January 12, 2020

52 Lessons for 52 Years

Last Saturday afternoon I sat in my reclining love seat, turned on the electric blanket, and placed a heating pad against my back to help relieve the pain from a spectacular back spasm the day before. Then I turned on the TV to the channel that plays Crackling Fireplace. Suitably settled, I started thinking about what I could write for today’s blog post.

Lately I’ve been challenged with my writing. I’m in a lull, short on ideas, and lacking enthusiasm. I’m certain this is temporary, and I choose to take comfort in the wisdom of Ecclesiastes: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” So even though I’ve drained the inspiration bank, I’ll keep the faith and carry on.

Because I couldn’t seem to gather my thoughts enough to write a coherent sentence let alone a thoughtful post on any specific topic, I decided it might be a good week to post a list. I’ve done this before when I’m short on ideas. As I stared at Crackling Fireplace, mesmerized by the flames, it hit me. I’d write a list of 52 lessons that I’ve learned in 52 years. If you haven’t guessed already, that’s how old I am.

Now in 52 years, I’ve learned a lot more than 52 lessons; however, I needed a convenient way to cut things off, and this was the best I could think of. So, without further ado, here’s my list.

1. No situation is permanent.
2. Just because you think or believe something doesn’t mean it’s true.
3. There is a life force in everything.
4. Expectations can make you miserable.
5. Don’t worry so much about what other people think.
6. On the previous note, people aren’t really thinking that much about you.
7. No one can look after you better than you can.
8. All fears ultimately boil down to a fear of death.
9. Nurture your friendships.
10. Change yourself before you try to change the world.
11. To expand on #10, you can’t change anyone but yourself.
12. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is really good especially if you add extra chocolate chips.
13. Beliefs shape perceptions.
14. It’s important to get vaccinated.
15. Diets don’t work.
16. We’d all be better off if we took more time to simply stare out the window.
17. Accept help when you need it.
18. Pets make life better.
19. Choose a life partner wisely.
20. Drop the drama.
21. Move on.
22. Give second chances. Be careful about giving more than that.
23. Most problems won’t matter on your death bed.
24. Put your phone away when you’re having a conversation.
25. Keep things simple.
26. Listen to music.
27. Read books.
28. Remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you.
29. You will not get through life without disappointments.
30. Life is full of bad times.
31. Life is full of good times.
32. Even if your childhood was rotten, you’re in charge now.
33. Say no.
34. Say yes.
35. Find some kind of exercise you like and do it.
36. There’s rarely a right time for anything.
37. Nobody owes you anything.
38. Eat one cookie then give the other eleven away.
39. Be weird.
40. Breathe.
41. Spend less than you earn.
42. Surround yourself with positive influences.
43. Practice beginner’s mind.
44. Small things add up to big things.
45. Everyone is fighting a battle.
46. Experts don’t know it all.
47. Go for a walk.
48. Talk less; listen more.
49. Take a risk.
50. Donate your time or money.
51. Be careful about what you assume.
52. Know that any day could be your last and live accordingly.

Even though it took me a while to come up with this list, I’m glad I did because a lot of these individual lessons could stand on their own as blog posts. Ha, without knowing it, I was brainstorming! That said, you don’t have to wait for future blog posts to choose a few lessons from this list and start reflecting on them. After that, start acting on them. By the time I catch up with a blog post, you’ll be able to say, “Thanks, Heather, but I’m already ahead of you on that one.” I’d be happy to hear that.