Thursday, March 17, 2011

What I've Learned in 54 Years...

Birthday Cake - Candlesphoto © 2008 Jessica Diamond | more info (via: Wylio)

I read someone's blog last week which talked about a writing activity they have students do.  I decided it would make a great birthday post.

"I am young. I am 54 years old and here is what I have learned about life..."

1. Forgive people. Don't hold grudges. It's the strongest thing you can do. People make mistakes. They deserve a second chance--and sometimes a third or fourth.

2. Choose your life. People treat you how you let them.

3. Stupid sophomore boys grow up into fine men--well, most of them. Some stupid sophomore boys stay stupid sophomore boys until they are 40.  See rule number 1.

4. A piece of chocolate a day keeps the grumpies away.

5. A warm bath and an hour alone with a good book is a great way to end the weekend and recharge your soul.

6. Be nice to people. If you have to, bite your tongue 'til it bleeds. You can't take words back.

7. Surround yourself with young people--or the young at heart. They will push you to learn new things just when you want to settle for the old way of doing things.

8. Sometimes you just have to shut your door and teach.

9. If you can't save the world, save one kid.

10. Keep secrets.  When someone says to you, "Please don't tell anyone."  Don't.

11. Fight for what matters. Let the rest go.

12. Find one person with whom you share convictions. And it doesn't have to be your spouse.

13. Don't rely on anyone else for your happiness.  You will make both of you miserable.

13. Don't be your kid's friend when they are young--they need a parent. But, being a friendly parent when they are on their own is a great thing.

14. Spoil your grandkids.  The world won't stop if they stay up late or eat Oreo cookies for breakfast.

15. Make sure you take your grandkids all by yourself once in awhile. You'll be tired when they go home, but it's fun to not worry about what mom or dad might say.

16. Dogs make you exercise.

17. Life's too short to read bad books. Abandon those who don't grab you by the lapels and scream, "Read Me!"

18. Have more than one "best friend". There's too much good about you to be covered by one person.

19. Don't be hurt if your best friend has more than one best friend.

20. Don't blame your parents for your life.  It's your life. Make it what you want.

21. Just because you believe in something, doesn't mean the rest of the world has to believe the same thing. Diversity is a good thing.

22. Fair doesn't mean equal.

23. He who yells the  loudest isn't necessarily right.  They are just loud.

24. You can't control the world, you can only control what you do in the world.

25. Pay no attention to the people who don't matter in your life--but if they matter, pay attention.

26. Do something frequently that you are not very good at. It keeps you humble.

27. Learn new things.

28. Have one CD in your car that you can sing along to and pretend you are a rock star,

29. Cry.

30. Laugh. Laugh really loud. Snort if you have to.

31. A glass of wine and a chair back massager are a wonderful combination some days.

32. Don't worry about how the toilet paper gets put on the roll or how the towels get folded. Just be glad someone besides you does it once in awhile.

33. Call your mom.

34. Tell people when they have done something well, or unexpected, or nice.  Especially students--they need to learn that people notice those things.

35. When you are out in nature, pick up trash. Leave the area a little nicer than when you got there.  The same could be said of the hallways at school.

36. Can't never did anything.

37.No is not a four-letter word. It's OK to use it every now and then. If you find your life overwhelming, you probably haven't said it enough.

38. Label your pictures with who is in it and why they are there. Your grandkids will care when you are gone.

39. Change happens. Deal with it.  You can't stop the wind, but you can learn to surf."

40. Love yourself for who you are, with all your imperfections. Those imperfections aren't really a big deal. And if you don't love you, who else will?

That's it--it's all I've got.  I hoped to get to 54 things, but I've run out of things I've learned. I must have some more growing up to do.


  1. Wow, ditto for me who is (just) a little older than you.....I especially related to not to be your child's best friend...they need a mom. I remember feeling rather frumpy during that stretch. All is well....friends now! Mimi

  2. Poignant. Wise. Thoughtful. Perfect.

  3. This is a great list to look back over if have a bad day, it is so positive. A lot of learning happened in your first 54 years, it will be interesting to see what you learn in the next 54. Have a great day!

  4. Deb,
    This is exactly what I needed. Your words nourish my soul, like a cucumber water on a parched throat. Printing it now and posting it to my "all things good" wall. Thank you for your honesty and depth of character.

  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY WOMAN!!!! And I bite my toungue every time Dennis folds towels!!!!LOL

  6. I think 40 is just wonderful; remember that you were 14 40 years ago, maybe those 14 years you had just 'begun' as Milne/Christopher Robin says. Thank you for your list, full of wise words. At our school, we have WOW (wise old women). I hope you take this as a compliment, WOW!

  7. This list is inspiring, clearly, as well as thoughtful. Discovering the things we have learned in our however many years can lead to wisdom and some self-growth. I love that you shared this idea. It has inspired me to add it to my growing list of styles of writing to try out.

  8. Thank you for your list. It's a good reminder. Happy Birthday, too!!!

  9. Happy birthday! So many great learnings! Thanks for sharing these!

  10. 41. Be a reader and a writer - it's good for the soul . . . and for others! Thanks for sharing such a poignant list. My favorites: #4, #6, #9, #22, #24, #28, #36 . . . no, I loved them all!

    Happy, happy birthday! And to many more years of growing up! :)

  11. Love this!! You can keep on adding as you learn new things! Happy Birthday!

  12. Definitely starred this post in my Google Reader. Many of these items would make it to my list if I made one. Thanks for coming up with the reminders of how to live.