it go?” (I still haven't let this comment go.)

Ummm, yeah. Thanks for the insights guys … I think. But my version goes more like this:

The first lesson I haven’t learned is to stop nagging my kids.

No, I don’t love doing it.

Yes, they sometimes hate it.

But because I constantly ask and talk to them, they communicate with me about pretty much anything going on in their lives.

I like to think that in my nagging ways, I’ve created a comfortable environment for them to not be scared to talk to me about anything or tell me what they’re up to. And my plotting seems to have worked.

Both my teens are very open with me and don’t feel the need to hide stuff from me – even when they know they’re in the wrong. So to me, that’s a great lesson to not learn.

Another (cheesy) lesson I haven’t learned is to stop expecting the best-case scenario even when the odds are against it. I’m the eternal optimist and when I wear my rose-coloured glasses, things always look … rosy. 

But the cool thing about this view is that the best usually does happen. It’s all about putting out the vibes you want to attract. So if you want to attract goodness, live it.

Learn to love, give and forgive.

If you’re negative and only see negative outcomes or wrong-doings against you, guess what’s going to continue to happen …

A lesson that perhaps I should learn, but seem to struggle with is giving myself a break. I constantly push  myself to do more, do better, be better, work harder. 

I typically overlook the results of what I’ve already achieved as not being enough, so I push myself further. Sometimes, it’s to my detriment, but other times, it’s to my advantage.

This is a lesson I don’t think I’ll ever learn, but know I should – at least once in awhile.

Although 2017 was a rough year for me, I’m still happy with the outcome – both in lessons learned and not learned.

As for 2018 – it’s off to a great start and I look forward to the lessons that await me – like properly cuffing my pants with short boots.

Thanks for reading.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More This is Life, Based on a True Story articles

About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories