Things I have learned in my almost 39 years:
1. Stop trusting people as an automatic response. It’s okay to believe in the fundemental good nature of people, but be a bit more alert with the bullshit-o-meter. Let people earn trust with their words and actions.
2. Live life as if at any moment your actions and words could be in tomorrow’s headlines. If you wouldn’t want the world to know about it, don’t do it.
3. Say I love you. Say it and mean it because you never know when holding back from telling someone means you will miss the chance to tell them at all.
4. Take time to really look around and enjoy where you are. We get so busy with work and schedules and kids and life that it can be easy to forget to take the time to say, hey, I have a pretty cool life here.
5. Don’t neglect time spent outside and unplugged. Much like number 4, it’s important to just turn off the phones and the internet access every so often and go for a walk. Admire some trees, listen to the birds.
6. Talk to your kids. Talk about anything and everything. Let them know that you are there to really listen so when the time comes that they are in a jam (and it will come), they will not be embarassed to tell you and ask for help. And speaking of which:
7. Ask for help. None of us is superman/woman. We actually CAN’T do it all and we should stop trying to. When you’re stuck, ask for help. You’ll be surprised who will come to your side when you need them.
8. Talk to your parents. They still have lots of wisdom and now that you’re not a kid in their house anymore, chances are their sense of humour has gotten sharper and maybe even dirtier. They’re pretty funny, those ol’ guys.
9. Connect with your significant other. Yeah, you’re both busy, tired, overworked and stressed. But take a second and give them a hug. Kiss them when you come home, kiss them when they come home. When you’re walking past them in the hall, touch a shoulder, an arm, even their butt. Make those connections that say “I am still into you”. It speaks volumes.
10. Don’t be afraid to fight. Stand up for yourself, but don’t be petty when you do it. There’s no need for name calling and mud slinging of past wrongs, but when you believe in something strongly enough or you know something is not as it should be, don’t be afraid to stand up and say so. Your voice is important, use it.
11. Don’t be afraid to cry. It’s actually therapeutic to let those tears flow now and then.
12. Teach your girls to respect their bodies and love their bodies, no matter what shape it is.
13. Teach your boys the same thing.
14. Teach both your boys and girls that no means no and that it’s okay for them to stand up for themselves. Be assertive. Be bold and brave.
15. You can’t take it with you: don’t be so worried about “things” in your life. No one is actually keeping score over who has what. Seriously.
16. Love with all your heart.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Some of these lessons were harder for me to learn than others, and some are still works in progress, but I’ve also learned that it’s never too late to make changes for the better. If I ever stopped trying to be a better person than I am today, well, it would mean that I had given up on myself. I’m actually much happier as a person getting close to 40 than I was at 30. It’s a nice feeling.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve taken from life?