Things I Learned the Hard Way

The older I get, the more I am convinced that many of life’s most important lessons can’t be taught in the classroom.  So many of the things I really need to know I learned from experience, and sometimes through multiple experiences because I have the unfortunate habit of not always paying attention to what life is trying to teach me.  In the hopes of sparing others unnecessary discomfort, embarrassment, and pain, I thought I’d share a few of those lessons.

  1. If at all possible, avoid having a root canal.  If you can’t avoid it, always accept the offer of anything that distracts you from the fact that someone is busy digging all the nerves out of your tooth.  Wearing earphones drowns out the sound of the drills, and keeps you from hearing if the dentist happens to say, “Ooopsie,” or “Dang, I totally didn’t mean to do that!”
  2. When making plans for travel, never prepay for anything that is not refundable, nor tell the relatives you are visiting that you will be there no matter what.  That is a sure-fire way to bring on a major blizzard, an attack of the flu, or a family or household emergency.  I will always remember the Thanksgiving Eve when I came home to discover the upstairs toilet was clogged, the downstairs toilet was in the hallway, and our refrigerator wasn’t working.  I had to call my out-of-town mother and tell her there was a tiny chance we might not be there for Thanksgiving dinner.
  3. If you get home with your new jeans only to discover that the store forgot to remove the little gizmo on them that is supposed to spray ink if not properly removed, go back to the store and ask them to remove it.  Don’t try to do it yourself.  They aren’t kidding about that ink spraying thing.
  4. Set your own limits.  Nobody knows what you are capable of doing or coping with nearly as well as you do, and you are not required to live up to anyone’s expectations except your own.  This includes, but is not limited to, firmly telling your doctor that you don’t want to see the cute but bloody little cyst he just removed from your body.  Standing your ground on these matters beats sitting in the waiting room with your head between your knees, sipping cold water and waiting for the feelings of dizziness and nausea to pass so you can go home.

IMG_1452I could go on, but I like to keep my blog posts short and at least somewhat to the point, so I’ll just close with one final, and yet very important, lesson.  Never, ever, feed your dog or let your dog find and consume something her digestive system can’t handle. (I won’t name names, but some of you may recognize the photo.)  It results in explosive diarrhea, and few things are worse than living with a house dog suffering from explosive diarrhea.  I’ll spare you the details.  You’re welcome.

75 thoughts on “Things I Learned the Hard Way

  1. I would like to add some I have learned the hard way: wait a couple of days when you receive good news just to make sure it is for real.
    If you win the lottery, don’t tell anyone. (Unfortunately, I have never learned this from experience.) Leave the country as soon as possible.
    Open your ears to gossip about family and friends and close your mouth.
    The less you say, sometimes the better. Pretend to be mute and dumb with a big smile like the Mona Lisa.
    You can’t every plan or have enough alternate plans in life.
    Sometimes it is best to never plan and go with the flow.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Many years ago I determined that store bought dog food was not good enough for my Lady, a 150 pound Lab/Irish setter mix. We started the new “healthy” blend of rice, ground meat, vegetables and supplements with great expectations. Have you ever seen a 150 pound house dog lose everything throughout the house…….for a week? Lesson learned the hard way. Purina and Alpo are just fine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, we made the mistake of switching our dog food out…once. And then we learned not to do that! Now we just have problems when Lucy finds something gross in our yard and eats it. But still: 150 pound dog with diarrhea for a week? You have my sympathies!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. All good advice! I’ve come home a couple of times with that security thingy still attached. The first time, I tried to get it off myself… big mistake. Fortunately, the store replaced the item since their sales person should have taken it off. I’ll be sure to request headphones if I’m unfortunate enough to need a root canal in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anyone with a dog has probably had the lovely experience of cleaning up after some bad food or in our case extra curricular eating. I will say that type of cleaning up whether from the dog or kids when they were young usually results in having to clean up after myself too!

    I can handle the broken bones and stitches pretty well. Anything that resembles flu symptoms is just not my strength!

    I have learned from experience to check clothes for the security pin thing while I am shopping. I put those on top of the pile to remind myself to watch them get removed. Otherwise I get distracted with putting my card in the scanner to pay or any other millions of things that distract me. Then it is too late. I am terrible about taking things back!

    Wonder how much time I have spent sitting in the dental chairs if you added the time up. I have gotten pretty good at dealing with most of it but like the idea of head phones to drown out the drilling sound. Am going to try that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, with the first root canal, I saw the TV there but assumed it was something they needed. They probably offered it, but I was too nervous to notice. This time, I said yes and they gave me earphones so I could watch a show and hear it while they worked, and it went so much quicker! (Which was good, because this one was more complicated.)
      And you can bet that I check the clothes for those security pins, now, too! I can’t believe I was dumb enough to try to remove one at home, but I remember I was in a hurry and really didn’t have time to go back to the mall to have them do it. Thanks for the comment, Marcia! It’s good to hear from you!


    • Yes, I had the second one yesterday (with the ear buds, watching old sit coms…so much better!), and I do feel better. Now on to the permanent fillings, the crown, and possibly a third root canal, but I’m hoping not. As for the kids, yes, they don’t listen and have to learn from their own experience, unfortunately.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The hardest part about middle age is realizing that all the things we thought were so cool…. were not… and that photographs haunt us. But we were the lucky ones, we went through most of our foolishness before tattoos and Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know!!! It’s easy to hide a photograph that’s in an album, and even destroy it if necessary. But today’s kids and young adults put all their stuff on the internet, where it will haunt them forever. I am so glad I grew up in the days before social media!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Advil has been my good friend for the past week or so! And like you, I’m still learning lessons the hard way, and probably will be for the rest of my life. Thanks for the comment!


  6. Lol…very funny, though I’m sure it’s funny in retrospect..:) Or maybe not. Depends on how far away these things are.
    The only thing worse than all of this is if everything happened in a condensed period of time, which I’m guessing they didn’t based on Thanksgiving. ..:)
    But you survived and it made for a great post so maybe it was worth it.
    Then again….maybe not😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Those sound like great lessons that you should definitely learn from someone else experience. Having never had a dog, I will trust you on that explosive bit.
    I just found your blog via a comment on The Wrong Side of 50. I followed and I am enjoying reading your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brilliant post, Ann! Insightful and funny and left me with a lingering image due to an overactive imagination 😁. And you are so right about setting your own limits. I’m going to take that one with me today.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I probably shouldn’t be laughing…. but I am. Glorious lessons you have shared with us. THANK YOU. 🙂 I can share a lesson close to your root canal one. If your 5-year-old grandson ‘makes and bakes’ a cookie and then asks you to eat it – DON’T. Unless you want to crack a tooth and then need a crown.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ann you are so generous to share your wisdom. Can I add to your list? 1. Close all the house windows when your kids have a waterfight outside (because it always ends with someone using the hose.) 2. If you have pulled the front bumper off your car three times while parking in parking lots then go ahead and trade that car in for another. 3. Potty training is not for the weak of heart, don’t do it without support.

    Thank you Ann for the smile and for your humanness. I wish you a calm and uneventful week free of dental emergencies.

    Liked by 1 person

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