Tag Archives: life lessons

Lessons on life from dying children


File image via Pixabay. (Not Dr. McAlpine.)

A Twitter thread by a pediatrician has been making the rounds lately, and for good reason. Dr. Alastair McAlpine asked some of his terminal pediatric palliative care patients what has mattered the most to them in life, and what has given their lives the most meaning. The children’s answers are both simple and profound, and something we adults should take to heart.

The things so many of us are hooked on, such as television or social media, did not make the kids’ important list. Family, pets, books and ice cream did rank high. These young souls whose lives will most likely be cut short barring a medical miracle shared a couple of values they found to be the most important. Kindness and a sense of humor made the list, not wealth or celebrity.

I encourage you to read the short thread on Twitter. At the end, Dr. McAlpine offers a takeaway for all of us.

We could all use a reminder to let go of negative thoughts and regrets and focus on the truly important people and things in our lives.

At the very least, we can commit to enjoying more ice cream.

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Filed under Memories

A lesson on perception

I will return to this month’s theme of exploring the memories of others found in my favorite memoirs in my next post. I just have to share an experience that I had this week, because I think it can be useful to all of us in a caregiver role. Most family caregivers have no formal training before they jump right in as a hands-on caregiver. We can’t expect perfection, but I think we tend to beat ourselves up when we shouldn’t. Because caregiving is such an emotionally sensitive role, it is easy to let one small failure ruin one’s day or trigger a major guilt trip.

Stop beating yourself up!

Stop beating yourself up!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a job interview this week. Despite my confidence in my work abilities, my introverted personality shudders at the thought of talking about myself for an hour in a room full of strangers. No matter how many tips I read and how much I practice and prepare, a good old-fashioned case of the nerves usually attacks me during interviews. It never causes a full-blown disaster, and obviously I’ve managed to stay employed in some form or another since I was 16, but still, I hate this weakness on my part.

So this week, after going over my interview notes I head to the interview. Unfortunately, it was also the coldest morning in Atlanta ever recorded, bottoming out at about 6 degrees F. The area where the interview was to take place was a disaster, due to construction and weather-related snafus. The building had suffered issues due to the weather as well, so I had to enter through an unmarked entrance. All of this left me unsettled to say the least.

There were three interviewers, one who I have worked with a bit previously. I brought a water bottle with me because I get dry mouth in interviews but don’t want to have to navigate a cup in case my hands shake. Well, silly of me to worry about spilling water. I opened the bottle just as the first question was asked and it appeared the bottle was overfilled because it sprayed all over my sweater and pants. Internally I cringed but outwardly I kept that smile pasted on my face and tried to arrange my arms to cover the wet spot.

Afterwards, I definitely felt like it was not my strongest interview. I would have given myself a B-. I felt like I talked too fast and rambled too much, earning the familiar “deer in the headlights” look from the interviewers. I went home feeling depressed, because this was the best job opportunity to come along in awhile. I spent the rest of the day doing a “should have said this” routine in my head.

I sent out thank you emails to all of the interviewers. The guy who I’ve worked with previously replied back and his response blew me away. He said, “You did great in the interview. I wish I could interview like that.”


So that’s my lesson to all of you. How you perceive yourself may be quite different than how others see you. You probably judge yourself much harsher than others do. Be confident that you are doing the best you can and don’t create a failure before the results are even recorded.

For the record, I did get offered one of the positions!

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Filed under Awareness & Activism, Memories