YES! It’s Life Lessons time again! I love getting a chance to read about you guys, the things you’ve learned, what you would have done differently (if anything), how you make it through the day and the experiences that made you who you are. A few days ago, I introduced you to Dave Manoucheri, a widowed father of four who is coming on board as our newest columnist. But here’s someone you’ve come to know and love over the past year. Rachel Vidoni has been through tough times too (who hasn’t) but is on the cusp of some REALLY exciting things. She wrote a BOOK! You can click here to read more about it and buy an advance copy. Rachel, despite your aversion to cats eating off counters and me eating off the street, I am so proud of you. Damn proud!
Would you like to take part in this exercise? Click here and we’ll get the questions over to you right away!
Are you happy at the moment?
At this very moment I am extremely happy; mostly because I know what I’m going to make for dinner and I actually have all the ingredients. That rarely happens. But overall, I’d have to say that the last five or six months has been the most peaceful and content time of my life.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16 year old self now – what would it be?
“You know that girl you haven’t been very nice to? Be kind to her. Pray for her. Regardless of how she treats you. Her life is full of trauma you have no idea about.”
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
That I cannot control anyone but myself. That anger and silence does not change people, only leaves you with a big-ass headache and stiff neck muscles.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I want the book I just finished collaborating on Little Changes to sell 10,000 copies and lead to more writing work!
What’s your secret to happiness?
For me, happiness is difficult to attain. The more I try to seek it, the more it eludes me. My happiest moments are ones I didn’t plan and happen when I least expect them. Happiness seems like such a fickle feeling. I’d much rather try to attain peacefulness, contentment, or satisfaction. Those seem to have more staying power than happiness.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Constant, constant prayer. Coupled with a good night’s sleep, of course.
What’s your biggest regret?
My biggest regrets usually involve me not doing the right thing out of fear—not standing up for myself or others because I was scared. Fear of failure, ridicule, being wrong, or over-stepping my boundaries has paralyzed me on more than one occasion.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I hope I’ve taught them to be kind. Always. To treat and accept others with grace because that is what Jesus calls us to do. I hope that’s what they’ve learned. Maybe all they will remember is that I forced them to go to church every Sunday and give up video games for Lent. Time will tell!
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I’m not a very patient person. I rip things out of the garden if they don’t grow fast enough, have difficulty listening to my children’s stories without trying to finish their sentences, and always seem to be wishing for things in the future. I am so focused on the end destination that I forget and ignore the beautiful ride along the way. I know that the ride is what life is all about. I understand this about myself and yet it’s still difficult to change.
Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am most proud that I have now completed all of my life’s dreams. I earned my Master’s degree, have published my writing, and have just finished collaborating on a book (with cover credit!). I’ve accomplished these things during some of the most difficult times in my life. While I do have other dreams and goals, if I died tomorrow, I would feel content knowing that I did fulfill my promises to myself.
When were you happiest?
Again, I don’t like thinking there is a “happiest” time in my life. Can I turn this into, “Things that make me feel happy”? If so, then: hot coffee in the morning, the smell of rain, birds chirping at dawn, experiencing four seasons, a warm fire, cozy socks, polar-fleece pants, a new box of 64 crayons, buying gifts for others, making other people laugh, and a clean house. And of course, when my children are getting along or sleeping.
What ten words best describe you?
mediocre-mom, Catholic, controlling, driven, perfectionist, creative, enthusiastic, idealist, joker, sarcastic, writer (Oops, that’s eleven. You can add bad-at-math to that list too.)
Rachel Vidoni is a professional writer, blogger and former classroom teacher who’s book project, Choose Wiser, is now available. She is a mediocre mother to three pretty neat kids. You can follow her humor and family blog at www.eastcoastmusings.blogspot.com. You might not be a better parent after reading her blog, but you will feel like one.