My Aunt Anne was a special lady…for a long time I was scared of her. Who wouldn’t be when you saw her appearance? She was a tall lady with flaming red hair and an eagle eye. Intimidating through and through. Aunt Anne had a habit of telling people off. Not just children, adults too…grown men could be reduced to tears once they came under the scathing tongue of Aunt Anne.. She always knew best…and in all honesty I think we all knew that she really did know best. Aunt Anne was a very special lady, one of the wisest, shrewdest and most prudent people I have ever known.
Aunt Anne took a close interest in my sisters and I during our teenage years. I am so glad she did! She seemed to know, I don’t know how, but she knew all of our deepest thoughts and feelings. Such a discerning lady. She took an interest in our plans and goals, our friends and the boys we had crushes on, she noticed what we talked about, what we spent our pocket money on. She could have run an intelligence agency because she picked up on all these details and came to frighteningly accurate conclusions (which of course she made sure she drew to the attention of our parents).
While I was a teenager, Aunt Anne saw something lurking inside me, something weighing my heart down. She detected an unusual level of anxiety. She probed me over it. I was frightened. It might sound silly but I was frightened by the cost of life in this world. The cost of housing, the cost of utility bills, the cost of transport, the cost of clothing and food – it all seemed overwhelming. I was a teenager and I did not have to bear those costs yet. But I was looking ahead, worrying about tomorrow. I looked ahead and thought I had no choice but to become enslaved to a company, chained to a desk, trapped in a job I despised…all just to be able to afford to be alive.
Aunt Anne subtly helped me to realize that I did have choices. My habits and decisions would effect the cost of my lifestyle. She taught me many practical tips. She sat with me and trained me in developing a budget and how to decide what was really important to me. She showed me how I could stretch my pennies and to make what I owned last longer. She taught me about free fun…so rather than spending my leisure time visiting restaurants and cinemas and theatres, as often as I may have liked…I made those things very occasional treats and instead learnt to love the great outdoors, learnt to bake and invite friends over to my home instead of us all going out to eat. I always ended up with a huge drinks collection when I hosted an evening for friends.
She taught me to glean enjoyment in life and creation. From even the smallest delights…dewdrops on a spider’s web, the appearance of the first spring flowers…to revering the grandeur and majesty of mountains and sunsets. She showed me their worth is immensely greater than anything money can buy.
I am grateful to Aunt Anne for helping me see that if I wanted to live within a balanced budget and avoid being enslaved by years of debt, I needed to change my attitude, my aspirations, my ambitions and to cultivate contentment. (My parents were caring for seven children. There was no way they could supply our every whim and wish, so I think we had been helped to realize we could not always have what we wanted. My parents also helped us see that we needed to be willing to share and to see that everyone of the family was important and none should be demanding more than the rest. Life is so much sweeter when you are able to share and think about what you can do for others.)
One very practical piece of advice she passed on to me was “Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything”.
Now Aunt Anne used that advice in reference to things, possessions. But as soon as she uttered those words, they rang true to me in so many other avenues. Perhaps they do with you also.
Her words have swum around my mind on many occasions…especially when I was involved in a new project with a new group of people or making a new start…everywhere I have been I have told myself:
- Expect Nothing….don’t be disappointed by having unrealistic expectations. Work and give without thinking of what you want to get out of it. Show the kind of love that does not require reciprocation.
- Appreciate Everything…every time someone does something nice, even the littlest kind gesture, make sure you show gratitude. Look after what and who is in your life, show how much they mean to you. Count your bounteous blessings!
I have found that by heeding the sage advice of Aunt Anne I have never really had worries. I have felt richer than I ever imagined. I have avoided debt. I have travelled to many countries because people I met and worked with asked me to go and visit them, I have had adequate accommodation in some very beautiful locations which I have cared for and kept clean. I truly have had far more than I have ever needed.
As for people…well, I have found that life is rich – rich with people whom I love and who love me. I am convinced that my treasure of life experiences, memories and friends has been accrued partly because I followed Aunt Anne’s wise words: EXPECT NOTHING…APPRECIATE EVERYTHING.
Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community More are no more to be…We are all hoping there will be ways to keep the connections going. Well one way appears to be challenges bloggers can nominate each other for. So this post is Day One of the Three Day Challenge.
I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post. Mark has recently completed this challenge himself. Thank you Mark Anthony…the nomination gave me some ideas regarding more lessons in life that Caramel has indeed learned. I am pleased to be able to share them on the Crushed Caramel site.
• Thank the person who nominated you.
• Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
• Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.
“ Expect Nothing….Appreciate Everything”
CRUSHED CARAMEL (LEARNER AT LOVE) – DAY TWO OF THE THREE DAY – THREE QUOTE CHALLENGE
My nominees are:
I love looking at your posts and appreciate all of your support and encouragement.
I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have. Have fun!
I have one more day of the challenge to complete, one more post, one more quote…I have been working on it…one more to come…it is another weepie.