As I prepare to celebrate a half-century on planet earth this month, and as I reflect on the journey I’ve traveled thus far, I think of lists I’ve come across, shared by others; bucket lists, top ten lists, etc. I decided to make my own list; lessons learned, some from others, but most after several bumps and bruises along the path. It’s been quite a fifty-year adventure, but there’s really not much I’d change. I hope that a few make you smile, and perhaps that one or two cause you to reflect on your own journey.
50 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 50 Years
1. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll be free.
2. Being direct, loud and honest are not faults.
3. People deserve a second chance, even if they don’t give you a second chance.
4. Business and money have a way of shining light on the character of those around you.
5. Diamonds are not a girl’s best friend.
6. There’s too much information in the world, and not enough inspiration.
7. You’ll never regret taking a photo of a person, place or thing.
8. 412-756-8231 (my mom’s phone number) is still my go-to number for “I need to tell someone”, but now no one answers.
9. If you want to encourage someone, encourage his or her child (learned from my mother).
10. On that same note, sooner or later, we all will quote our mothers.
11. Being married to my best friend is truly one of my greatest blessings, and I’m grateful every single day for my husband, our friendship and our marriage.
12. Being a mother is both the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
13. No one knows what he or she is doing as parents. We’re all faking it, and hoping for the best.
14. The laundry will never be completely caught up, unless we’re naked while we’re doing it.
15. Life is exceedingly brief.
16. Money isn’t everything, until you have none.
17. The more we express our gratitude; the more we will have to be grateful for. I try to start each day with a grateful heart. I’ve been most saddened by those who, because of greed and bitterness, are not able to live with a grateful heart.
18. You can’t get something from someone that they don’t have to give. Period.
19. You can’t motivate people, but you may be able to inspire them through your own actions.
20. Never send an email or message that’s unfit for the eyes of the world.
21. A dog licks his balls . . . because he can. Thanks, Dad!
22. The older you get, the fewer friends you’ll have, but the friendships will be richer and more meaningful. Thanks again, Dad.
23. “Teach Your Children Well” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks make me cry every time.
24. Learning to cook was one of the best things I’ve ever done (thanks to NaNa, Ms. Elizabeth Mayfield and Loretta Paganini). Everyone should learn to cook three or four amazing dishes, a couple of desserts, entertain often and share what you cook with loved ones. And remember, quality ingredients are key, and taste buds change!
25. My kitchen is a place of solace, and preparing a meal for loved ones provides more clarity and joy than any therapy session money can buy.
26. The most important thing you learn in school is how to learn.
27. Travel will open your mind, your heart, your soul, your world . . . it’s a must. But pack light!
28. The destination is a very small part of the journey. Don’t get so caught up in the goal that you miss all the greatness along the way. Enjoy the process!
29. I’m not cool, and I’m cool with that.
30. My parents were cool, and for that reason, I appreciate really good music. Grateful!
31. Slow down and sleep more! Life is much better enjoyed at a leisurely pace, and with a rested soul.
32. Swallow your pride and say you’re sorry. I’ve never regretted telling someone that I am sorry. Apologies are not for the weak. In fact, just the opposite is true.
33. Taking time to live will only inspire your work.
34. Value experiences more than objects.
35. Death sucks, and cancer is evil.
36. Being angry, harboring a grudge and seeking revenge makes you ugly. Seriously ugly. You wear it on your face, and I see it.
37. Everyone should have a pet. There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog.
38. Start your own business as young as possible. Lessons learned will be invaluable, even if it doesn’t work out.
39. Don’t confuse success with happiness. You need to learn to be happy first, and yes, most of us have to learn how to be happy, and then you can become successful.
40. Hire people smarter than you! Marry someone smarter than you! Have the confidence to surround yourself with people smarter than you!
41. Those who stood by you through the struggles are the only ones who deserve to stand by you as you celebrate the successes.
42. There’s no such thing as a dream job.
43. When you’re freaking out, seek perspective.
45. Anyone can buy a good $80 bottle of wine. It’s much more impressive to know how to buy a really good $20 bottle of wine. Thanks, Jack.
46. Spectator sports are a wonderful reprieve from the day-to-day stresses. If you don’t have a favorite team, pick one today, learn the stories of the players, study some of the rules and go to a game, or at least watch one on TV.
47. My children are smarter than me, more talented than me, more driven than me, more attractive than me, and just all around better people than me . . .thank goodness.
48. Nothing soothes the soul like sand and the sea, especially when enjoyed with my husband.
49. Some people will never love me, no matter what I do. And some people will never stop loving me, no matter what I do. I go where the love is.
50. The most important lesson of all is that I still have a lot to learn, a lot to do, and a lot to see. I will return to Indonesia, and to Japan to see the Zen Garden of Kyoto. I will sail the Yangtze River, and walk through the Amazon Rain Forest. I want to see the Pyramids of Giza, Easter Island, Mesa Verde, Pompeii and Petra. I will learn to make a perfect soufflé, mole poblano, and a loaf of sour dough bread. I will curse less . . . nah, probably not. I long to hold my grandchildren, cook for them, teach them to cook, and to spend countless hours with them at the beach. I also still have a lot of mistakes to make, but I’ve learned to enjoy the process . . .
Thanks for reading,