I like to follow the Positivity Blog. It always makes me pause to think, which is a good thing. Recently, I received an email notification of a re-post from a couple of years back. In the post, Henrik discussed 16 things he wishes he had learned in school, and he discusses these things from the vantage point of being older and wiser at…28. Not that I don’t think you can learn a lot between the time you get out of school and turn 28–you can; however, in my mind, 28 is still fairly young to be “looking back” when there is still so much ahead to be learned.
Well, this got me thinking about a good friend I made while I was in grad school-Terri. I made many friends during this time; however, one thing that stands out about Terri (aside from her uncanny ability to know just the right thing to say at just the right time) is her “50 at 50″list, which I think is so much better than a bucket list. Terri made a list of 50 things that she wanted to do by/in her 50th year. So cool, right?
I don’t have a 50 at 50 list (I tried, but I never got past #5), but after being inspired by both Henrik and Terri (and my daughter, Joey, who recently linked her blog Especially Freeing to a list of 30 reasons why I love being a girl in 2011), I have come up with a list of my own–50 things I (think) I know at 50. These are random thoughts, in no particular order, and while I’m certain they are not original, they are my own (and I can almost hear my mom and dad saying, “you’re too young to be looking back..”). And of course, these are just things that I’ve found to be true for myself. They aren’t meant to be universal proclamations that apply to everyone (see #19!)-
1. If you don’t like yourself, why should anyone else?
2. Worrying about what other people think of you is like worrying about the weather. You can’t change either, so why bother?
3. If someone appears happier, more confident, smarter, prettier, funnier, etc. than you, that’s just your perception of them. You really have no idea how they feel about themselves…or how they feel about you.
4. When you judge someone’s actions/inaction/conduct/beliefs–whatever—you are really just trying to find a way to validate your own…whatever.
5. Don’t buy something that you think will fit “10 lbs. from now”— unless you want to have a closet full of clothes you can’t wear.
6. There’s really no need to even try to be perfect. Imperfection is so much more interesting.
7. If you make a mistake, own it.
8. Don’t accept a label unless you’re expecting to be mailed…
9. You can do almost anything if you know there’s an end in sight. If you can’t see the end, imagine it.
10. Trying to “fit in” is useless. Try to be yourself, instead, and find your own niche.
11. Despite rumors to the contrary, there is no such thing as the “cool group” at any age.
12. There is no such thing as a comfortable thong.
13. Spanx are nothing short of miraculous.
14. Having nothing to prove is (especially!) freeing.
15. There will always be someone who will not bend to your will no matter how much you want them to or how hard you try to make it happen. Stop trying to make it happen.
16. You really don’t need excuses. You only need the truth.
17. No matter how low you feel, there is always someone whose problems make yours look insignificant.
18. Never take your good health for granted.
19. The world is full of people who think/feel/believe/act differently than you. Get over it.
20. The little things that piss you off today will be forgotten when a “real” problem comes along.
21. A person is so much more than their politics, religion, or sexual orientation.
22. Ten years from now no one will care if your house was clean or your clothes were neatly folded and put away. Someone might care, however, that you took the time to listen, watch and discuss a movie, or take a walk.
23. There is no blueprint for a happy life. If you try to follow a plan, you may miss the best parts.
24. You will not always like the people you love most.
25. The older you get, the more fondly you will remember the past.
26. Almost any bad day can be made better with chocolate, pasta, and wine (if you like chocolate, pasta, and wine).
27. Laughing at yourself is so much better than beating yourself up.
28. Laughing at someone else is mean unless they are trying to be funny.
29. Laughing at the Three Stooges is just plain wrong.
30. Don’t let anyone else tell you who you are or aren’t.
31. Coffee tastes so much better when someone else makes it for you.
32. First impressions are often way off base. It takes time to get to know someone.
33. The less you try to impress someone, the more you will.
34. Don’t hold grudges.
35. When your child is sick, the only thing you want in the world is for them to get better.
36. Ironing is almost completely unnecessary.
37. Making your bed is a waste of time.
38. A library is more than books in a building. It is an institution dedicated to literacy, learning, knowledge, and intellectual freedom and those things never go out of fashion or out of print. (Okay, this is a bit out of place, but this is supposed to be primarily a library-ish blog. And it is true!)
39. Few things hurt more than genuine, warm feelings that are not reciprocated, aka unrequited love. However, the thing to keep in mind is that not everyone is capable of reciprocating in the way that you would like them to. And not everyone you love is going to love you. And not everyone who loves you is going to tell you so.
40. Give people a break if they screw up unless you, too, would like to be remembered by the one worst thing you ever did.
41. Being kind trumps being clever.
42. If you think you’re smarter than someone (everyone) else at least have the decency not to show it.
43. Weathering your kids’ heartaches and disappointments is so much harder than handling your own.
44. Having the right spouse/partner is like having a pair of contact lenses. You can get by with only one lens if you have to, but when you wear both, everything comes into focus.
45. If you don’t have to do something today, then by all means put it off until tomorrow!
46. Say “thank you”, “I love you” and “I’m sorry” more often than necessary.
47. Don’t expect me to admire your skinny ass if you didn’t do anything to get it!
48. Confidence without arrogance is appealing. Arrogance is just annoying.
49. Most people will choose to do the right thing if given the chance. Those who don’t may not know any better or have a different definition of “right” (see #19).
50. There will always be someone new you can learn from, someone you’ve known for a long time who will surprise you, and someone you grow apart from. But every person who comes into your life and every experience you have is there for a reason, which you may discover or which may never be known to you. It’s called “life” and it keeps happening as long as you keep living, loving and learning.