As I approach my 50th birthday, I have been doing a lot of thinking and making a lot of lists. I’ve made “bucket lists”, “to-do lists” and “already done lists”. Just the other day, I thought of another list: “things I want my kids to know”. I think it’s important to share bits of wisdom with our children—a sort of living legacy if you will—before they go out into the world. I may not know it all in my almost 50 years but, I do know this much:
1. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Yep, the Golden Rule never goes out of style.
2. Celebrate the little things. Because in the end, that’s what really matters.
3. Do what you love and the money will come. Don’t ever take a job for the money alone because you will forever be a slave to it. Follow your heart and your job will never feel like work.
4. Work hard. “The way you do anything is the way you do everything” means that you set your own standard of work from the get go so, be sure to give it your all.
5. Eat caviar. Or “be fancy” once in awhile.
6. Go to confession once in awhile. Nothing feels better than a clean slate.
7. Climb a mountain. The air really is cleaner up there!
8. Listen to country music.
9. Learn how to shoot a gun.
10. Remember where you came from. See #8 & #9.
11. Learn from your mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes just try not to make the same ones over and over. And over.
12. Travel while you have the chance.
13. Stay in school. Duh.
14. Remember whatever you post on the internet lives there forever!
15. Some good deeds go unpunished. Contrary to your father and mother’s favorite saying, it really is worthwhile to do good.
16. Don’t base your self worth on how many “likes” or “friends” you have.
17. Don’t call in sick unless you are. #smalltownproblems
18. Remember that true character is who you are when nobody is watching. (aka: Who you are when you’re not on social media!)
19. People will like you more if they think you like them. This really does work! If there is someone you would like to like you more, simply show an interest in them. Careful what you wish for though, because you will have a friend for life.
20. Do crosswords (and not just the Monday ones!) Strive to constantly sharpen your mind—be it puzzles, podcasts or a paradigm shift!!
21. Don’t forget to be awesome. Self explanatory, I hope.
22. Learn to run! Preferably before the age of 45!
23. Practice moderation. Preferably before your 50th bday!
24. Choose your mate wisely. Time only accentuates a person’s true character. Think about that.
25. Don’t sleep your life away. Yes, it’s true that the early bird gets the worm—or at least a better view of the sunrise!
26. If you get a chance to spend some time on a golf course, do it! The lessons you learn on a golf course will stay with you for life.
27. Take chances. Most of the things you will regret in this life, will be the things you DIDN’T do!
28. Always be kinder than you feel. You know the old adage “everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about” . . . well, it’s true!
29. Volunteer your time.
30. Excercise most days of the week.
31. Read your Bible.
32. Practice what you preach. No one likes a hypocrite or a poser. Be who you say you are and stand your ground.
33. Give something up. Nothing feels better than giving something up that will allow you more freedom or time or money. Try it!
34. Don’t keep track of wrongs. It will steal your joy.
35. Don’t hang out with buzzkills—or ‘hoodlums! ‘Nuff said.
36. Help those who cannot repay you. Remember: “The best excersise for your heart is reaching down to help someone up!”
37. Spend time with the very young and the very old.
38. Take care of yourself. You only get one body, treat it well.
39. Stay up and watch the sunrise.
40. Splurge once in awhile. On a bottle of wine, a new pair of shoes or a once in a lifetime trip!
41. Learn how to fish. See #10.
42. Grow something.
43. Always use spell check! And just remember you can always hit the edit button once you have misspelled something.
44. Don’t believe everything you read.
45. Have a favorite book.
46. Read a classic.
47. Listen to your gut.
48. Don’t just pray when you need something. Just like you don’t like it when a friend calls you only when he’s in trouble, neither does God!
49. Everyone deserves to be validated.
50. You can always go home. Preferably just to visit. But, know that the door is always open and your bed will always be unmade.