40 Years of Lessons Learned

When you reach a certain point in your life and you do some simple math, you realize that you’ve already lived a good portion of your life. While some people may think that’s a morbid and depressing way to look at things, I actually find it inspiring and think of it as one of those teachable moments in life. It’s one of those moments that makes you to look at things from a different perspective.

Now that I’ve reached a milestone birthday and have done some living, I’ve come to a few conclusions…

If I wake up each morning and am healthy, I’m better off than a lot of people out there. I know of so many people, younger and older than myself, who can’t say that when they wake up. They deal with chronic and life-threatening conditions each day. To not have to deal with that is a blessing within itself.

I’d rather have my children screaming and jumping because there are so many sick kids in the world who can’t enjoy being a kid. When you’re a kid you don’t think you can ever get seriously sick, but when you’re an adult you know of so many kids who have health problems they should never have to deal with. As much as my head may throb because my kids are so noisy, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s not the quantity of friends, but the quality. As a teenager, and even years after, I always thought having a lot of friends was so important. But why? Did it make me feel better about myself? Maybe. But, as I get older, I realize that having a few close friends I can count on using one hand is far better than a number that I need all my fingers and toes to count.

It’s okay to say no to people. I’ve always been a people pleaser, saying yes to just about everything and everyone. The truth is, as I get older, I don’t have the time or mindset to keep saying yes. Sometimes the best weekends are those where I can just stay home with my family and shut out the entire world. It’s that peace that’s priceless and worth saying no to invitations.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Too many times I’ve just nodded and smiled, accepting whatever was told to me even when I questioned it on the inside. Fast forward a decade or so and I’m not afraid to speak up. This goes for just about anything! If I don’t like it, I’ll tell you. If I have a far-fetched idea, I’m not afraid to mention it because you just never know what can happen. The same goes for asking for things. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

The time is now, don’t wait. When you have kids you begin to realize just how fast time goes. This realization brings you to a point where you don’t want to wait to do things. It may sound morbid, but you just never know what tomorrow will bring. Why wait?

Know your worth & don’t be afraid of it. When I ventured out into the world of freelance writing, it was all new to me. I wasn’t sure what to charge, what to look for, etc. Over time, I’ve gotten to know what I want to write about, what my worth is and to not be afraid to ask for what I think I deserve. Sometimes that’s gone well, other times it hasn’t. But, in the end, it’s all been alright and a learning experience, if nothing else.

Let it go and “Let Jesus take the wheel”. Just like the song goes, sometimes you have to let things go and let someone higher than yourself figure things out. No matter how hard you plan or try to get things to work in your favor, sometimes you just can’t make it work. When you have the mentality to just let things go, they tend to play out in a way that works, even if it’s not how you envisioned it.

Enjoy life. I admit, I am a worrier. I worry about things that already happened, things that are happening, things that may happen, things that will never happen, etc. I’ve finally realized that all of that worrying is useless. While it’s not always easy, I’m trying to live more in the present and enjoy each day because tomorrow is not guaranteed, as much as we may think it is.

There you have it, my 40 years of lessons learned…and counting. What are some life lessons you’ve learned over the years? I’d love to know!