Fifty Things I’ve Learned About Life

May 12, 2015 at 2:27 am (Uncategorized)

Now that I’m in my seventies, I realize that I’ve learned many things through experience, some of which I wish I had known at an earlier age. That knowledge, had I acquired it sooner, would have helped to make my life more rewarding and more enjoyable, as well as strengthened my relationships. As a youth I learned much from my older relatives on both sides of the family. When I left for the army, it was my first real experience away from home. My drill sergeant became a sort of surrogate father. He taught a group of mostly nineteen and twenty year-olds not only how to be soldiers, but how to deal with life situations as well. And I continue to learn from friends and relatives to this day. The following, in no particular order, are Jim’s “life lessons”:

1. You can never go wrong by doing what you think is right.
2. Always have a good reason for everything you do.
3. Never take yourself too seriously.
4. Laugh a lot. Have a sense of humor. You’ll not only live longer, but you’ll be happier.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself for your mistakes. We all make lots of them. That’s how we learn.
6. Cherish sincere compliments. Ignore insults.
7. March to your own drummer. Going along with the crowd is frequently not a good idea. Recognize that the “m” in “masses” is often silent.
8. Always reach for the stars. You may never actually get one, but at least you won’t end up with a handful of mud.
9. Never live your life by what other people think.
10. Be thankful for family. They always have your best interests at heart.
11. Pay it forward. Help others as you would like to be helped in similar circumstances.
12. Always put your children’s needs before your own.
13. Never, ever give up on anything.
14. Don’t be lazy or cut corners. There’s always one more thing that you can do.
15. Never let anyone change your mind if you think that you’re right.
16. Always do your absolute best at everything. You’re just cheating yourself otherwise.
17. Use every resource to get a good education. It may not always help you, but it won’t hurt, and you can never lose it.
18. Never be ashamed to say, “I love you”.
19. Don’t retaliate against those who do you wrong. That’s why karma exists.
20. Some people are not going to like you no matter what. Don’t waste time trying to please them.
21. Try to accomplish something positive every day.
22. Your job may be important, but your family is more so. Be sure to spend plenty of quality time with them.
23. Don’t listen to those who say something can’t be done.
24. Take the time to appreciate the little things in life.
25. Spend a few moments every day looking closely at nature.
26. Be a dreamer. They’re the ones who create everything we have.
27. Love your country. It’s the greatest that ever existed. You are not required to love your government.
28. Do something to earn the privileges this country has provided you.
29. Respect everyone’s opinion, as long as they realize that it is not necessarily the law of the land.
30. If you don’t have any enemies, then you’ve probably never taken a stance on anything.
31. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. One day you may regret not having done so.
32. Always follow your heart, but bring your brain along.
33. Protect and be kind to all children. They are truly our future.
34. Surround yourself with good people. Cut ties with those who aren’t.
35. Teach yourself to become comfortable speaking with people of all statures.
36. Get enough exercise to stay in good physical condition, but don’t obsess over it.
37. Be a positive role model for your children and grandchildren.
38. Never compromise your values.
39. Be confident in yourself; look people straight in the eye. Never allow anyone to intimidate you.
40. When an opportunity presents itself, don’t hesitate. You may not get another chance.
41. Always treat others as you would like to be treated. You can tell a lot about a person by the way he acts toward a waitress.
42. Never be ashamed to show your emotions.
43. Hug and kiss your loved ones often. We never know when it will be the last time.
44. Set clearly defined goals and work toward them regularly.
45. Take steps to save for the future. It will come much more quickly than you expect.
46. Always have a Plan A and a Plan B. People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.
47. Treasure your spouse. He or she will still be by your side when the nest is empty.
48. Find friends who make you laugh.
49. Be quick to praise, slow to condemn.
50. Be willing to concede that your ideas are not always the best ones.

I’m sure I’ll think of more, but that’s for another day.

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