I turned 40 yesterday. Yep, I’m almost hesitant to admit it. Almost. There are days where I’d like to think I’m suspended permanently at either 23 or 33. But that’s not the way time, this construct we’ve created to capture the constant state of change in the world around us, actually works.
“What have you learned over these years?” a friend asked in light of the occasion.
“Good question,” I thought, having no immediate answer at the ready. In an attempt to catch up to the query, I jotted some tidbits that reflect my life circumstances, my travel experiences (of course) and the lessons from countless people who’ve showed me some of the light in the strangest of ways.
Hypocritical Blogger Note: I don’t always do these things myself, but I try. I am a work in progress.
40 Life Nuggets at 40
1. Manage your expectations. They are the key to your satisfaction. (Please keep this in mind while reading this list.)
2. Be thankful. Gratitude is becoming.
3. Especially gratitude for small things.
4. Whatever you think you need, you can probably live with less.
5. Awareness is often productive. Fear usually is not.
6. If it quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Likewise, if it smells like crap, it’s probably crap. (Don’t ask me about duck crap.)
7. Moderation in everything. Unless you really like it. (I kid. Kidding is good, too).
8. Eat like a bird and
shit poop like an elephant.
9. Give others the benefit of the doubt. But have your boxing gloves ready, just in case.
10. If you don’t really need to, don’t react immediately. Take deep breaths, then respond.
11. Stretch. Move your body – and your mind – in ways it’s not accustomed to.
12. How can you appreciate the good if you haven’t experienced some of the bad?
13. Music is good for the soul. Listen to it. Make it. Dance to it.
14. Exercise. Walk. Bicycle. Do whatever — just keep moving.
15. Use dental floss.
16. Be your own guru. The moment you sign someone else up for that job is the moment you’ve handed over responsibility for your own personal evolution.
17. Take joy in the free, the intangible. Things like sun, fresh air — things that prove you are alive.
18. If you feel like shit, try doing something different. Repeat.
19. Sometimes it’s necessary to defer enjoyment. But be careful not to defer it to when you are dead.
20. Don’t save “great moments” for special occasions. Spread them out. Take them when they present themselves.
21. Be curious. Even when it comes to mundane things.
22. Beliefs are good.
23. So is evidence to the contrary.
24. Doubts are good, too.
25. I think there’s something bigger than all of us. I don’t know if it has a beard though.
26. There’s great strength and opportunity in not knowing everything.
27. There’s even greater strength in realizing it.
28. And still greater strength in accepting it.
29. Don’t take for granted. Take stock.
30. Everything is on loan, to all of us.
31. Don’t expect the unexpected. Just know that it’s out there.
32. There is wisdom in youth. Likewise, there is energy in old age.
33. The past is to learn from. The present is to live in. The future is to build for. Try not to mix them up.
34. Small steps lead to big things.
35. Eat brussels sprouts.
36. Life is liquid. We are suspended in it. That means we’re in it together.
37. Leave a little bit on the table. Life does not need to be eaten in one bite.
38. In life, there’s no proxy for experience.
39. Seek joy. If you seek it, it’s more likely you’ll find it.
40. This is all subject to change. (a.k.a. READ THE FINE PRINT)
I’m sure there’s more, but I only have 40 years under my belt. Guess I’ll have to look forward to 50 to add 10 more.