Birthdays have a way of making us reflect on our lives – our highs and our lows, our triumphs and our failures. I don’t know why, but this particular birthday has my reminiscent brain in overdrive. And so, I’ve decided to share with you 33 of the life lessons I’ve learned in my long short 33 years.
1. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I learned this when my granddaddy passed away a couple years ago. I was devastated. He was supposed to live forever.
2. Good credit is important. Really, people – Trust me. I learned this the hard way, after poor decisions when I was a teenager and after a bad divorce.
3. Say “I love you” every time you think it. Everyone needs to hear it.
4. Kids really do grow up way too fast. My hubby has to remind me that our youngest is almost ten already and that I’m not 20 anymore.
5. Kiss your kids while they still let you. Trust me – there will come a day – far too soon – when they won’t want to be anywhere remotely near you. It’s heartbreaking, really.
6. Your life doesn’t revolve around your children. I’ve learned – and am still learning – that we actually have lives beyond our children. We can’t hide behind them forever.
7. Be careful what you say. Words can’t be taken back. Neither can the pain they cause.
8. Keep your word. Doing what you say you’ll do is important. It shows our integrity.
9. Our real character is who we are when no one is looking. If you have to look around to see who may be watching, you probably shouldn’t do it.
10. God is real. I’d rather live as if there is a God and find out there isn’t than live as if there isn’t and find out later that there is.
11. Stand up for what you believe. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs. Just be respectful in doing so.
12. Love. Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye with someone, love him anyway. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13:13
13. Speak with your actions. The old phrase, “Actions speak louder than words” is true. I’ve learned the hard way that it doesn’t matter what we say if our actions don’t match it.
14. Girls will always need their moms. There’s still no one who can make me feel better when I’m sick than my mom. There’s nothing like having my head in her lap while she plays with my hair.
15. Your spouse should be your best friend. Remember how your friendship was way back when you fell in love. Don’t let anyone else have that role.
16. Love yourself. There will never be any human who can love you enough to make you love yourself. You’re worth it.
17. Junk food is good every once in a while. Don’t starve yourself. A few brownies won’t kill you. And they may keep you from killing someone else…
18. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I guarantee that no one else has noticed that extra pound you gained. Or that zit on your chin.
19. Beauty on the inside is what matters. It doesn’t matter if you’re gorgeous on the outside if your heart doesn’t match. God don’t like ugly. And neither does the average person.
20. Patience really is a virtue. It’s also what keeps our blood pressure down. I’m still working on this one, but I’m getting better.
21. It’s hard work to look good. All of the shoes that make our legs look the best are the ones that make our feet feel like they’re going to fall off.
22. Dance like no one’s watching. There’s no stress reliever as good as belting out your favorite song and letting loose in your car when you’re stuck in traffic!
23. Hold hands. Your significant other will know you love him/her without your ever having to say a word.
24. Mail cards. There’s nothing like receiving a good old-fashioned handwritten greeting card in the mailbox.
25. Learn the Electric Slide. Every party or event you will ever attend will play that song at least once. And you certainly don’t want to be the only one watching from the sidelines.
26. Memorize a few corny jokes. Everyone loves a good “bad” joke every now and then! ~How did the hamburger introduce his girlfriend? – – – Meet Patty!~ [Ba-dum ching!]
27. Stay in touch with your friends. Good and real friends are hard to come by. Even in spite of our busy and hectic lives, it’s so important to send a text or card every now and then.
28. Say “please” and “thank you.” Common courtesies are becoming more and more rare. Don’t be a jerk.
29. Read books. Nothing opens the gateways to our imaginations like a good book.
30. Keep a list of the movies you’ve watched. It really sucks when you’re halfway through a movie before you realize you’ve already seen it.
31. We are all equal. God loves us all so much more than we can wrap our minds around. If He does, then who are we to treat someone as inferior?
32. Hug. Nothing says, “Everything is going to be okay” quite like a good hug does.
33. Laugh. It really is the best medicine.
*Bonus: Forgive. Do it for yourself, if for no other reason. It’s liberating. I know from experience.
Are there any life lessons you’ve learned as you’ve gotten older? Any advice for others?