It’s that time of year when many of us start to size up whether or not 2010 was a good or bad year for us. Because I turned 50 this year, I haven’t yet made up my mind. I used to think 50 was so old as in practically dead. Considering I’ve never felt better, I’m blessed beyond my wildest dreams, and I’m surrounded by all kinds of amazing people and canines, I’ve changed my mind. Fifty doesn’t make you old; it makes you wiser. To help others come to this state of zen at any age, here are 50 lessons, in no particular order, from a born-and-reared Southern girl that can surely make the aging process easier for others. Learn from me.
1) Live life to its fullest.
2) Make up is optional. If it takes more than five minutes, change your routine or get surgery as there’s no time to waste.
3) You can’t take it with you.
4) Regularity cannot be overrated.
5) Life is all about choices, some good and some not-so-good; hence, life is all about consequences based upon the choices we make.
6) Pay attention to people older than you. They’re usually wiser for a reason.
7) Humility cannot be overrated.
8) Don’t let your temper get the best of you.
9) Refrain from making too many emotional-based decisions, especially regarding business, investments and some relationships.
10) Associate with successful professionals of good moral character.
11) Get as much education as you possibly can.
12) Take care of your body.
13) When, not if, your significant other leaves his underwear or other-type items on the floor, DO NOT pick them up. I don’t care if you have to remodel around them, do not clean up after another adult’s mess.
14) There’s no gene or specific DNA for unloading dishwasher, doing laundry or grocery shopping. Of course, if you want it done right…
15) Men are lousy patients.
16) A man’s relationship with his hair is sacred. Although receding hairlines, balding spots and combovers are lip-biting visuals, save your laughter for his next lukewarm joke. A man’s relationship with his perceived sense of humor also is sacred. Two birds – one stone.
17) Read. Read anything and everything. I don’t care if it’s just a beer label. Work your way up to regularly reading all kinds of things to expand your mind. Bonus tip: Get a library card, and take advantage of one of the government’s best kept secrets.
18) Don’t buy new cars; buy used cars of good quality and keep them.
19) Don’t buy whole life insurance.
20) Understand that it doesn’t matter what people think of you as long as you know that you’re doing the right thing.
21) Don’t lock yourself out of a vacation rental late at night.
23) Laugh at yourself. Then tell someone why you laughed at yourself.
24) A good set of cookware should last a lifetime. Invest the money.
25) If you have trouble with commitments, try baby steps, like commiting to the same brand of shampoo and conditioner.
26) Do something unexpected (not stupid) to keep life exciting and challenging. Learn a new language, take up kickboxing, try Ethiopian food…
27) Pray, and not just when you’re desperate or on the Sabbath. Pray and praise every day.
28) Be true to yourself. DO NOT do anything for another person if you don’t want to because you’re trying to impress him or her. I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane to do that and almost died. The parachute malfunctioned as did the relationship.
29) If you want to start making your own clothes, do not use plaid fabric on the first try.
30) Get a pet. In fact, get several pets. And get them from the Humane Society or a rescue organization.
31) Do not try to walk in downtown Manhattan or Chicago in really high heels.
32) Unless you’re blessed with such skills, do not attempt to fix your own plumbing or electrical wiring. It’s just not pretty.
33) Save as much money as you possibly can.
34) Give as much money as you possibly can.
35) Volunteer. Not having enough time isn’t an acceptable excuse.
36) The single best purchase for your hair is a fine-toothed comb for less than $1.00.
37) Don’t cry at work; unless it’s from laughter, don’t be known as the office hormone.
38) Study up on gravity; understand the physics of what makes a young, smiley face a mature, pissed off face. That way, when it happens, you’ll be ready.
39) “What are you thinking?” fell by the wayside YEARS ago. I don’t care what you’re thinking.
40) Life is too short to waste time with toxic people.
41) Consider your environment as you can become a product of it, good or bad.
42) Know your audience.
43) Just because someone said something doesn’t mean it’s true. Think for yourself, and form your own opinions.
44) Just because you want it doesn’t mean God wants you to have it.
45) I don’t care how old my carpet is – why should you?
46) Learn to balance your life – call me if you need advice.
47) Accommodate – it’s not all about you.
48) Forgive – easier said than done.
49) If you insist on watching television, try the History Channel or I Love Lucy.
50) Master the art of listening; embrace the prospect of change; and anticipate new lessons learned.
What would you add to this list of lessons that you have experienced?