The other day, I was out and about shopping for a remote car starter so I don’t have to spend the winter getting into a car so cold it makes the Pluto seem down right balmy. I was reading the particulars of a model when a salesman (read: teenage boy) asked me if I needed any help, and I did. I was wondering how far 3000 feet was in terms that my non-technical brain could comprehend, such as about three blocks, the length of a football field, from here to that 7-11. He looked at me square in the face said, “I don’t use feet like people from your generation. I learned the metric system.” I’m sure my eyebrows hit my hairline as I scoffed, “people from my generation.” But you know what? It’s true. I’m no longer a 20 or 30 something. I am from another generation than this kid. And you know what else? I’m gosh darn happy about it!
In the spirit of embracing my awesome age, I present to you my 8 life lessons that didn’t come with the box.
- Be present – John Lennon (and my dad) said it best, “Life if what happens while you are busy making other plans.” And this is so true. Living in the future of what might happen or what you might be or get, prevents your from living in the moment. And you know what, this is all we have – this exact moment. There is no future or past. This is it. Now, this is not to say don’t make plans. Do. Make many! It’s exciting and awesome to think about the great things you might do or get or be, but if you think you will be happier once you get there or get this or be that, you are not living in the present. Be punch drunk happy with your today! You don’t get a do over.
- Value friendships – The quality of your friendships is a reflection of you. If you have a battlefield of fallen friendships in the wake of your life, then you may want to look at your contribution to these fallen friendships. On the other hand, a lifetime of solid friendships says something about how you value and treat people. Maintaining friendships is hard, especially when our lives to start to involve jobs, marriages, kids, struggles, family, and so on. Valuing friendships means making an effort to keep the friendship active, which also means being understanding and empathetic to a friend’s situation. Not every friendship will last a lifetime. And that’s okay. Some people come into your life for a reason. It’s your job to see the value in that relationship and to understand when to gently let it go.
- Have a sense of humour – Be able to laugh at yourself and see the humour in the kookiness of our world. Taking yourself too seriously is dumb, and how can you possibly relate to the foibles of another human being if you can’t see these things in yourself. It makes your life much better to look at it with humour. Happy people laugh, a lot.
- Like your body and appearance – I spent many years thinking I was unattractive, criticizing bits and pieces of my face and body. What a waste of brain space. As I get older, I wish that I had appreciated my youthful looks and body. I can’t change the past, but I can change how I live today. Now, I look at myself and appreciate my lovely face as it gets older, and looks forward to the next how ever many years I have left, and I’m also grateful for my body that is a little fleshy, but has always been healthy, naturally strong and flexible and has gracefully weathered the partying abuse of my youth. Right now, I want you to go and look in the mirror and tell yourself how lovely you are and thank your body for being awesome!
- Tell your loved ones you love them – This one is simple: tell the people in your life that you love them. Every chance you get. Life can sometimes dish up a shit sandwich you don’t expect and rob you of the opportunity to say those three words to someone. Do it now.
- Don’t be a self-righteous, judgmental dick – Nothing tics me off more than self-righteous, judgmental snobbishness (in myself mostly). Looking your nose down at someone for not thinking like you or being interested in the same things you are is not coolio. Now, I’m not talking about fundamental moral or ethical differences (that’s a whole other post); I’m talking about the petty, shallow shit we get bogged down about. So what if someone loves pop music or gets off on romance novels or uses a Keurig or likes Kraft Peanut Butter or eats non-organic apples or eats only organic apples or has carpet in their house or believes in God or doesn’t give a shit about having a career or cheers for their favourite sports team like a crazed person or drives a big truck or eats at chain restaurants or still backcombs their hair or names their kid something stupid or lives in modest house or doesn’t want to travel or drinks cheap wine or whatever. Who give a shit? My take on this is live and let live, just as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone or cost me money. And it’s good to keep in mind that there’s is always going to someone who is smarter, better looking, more educated, richer, thinner, younger, more interesting than you, so let’s keep it in perspective.
- Someday Never Comes – Someday is elusive, and the slippery little bugger can get away easily. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to do that special something, it will never come. You have to make someday your today. Go now (after reading the post, of course) and do something today that you’ve been putting off.
- Enjoy the ride and don’t be ashamed of what makes you happy – Have big laughs, act like a goof, cry, be open to new things, take risks, spend money, ride your bike like a kid, have impromptu dance sessions, eat chips (crisps for your UKers), cuddle with your pets, love your friends and family, forgive, learn to juggle, walk in the sun or rain or snow, travel, be a homebody, be grateful everyday, talk to strangers, be empathetic, learn a language, embrace your imperfections, change, stay the same, read, climb mountains, knit, play with your kids, be creative, be scientific, eat without counting calories, watch movies you love, never look back in anger, always look forward with hope, be awesome, be modest, and remember the grass may be greener on the side, but who gives a shit. Your grass is mighty fine just the way it is!