Best Life Advice I've Received

I had the most wonderful upbringing in a rowdy house with five kids, a giant garden to feed our family, pigs, chickens, family pets, music and the arts, soccer, laughter, and parents who participated in all of it.

My mom made the sacrifice of putting her teaching career on pause when she and my father started a family so that she could fulfill her most important role as a mom. My father worked hard to support our large family, but chose to turn down each promotion he was offered professionally if it meant he would spend longer hours away from home, where all of the love and action was.

Born out of necessity, my parents were very thrifty and ahead of the trends we see today. They grew our food (and we had every fruit or vegetable one could imagine growing in Pennsylvania!), raised pigs and chickens for meat and eggs, participated in a food co­-op, and chose to buy milk from our local farmer down the street, Tim. We always ate together and at home ­ big beautiful homemade meals that my sister, mom and I would make together. My parents weaved together a tightly knit family that care immensely for one another ­ one of their most important accomplishments. It sounds pretty idyllic, and that’s the way it felt, too.

One of the teachings from the Bhagavad Gita tells us that we should act without attachment to desired results. As Americans, we are conditioned to do just the opposite. We take jobs with the purpose of making more and more money, climbing the metaphorical ladder so that we can acquire houses, cars and vacations…the list goes on. Today we see a wave of millions of people who have left their jobs due to a lack of joy in their lives and instead are pursuing complete lifestyle and professional changes. Perhaps you’ve been through this yourself.

I learned this lesson by watching my parents turn away from time constraints (and ultimately, financial gain) so that they could invest their time building something greater: a rich family experience of support and love. For better or worse (sometimes it’s incredibly challenging!), none of my sibling and I chose careers based on the kind of financial return that we would gain. It’s not always an easy path, but each of us is pursuing what lights us up and brings joy into our lives. I’m eternally grateful for this gift that my parents gave me!