With my 64th birthday around the corner and my sexagenarian status firmly in place, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two over the decades. Which is why I thought now would be as good a time as any to jot down whatever wisdom I’ve accumulated … so far.
1. Life is an ever expanding gift of moments. Defining moments precious and rare, and boundlessly filled with joy, tenderness, heartbreak, beauty, braces, babies and mortgage payments all rolled up together.
2. Everything always has a way of working itself out. Maybe not in the way you expected. But give it a moment. Take a breath, and let the universe do its thing.
3. The perception of importance rests entirely with you. How you see yourself shouldn’t be dictated by others.
4. As much as I hate to admit it, chocolate isn’t a food group.
5. Ignorance is not bliss. Nor is sticking your head in the sand the best way to avoid issues. If you expect change, then you have to be part of that change. It will be the most empowering thing you’ll ever do.
6. Despite what people project, we’re more alike than we’re different. Underneath our Dolce & Gabbana and TJ Maxx specials, we’re all scared human beings. We’re f**ked up to some degree, we’re needy, insecure and even broken. All the more reason to not be so judgmental.
7. Lord Byron said, “There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” So, go take that walk on the beach and give your soul a shot in the arm. Everything else will wait.
8. Happiness starts and ends with you.
9. Friends are those people who stick around when no one else does. They’re your rocks of granite, your cheering squads, telling those truths you might otherwise not want to hear. And if you end up with just one, well, then you’re luckier than most.
10. Forget the idea that publishing your next novel will fix everything that ails you, and put the happiness chip back into your heart. It won’t happen. What keeps you grounded is not the prize rather the actual doing. The writing. The emancipation of word after word. The same string of thought that you alone created. That is the joy.
11. Take care of your teeth. Floss daily and get regular cleanings. You’ll thank me later!
12. Stay in shape as best you can. Get down on the mat, stretch those old legs, take walks, take bike rides. Anything to keep you physically and mentally alert. This is another one of those things you’ll thank me for.
13. Humility. I don’t imagine this comes readily to anyone under the age of thirty. But eventually you learn that you don’t know everything. You’re not the best at everything, and if you want to get anywhere in life you must first take those baby steps just like everyone else.
14. Family is everything and sometimes they’re nothing. They are the most frustrating relationships you’ll ever have to tackle.
15. At some point you’re going to have to make peace with all those things hanging around in your refrigerator. Yup, the ice cream, the tacos, the chocolate chip cookies. No more battles. If you want that slice of cake, I say go for it!
16. Reaching out to those less fortunate and less capable is our human responsibility. People, children, animals, all those that cannot fend for themselves deserve to be shown even a morsel of love and kindness. It’s not rocket science.
17. Death. This is what I perceive to be the hardest thing you’ll be forced to bear. Losing those people you can’t imagine your life like without. When they die, a huge chunk of you will die too. It’s a loss you will never fully get beyond. But maybe that’s the point … you’re not supposed to.-