Contributor Life Lessons:
*Are you happy at the moment?
In a word-ABSOLUTELY! Any day that you wake up is a good day and one to be celebrated, appreciated and enjoyed.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Nothing is ever as serious as you think it is at the moment-tomorrow comes with a fresh start. Find the people you can laugh with and keep them close. Years from now, they’ll be the ones that will be there to wipe away your tears. You’re not perfect and you never will be and that’s ok- you’ll always be a work in progress. Be humble in your successes and learn from your failures. Always, always, always treat people with respect-they’ve earned that right.
Take lots and lots and lots of pictures of anything and everything-you’ll need them for Throwback Thursday. You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes and they can take you in any direction you choose-oh the places you’ll go. Never let go of your dreams.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I’ve rediscovered how to live in the moment. Everything in life has a humorous side; the challenge is to find it. Some days it seems that life is a Cy Young award-winning pitcher when it comes to tossing things at you and you don’t realize your own strength until strength is the only choice you have. I’ve learned to swing for the fences, no matter what’s been thrown at me-more often than not, I’ll get a hit.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
Give every day. Find one thing no matter how big or small to give back. Pick up a piece of garbage, walk instead of drive, donate $1.00 to my favorite charity, and help a friend. Embrace uncertainty and be the leader of my own journey. Take calculated risks and realize there is no excuse for being an amateur forever because life is too short.
Respond with the power of positivity while at the same time be wise enough to walk away from needless negativity. -It’s just as easy to find the positive if you take the time to look. Flow with life, rather than against it, Value what money can’t buy. Be extra kind to people and mostly know that I am stronger than I ever thought and there’s nothing I can’t do-Truthfully, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you and you only go ‘round once so you might as well live it up a little.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
My secret to life is no secret-laugh, smile and enjoy all that has been given you. Live life to the fullest each and every day with no regrets. You know what they say, smile and the world smiles with you! I refuse to make Bucket lists because that implies it’s all going to end. Instead my Wish List is long and ongoing and ever changing.
When you wish, you have hope and when you have hope, you live your life instead of merely existing.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Being around children each and every day keeps me grounded.
Realizing that it’s the little things-dancing the Hokey Pokey, telling Knock Knock jokes, sharing the love of a good book, finding a butterfly, getting messy, sitting on the ground playing “Duck, Duck, Goose”, giggling and then giggling some more and the most important, hugging those I love and telling them I love them each and every day are what keeps me going from one day to the next.
*What’s your biggest regret?
Other than not buying stock in Apple, Starbucks, IBM and Microsoft at the opening bid, as cliché’ as I know it sounds, I honestly have no regrets. Everything I have done and gone through in my life has brought me to where I am today. Life is too short to live with “should have, would have, could haves.”
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I called my kids and asked each one of them what was the most important thing I taught them and they all said exactly the same thing-
Believe in yourself and live your dreams because the as you pursue them, the bigger they become. Be yourself, be unique, be true, be honest, be humble, be loyal and most of all be happy. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass-it’s about learning to dance in the rain!
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I’m working on giving myself permission to be a beginner at times.
Every journey starts with that first single step and everyone has to start somewhere. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own enthusiasm that I tend to dive right in not realizing that I’m in the deep end of the pool without a floatie in site. I’m slowly learning to look before I leap.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
To be part of a profession that has allowed me to touch the lives of so many children, to instill in them a sense of pride and confidence and help them find the inner strength it takes to believe in themselves and help them find the courage it takes to reach for the stars- there is nothing better and truth be told, I have learned so much more from them and how to truly live life. There is no greater gift that you can give to someone than to give yourself unconditionally to others.
*When were you happiest?
Being surrounded by the love of my family and friends, listening to the sounds of laughter and giggles is when I am at peace. As you live your life, you find that it’s the smallest of things that make you smile the most. It’s such a gift knowing that every day we can build upon this incredible foundation, conversation-by-conversation, memory-by-memory, with dreams to be realized and new worlds to explore and do it together that I am the happiest and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
*What ten words best describe you?
Believer. Dreamer. Creator. Cheerleader. Motivator. Giver. Comforter. Wisher. Teacher. Most important…Mommy/Grammy.
Gayle is a lifelong educator by day having spent almost three decades as a teacher, and an avid writer by night. When not in her classroom, this social media influencer says her proudest accomplishment is being the mom to 5 remarkable children and 4 slightly spoiled grandkids. Gayle is the the founder of a children’s theater group which consistently has received national recognition for over a dozen years ago that gives every child the opportunity to be in a major musical at no cost. On any given day, you can find her skipping her way though life with a giggle and a smile looking for her next big adventure on her journey through life. You can follow Gayle’s adventures on Facebook and on Twitter @DisneyGals.