Things I’ve Learned in My Forty Years of Life

#1 I suck at being drunk. Especially at social gatherings. I do not have an off switch and quite often will stress myself out the next day about what I did or did not say or do.

#2 I am more of an introvert than an extrovert. I like small groups. Socializing too often exhausts me and I recharge when I’m by myself.

#3 Holding a grudge is time consuming and pointless. Not to mention heartbreaking. You could be losing a forever person. Someone who will still be there when the tough stuff is at its worst. So, extend that olive branch and if someone does it to you, accept it.

#4 Good friends are a gift. Try not to alienate them.

#5 Travel as often as you can. Even if it’s just a quick little side trip after work. It soothes the soul and makes the BS in life a little easier to deal with.

#6 Set goals for yourself. Even if they seem outrageous. No dream is ever too big or small. It’s our self doubt that gets in the way.

#7 Being a bit lost is a part of life. “Finding yourself” is a part of the path.

#8 Being a parent is the most difficult and rewarding job I’ve ever had. Even when I’ve felt lost, confused, broken, I can look at my kids and know I did at least two things right.

#9 Your life partner should be able to weather any storm with you. They should be your lover, best friend, and every day companion. What you give up for them, they should be willing to give up for you.

#10 Sex and physical touch can heal a damaged soul. A good snuggle can ease any hurt and make you feel you’re not alone.

#11 Never let a day go by without saying, “I love you”.

#12 Laugh as often as you can. Let it bring tears to your eyes and pain to your tummy from the joy of it.

#13 Allow yourself to cry. It does not make you weak or overly emotional. It makes you human.

#14 Don’t let the past control your future. This is the hardest lesson to learn. I’m still working on it.

#15 Don’t be afraid of what people may say or think about you. Worry about what “you” think about yourself. You need to be your own best friend and treat yourself with kindness.

#16 Cherish those who would drop what they’re doing to help you out. It is a rare gift and should not be taken for granted.

#17 Learn to say, “I’m sorry” and mean it. They are never just words to the person you say it to.

#18 Appreciate good drinking water. So many people in the world don’t have access to it.

#19 There is always someone out there having a worse day than you.

#20 Never judge a human by they’re cover. You can not judge a person by their appearance. Judge them by their actions and character and remember they’re human. We all make mistakes.

#21 Allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Even if it scares you. You would be amazed at how much our minds warp reality.

#22 Enjoy other cultures. Try their food. Listen to their music. You will find quite often that us Americans are the bassackwards ones.

#23 Dance, sing at the top of your lungs, and make sure to let a person know their fly is down. They may be embarrassed for a moment, but at least they didn’t walk around all day for others to see.

#24 Open the door for a person who may be struggling to do it on their own, offer your seat to your elders, and allow an old gentleman to flirt shamelessly while you’re ringing their purchase up. It may just be the highlight of their day.

#25 Get to know your grandparents. They are the key to your past and usually have fantastic stories to tell.

#26 Bow your head in prayer at a service, wedding, or funeral. Even if you are personally not a believer. It shows respect.

#27 If you see a sign for a Historical Marker, stop and check it out even if it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. You can say you once stood in its spot.

#28 Always take the backroads. Even the gravel ones.

#29 Go to as many concerts as you’re able to.

#30 Love, respect, and enjoy your parents. They brought you into this world with no instruction manual to help them. They made just as many mistakes as you and you’re still in this world to tell them, “thank you”.

Life can suck. Life is also a wonderful gift. I’ve made mistakes. Some I’ve learned from and some I continue to make even though the end result doesn’t seem to change. I’m human. I’m flawed, but I’m a good person. I love deeply. I stumble and falter. I say mean things from time to time, but it is never out of hate or maliciousness. I cry at sad things, happy things, and when I get angry. This does not make me weak. I suck at writing thank you letters and there is a good chance I’ll forget your birthday, anniversary, or any other big day. I haven’t even begun to achieve all of my goals or dreams, but as my Dad once told me, our dreams don’t go away, they mature and change as we grow. So, this list will continue to be added to over the next decade. It’s going to be rocky and miserable, and beautiful. Such is life.