Turning 50 got my attention. I’m solidly middle-aged now. I’m half a century old.
|Birthday flowers from Larry.|
For me, this month has been a time of looking back and looking forward. I’m excited about the future, and I’m grateful that I’ve made it this far.
I started thinking about what I’ve learned so far in life and then began putting together a mental list of those things.
I decided to write them down and share them with you. And since I’ve lived 50 years, I thought I’d make a list of 50 things.
There’s no great wisdom here. This list doesn’t constitute everything I’ve learned (I hope), and I’m sure I’ve left out some important life lessons. But I thought it would be a fun exercise to try to quantify what I’ve learned over the years.
So here, not in order of importance, are 50 things I’ve learned in 50 years of living:
1: You are not helpless.
2: You may not be able to control anything else, but you can control your attitude.
3: It’s important to hold on to every shred of hope we can.
4: There’s always something new to learn.
5: You don’t have to answer the phone just because it rings.
6: You cannot stop a riding lawnmower by using your foot on the ground as a brake.
7: Not everyone will like you.
8: It’s OK that not everyone will like you.
9: Having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.
10: Taking medication for a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.
11: The closest distance between two points is a straight line.
12: Libraries are vital to communities.
13: Gray hair is not ugly.
14: Every creature, every living thing, has a part to play.
15: Animals can save our lives.
16: If a cat’s ears are laid back and she is rapidly switching her tail, don’t try to pet her.
17: One of the hardest things to do is to forgive, either someone else or yourself.
18: Sometimes a good cry is what you need.
19: Doing your best is not the same thing as trying to be perfect.
20: You don’t know what another person is thinking unless he or she tells you.
21: Sometimes it’s best to not say anything.
22: We all make mistakes. All of us.
23: It’s natural to feel nervous about trying something new.
24: Find the balm for your soul, whether it’s prayer, poetry, music, whatever—and keep it close.
25: Listening to someone else can be a gift to that person.
26: You do not have to hang out with people who try to make you feel less than you are.
27: Everyone has burdens.
28: Uncertainty is hard to accept, but it’s freeing when you do, even for a moment.
29: Just because you are related to someone doesn’t mean you have to spend time with them.
30: Put gas in your car once it drops below half a tank.
31: It’s OK if you don’t like the same book/movie/TV show that everyone else likes.
32: Good manners can make a world of difference.
33: You are never too old to find a way to do what is important to you.
34: Remind yourself of your priorities every day.
35: Even if you’re not good at a game/sport/activity, if you’re having fun, do it.
36: Don’t let the fear of what others will think be your guide.
37: Gossip is destructive.
38: Good will win.
39: Sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree.
40: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
41: Every situation can teach you something.
42: Don’t wish your time away.
43: If you’re angry with someone, don’t send them an email until you’ve calmed down.
44: Sometimes it’s good to remember that it’s not all about you.
45: You’re not responsible for the happiness of others, and they’re not responsible for yours.
46: Accept compliments graciously.
47: Be kind to others and to yourself.
48: Festering wounds have to be dealt with.
49: Don’t put yourself down, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to put you down.
50: Being grateful can have an amazing effect on your mood and outlook.
What’s one thing that you’ve learned that you’d like to share?