“Just do it; keep going and try not to overthink everything.” I think she’s only ever uttered that lesson out loud once or twice after I’ve finished complaining or questioning yet another thing in my world. But the truth is, I’ve gotten glimpses of this advice throughout my life. Out of the many stories she’s told me about her journey over the years. I don’t think we’ve ever sat down and discussed her life from beginning till now, but we’ve often talked about the different chapters. Some of them, I know so well, I can probably recite them with as much detail as she would. With others, I feel like I still don’t know the entire story.

So, that’s probably one of the most important lessons my mother taught me, and she’s taught me many. But this is the one that can likely apply to many of us during this pandemic. I don’t think I’ve fully grasped the lesson yet. Or at least haven’t been able to implement it consistently. I am an overthinker by nature, and it can be hard to stop my thoughts from running wild, but it is this lesson that helps me through some of the most challenging times when I feel like giving up. Enough about me, though, you’re probably here for the story behind the lesson. Plus, it’s Mother’s Day, so there’s no better day than today to reflect on what our mothers have taught us.

Just Do It and Go After The Things You Want

When my mom was in school, she got into swimming. Soon, it became one of her favorite activities and her favorite sport. She still tells me how it’s the sport that doesn’t damage the joints and how great it’d be to have a pool somewhere nearby. The trouble was, though, her mother wasn’t a fan of her swimming. If I recall correctly, she told her that it would lead to her having “too broad shoulders.” So what did my mom do? She went to practice anyway, trained anyway, and participated in all competitions nevertheless. Simply by sticking with the sport she loved and not letting somebody else’s opinion dictate her life – she persevered and went on to win dozens of competitions and getting a “Master of Sport” title in USSR. Was it hard? In her stories, she doesn’t make it seem so. Truth be told, she seems so strong and confident in her opinions that I am inclined to believe she honestly didn’t find it all that challenging. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something for us to learn from this.

If you’re passionate about something – do it. In any way that you can. Whenever you can. And don’t let anyone stop you – you never know what will come out of it.

Keep Going, No Matter What

When she was 19, USSR fell apart, and amidst this time of uncertainty, my mother decided to pursue something even less definitive. She decided she wanted to go to the United States. She wanted to leave everything and almost everyone she knew behind, and travel with a friend across the world to see what it was like there. And she did.

It wasn’t easy. She faced rejection or a detour at every corner. Starting with getting a visa. She had to wait in line and push through crowds to get a document that’d get her closer to her dream. Then came the plane ticket. Not only was it costly, it was also very competitive. She came daily to the office of the airline and kept trying to let the bulky guard standing outside, let her in. Guess how she managed? She just kept showing up until one day, after some chit chat and potentially flattery, he let her through. She had the visa, she had her ticket, and she had a friend who would let her crash in her house for some time. So she left and started a brand new chapter of her life. Miles away from home and her family, but she did it because she wanted to and didn’t stop after someone had told her no.

So no matter how bleak, dire, and hopeless your situation may seem – keep going. Persevere, push through, and don’t give up, because often, it is just a matter of giving it one more push, one more shot and everything you’ve wanted will be within your grasp.

Try Not To Overthink

This is a funny one because my mom is a person who overthinks a lot. Yet she overthinks things that often aren’t about her per se, but about her loved ones or her work. She overthinks, overprepares, and over strategizes about pretty much everything that has to do with the people she cares about. I’ve seen it first hand with me when she’d consider every possible angle that could come up in just about any legal endeavor I’ve ever had to face. Be it paying taxes or signing a work agreement. So while it may seem contradictory to tell you that she’s also taught me not to overthink, it remains the truth. You see, while she overthinks everything when she’s trying to help someone, she overthinks much less (or at least it seems so) when it comes to things that concern her only. She goes for them, as you’ve seen from the two previous stories, and doesn’t dwell too much on what the alternative could’ve been.

I hope that someday I will also have enough confidence in myself in my choices to go with the flow and see where it takes me. To stop overthinking and focus on living. And I hope we all do, because at the end of the day – life is for trying, for enjoying, and for giving things a shot. We will never know what the road we didn’t choose held, so we’ve got to stop wondering and overanalyzing and focus on the choice we’ve made.

The reality is – my mom has lived her advice and is still living it, so it’s not just empty words from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Sometimes, I wonder where she got the strength to go after all the things she’s ever gone for. It feels surreal. But as the uncertainty covers our entire world right now, I can’t help but wonder if this advice could help us all right now.

So thank you, Mom, for your advice. You’re a treasure, and I love you. And I hope that your advice will help whoever’s reading this.