I turned 45 years old in September. That’s really hard for me to believe. It’s fascinating from this perspective, looking back on my life and realizing even if it goes incredibly well from here on out, it’s pretty much halfway over, if not far less. I can sense my mortality more at this stage, which gives me a better feel for Life’s temporary nature than I had before. So I thought I’d take some time to jot down some things that I’ve learned along my own journey, for the record, as my very first blog post. So here they are, the 45 most important things I’ve learned so far, in no particular order, except for the first one.
1. Be kind. Go out of your way to do so. How you treat the world comes right back to you.
2. Better yourself. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
3. Imagine yourself in other people’s situations. Empathize.
4. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was when I turned down a much higher paying job for a more rewarding one.
5. Forget about fashion.
6. Respect others. You want the same for yourself.
7. Maybe the thing you fear will happen, maybe it won’t. But fearing it won’t do you any good.
9. Try to make someone smile every day.
10. Forgive yourself, don’t beat yourself up.
11. Remember life is temporary. It can end at any moment. Be grateful for the opportunity.
12. Teach yourself new things. Every skill you can acquire makes life a little easier.
13. Forgive others, don’t hold grudges. If someone insists on being an ass, don’t allow them to make you become one, too. Free yourself from the negativity.
14. Have hope. Only the smallest amount is necessary.
15. Grow a plant that will feed you.
16. Laugh at yourself.
17. Things don’t always go as planned, be flexible.
18. Hate is easy but makes things difficult. Love is difficult but makes things easy.
19. Pay attention. Observe. Watch what goes on around you and you can learn all sorts of things from other people’s successes, as well as their failures.
20. Seek God. I just can’t imagine how the dirt of the universe can take shape, live, breathe, grow, think and love without some incredibly creative “something else” involved. I find meaning in trying to figure Her out.
21. Be fair, seek Truth. Truth doesn’t care about what your pride or ego thinks.
22. Don’t compare what you have (or don’t have) with others. You have that same special spark of Life given to every other living thing. You have being. You have self. That is special as can be, and worthy of celebration and thanks.
23. Seek patience.
24. There are two sides to every story. Try to see it from the other side, fairly, before making a judgement.
25. Revenge and animosity are tempting, don’t fall for them. It is negative energy. Let it go.
26. Spend time in Nature.
27. Cheer FOR others, not against them.
28. Stay alert! Life is dangerous. Carelessness or stupidity can kill you, or others, instantly.
29. Wonder. Life is an amazing mystery.
30. Seek wisdom.
31. Discern for yourself. Don’t just accept what is fed to you by others. You have a good brain, use it.
32. Never assume.
33. Be polite.
34. Be prepared.
35. Admit your mistakes. I once dropped the ball on a job I was supposed to do. My pride and ego tempted me to try and save face by blaming it on something else and not being honest. I could have done so, quite easily, and no one would have known otherwise. I went to my friend, who was counting on the job being done, and confessed the truth that I simply dropped the ball and had no other excuse, and that I was sorry. Her eyes watered, she got a big smile and reached out and hugged me strongly, thanking me for being so honest. I’ll never forget that.
36. Lighten up. Many things don’t need to be taken too seriously.
37. Practice being a better listener.
38. No whining. There’s always someone else with a bigger problem. Plus, nobody wants to hear it.
39. Simplify your life.
40. It’s okay to cry. Life is sometimes hard and emotional. I’ve crumpled in a heap and cried over losses and regrets. It’s natural. Let it out.
41. Look for the positive.
42. Save. Make good financial decisions. Don’t spend money you don’t have.
43. Analyze yourself. If something makes you angry or upset, dig deep to uncover the true reason. Usually it’s something you can fix within yourself, related to pride, ego, greed or selfishness.
44. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
45. Eat well, drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep.