Today is my birthday. I don’t tell you this lightly. As a matter of fact, last year I didn’t even mention it because last year I turned the big FIVE-O. I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but I was so devastated and in such denial over that silly number that I refused to acknowledge it in any public way. But now that I’ve had a year to let the reality settle in, I see I did myself a disservice by allowing such a significant life milestone pass by without paying some sort of homage to it.
So here I am, a year later, ready to do what I should have done last year…reflect on turning fifty (plus 1) by sharing some of what that considerable span of time has taught me.
I share this as a birthday present to myself today….but my hope is that each of you will find at least one nugget of truth that resonates with you and causes you to reflect as well.
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51 Reflections On Turning 50 + 1
I’ll start with one of my very favorite quotes:
1. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~~Eleanor Roosevelt
2. Time and experience heals pain. Even if you are going through an overwhelmingly painful event in your life right now….one day it will be part of your past and not nearly as significant as it seems.
3. Keep moving. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we hurt. If we don’t, we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend.
4. Be the first to say you’re sorry.
5. Kindness matters. A lot. Being kind is more important than being right. Wherever there is a human being, there’s an opportunity for kindness.
6. Mother was right….everything seems worse at night. Our isolation and insignificance seem so much greater when everyone else is asleep. Try to rest and take comfort in the approaching sunrise.
7. Find ways of doing service. It’s some of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. You come to love those you serve.
8. For better, or for worse….means just that. Probably the five words most taken for granted in the English language.
9. Forgiving yourself is FAR harder than forgiving someone else. And, I believe, it’s never complete.
10. When the chips are down (I mean REALLY down)…family is who will come through.
11. Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
12. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
13. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” ~~Eleanor Roosevelt
14. Stop worrying…and start living! 99% of what we worry about WON’T EVER HAPPEN!
15. Choose happiness. Walk cheerfully on the face of the earth.
16. Let go of resentment. Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head. KICK THEM OUT!
17. You don’t need everyone to like you. If the people closest to you love you, the ones who don’t, don’t matter.
18. Addiction is no respecter of persons. It will seek to destroy anyone who gets caught in its web.
19. Life is all about expectations. Stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others.
20. NO ONE gets through this life without some trial. Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind.
21. Goal-setting is overrated. Problem solving is underrated.
22. Debit ruins lives. Try to avoid it all cost.
23. Never send an email when you’re mad. If you want to write an angry e-mail, do it. Just don’t send it.
24. You can’t change people. You either have to accept people for who they are or not at all. There is very little gray area here.
25. Learn to embrace Change, even when it arrives with its companions, Fear and Uncertainty.
26. Giving is better than getting. If you continually give, you will continually have.
27. Gratitude is the best way to find contentment. Personally I don’t think there is any way to find contentment without gratitude. It takes our focus off what we don’t have and onto what we do have.
28. Learn the art of empathy and practice it. Never underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, or a listening ear.
29. On being a parent….stay out of the way of your kids becoming the amazing people they are. It’s more harmful to overparent than to underparent.
30. Everyone yearns for validation, love, security, enjoyment and a better future.
31. Live in the now. Don’t let yesterday use up today.
32. Live by example. Personal example carries much more weight than preaching.
33. You can’t buy happiness. Everything that is wonderful about life doesn’t cost a penny. A long walk, a hug, spending time with a good friend are all free.
34. You can’t please everyone! If you share something with enough people, you will upset someone, no matter what. That’s their problem, not yours.
35. Mistakes are how we learn. Failures are the stepping stones to success.
36. Wear sunscreen.
37. No matter how lonely you might feel, there is always someone who can relate to you. Perhaps you can’t talk to them right now, but they are out there.
38. Flowers and gardening are medicine for the soul.
39. Passionate love is overrated. Seek a mate whose values and background echo your own.
40. Relationships are messy because life is challenging. A conflict doesn’t mean the relationship has to come to an end.
41. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. Not your parents, not your spouse. You.
42. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay close.
43. However bad a situation is, you will get through it, one way or another.
44. Trust your gut instinct. It will be right 99% of the time.
45. Sometimes all you can do is B R E A T H E.
46. Failures are only lessons. So never regret anything that has happened in your life. Take it all as lessons learned and move on with grace.
47. The best is yet to come.
48. Experience is the greatest teacher of all.
49. This wise prayer….”God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
50. Find your passion. Discovering something you love to do has an amazing effect on your entire life.
51. I have a lot left to learn. Life still has many lessons left to teach me, and I’m looking forward to them all.
I want to thank each of you for being here to celebrate with me today….and every day! The community that this website represents truly is one of my proudest accomplishments, and one that wouldn’t exist without all of you incredible people!
Update: By request…I made a Free Printable of the above list that you can download here. :-)