Now that I have turned 40 years old, I am writing to reflect on 40 things I have learned in my lifetime. These thoughts are not in any order of importance nor are they meant to cover every aspect of life. I’m sure every adult has at least 40 of their own thoughts on life.
Life is short and long at the same time. Sometimes things seem to take forever while other times you want moments to last forever.
The older you are, the faster time goes by. As a child, it seemed like it took forever for your birthday and Christmas to come. Now, birthdays are a reminder to me that we will not live forever.
Life can change in an instant. Health challenges, car accidents, and other tragic events can drastically change your entire life.
You can either grow stronger or grow bitter after enduring the challenges of life. I choose to grow stronger each day. I am not referring to physical strength, but of growth in character and integrity as a person.
Our life is meant to be a blessing to others. Look around you. There is always someone less fortunate than you.
Sometimes your own time is the best gift you can give someone. Time with the ones you love and care for.
Take time to celebrate life. It is a gift to live every day in the PRESENT. We cannot change the past and if we only live for the future, we can’t enjoy today.
Surprise yourself or someone else in your life. Let someone know what they mean to you by giving them a hug or telling them in words specific things you appreciate about them.
As you spread love, it comes back to you. It may not come from the same person, but you will be rewarded for your kind words and deeds.
Be grateful for the little things every day. Thank God for things that we may take for granted. That the sun is shining (providing us heat) or that it is raining (watering our plants and farmers’ crops).
Keep a gratitude jar with scraps of paper noting one thing each day that you are grateful for or something you heard that made you smile. Read it aloud with family and friends on New Year’s Eve.
Life is an adventure. Routines can help you achieve great things, but even for people that like to plan out every minute of their lives, you need to challenge yourself to do something different every day. Drive the scenic route. Smile at a stranger on the street. Post something inspiring on social media.
Don’t be superstitious. Thirteen can be a good number. Maybe you were born on the 13th or the number 13 has another positive meaning for you. Don’t bother with reading horoscopes or visiting psychics. Life is what you make it.
In all things, lean on God. He’s got your back if you earnestly seek Him and ask Him to help you. He loves you and wants you to live the best life possible. He may allow challenges in your life, but He will never allow you to experience something greater than you can handle.
Appreciate what others have done for you. There is no way you would be where you are in life today where it not for the help of other people. Take time to thank them personally.
If you are struggling financially to make ends meet, don’t be afraid to let others know. Maybe some time in the future you can repay the favor to another person in need.
People need to know that you care. There are people you probably know that may suffer from anxiety and depression as well as those who may be dying or in the process of recovering from a major surgery or even a stroke. Reach out to them and listen. Your presence in their life may be the motivation they need to live another day.
It is impossible to know everything about anything. There is always something new to learn. Even the most accomplished people in life, continue to practice their gifts. Surgeons learn new procedures and artists learn new techniques. You can always grow in your abilities to do something–even in areas where you are considered an expert!
Everyone has their own opinions about a variety of issues. Be less concerned about being “right” and be more concerned with how you treat others. Kindness goes a long way.
Be a good sport when you lose at something. This doesn’t necessarily have to be something athletic. Whenever someone does something better than you, be thankful that they proved it possible to achieve. There will always be people more talented than us. What matters more is your character than your abilities.
Be a good sport when you win at something. Recognize others for their achievements and thank them for participating. You may be a role model or mentor to them. It is important to help make other people feel important.
People tend to respect those that show them respect. Every person deserves respect. Wealth, prestige, and fame are what the world values. I believe it is more important to value someone for their character.
Your character is who you are when you think no one is looking. If you do and say what you do only to impress others, in time it will become obvious that is your motivation. However, if you are truly being YOU, then you may inspire those around you.
Look after those who cannot defend themselves. Abuse (in all its forms) of other humans and abuse of animals must be stopped. The sick and elderly also need looking after. How you treat others reflects on who you are as a person.
People can change. It is possible for people to improve their character and their life habits. Be open to giving someone another chance.
Look for others around you that could benefit from your wisdom. Even young people know things that older people may not.
Eat things that will fuel your body to function at its best. The old saying is “garbage in, garbage out.” I gave up the sugary (but oh so tasty) Chic-Fil-A frosted coffees to make my own healthy protein shakes at home.
Exercise regularly. I need to do more than just walk my dog outside. It may help for me to get an accountability partner to discuss my health and fitness goals. I do know that working with weights helps build muscle tone and burn fat. I think the more consistently I do something like exercise, the easier it will be for me to make it a good life habit.
Write down your goals in life. Break them into smaller steps (a daily to-do list) that you can work on each day. They say that those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
Allow yourself to have fun. Sometimes we can be so goal-oriented that we don’t reserve a little time each day to do something we enjoy. For me, this includes spending time with family, watching movies, reading, and solving crossword puzzles.
Volunteer some of your time each week to help a person or a cause. This gives your life more purpose. You are contributing to something you feel is worthy of your time. You are using your unique skill set (there is only one person exactly like you) to achieve things.
It is easier to keep things clean than to have things become messy all over again. For example, I don’t keep many things in my car so that my car stays clean. However, I need more discipline when it comes to my house. I love how I feel when I just finished organizing a closet!
Be your own person. Don’t try to impress others by being someone other than yourself. Be authentic to who you are!
Always be considerate of others around you. You may not know everything they are going through. Some people don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal challenges with others and they may even keep it bottled up inside. If someone (in your opinion) overreacts to something, there may be more to the story. Be there to listen, but don’t force them to tell you everything on their mind.
Not everyone is confident in their abilities to do specific things. There are plenty of things I’m not yet confident in my abilities to do. I have spoken on a few webinars, but I don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of others who can see me as I am speaking. With the webinars I’ve done, no one could look at me. However, if you stuck me in a room full of people looking at me, I would be more nervous. Even people who appear confident may be faking it. Fake it until you make it!
Do your best to avoid negativity. Speak only positive words! Replace “I can’t” with “I can”! Swap “I don’t know how we will get this done” to “I know we will get this done.” I don’t mean for you to be unrealistic, but belief in yourself and other people goes a long way towards achieving great things.
Take deep breaths and five-minute breaks throughout your day. Those who work nonstop are LESS productive than those who take breaks. It is more effective to study in twenty-minute bursts followed by ten-minute breaks than it is to study without taking a break. Your brain and your body need time to accomplish what you are learning and doing.
Better to eat and stay hydrated throughout your day than to eat one big meal each day especially late at night. Your metabolism does not need the shock!
Do a little bit each day towards your specific and measurable goals. Don’t wait until the last minute to do something. That just makes it tougher on yourself (and probably the people around you).
How much time any of us has is unknown. People are more important than money or things. Be loving and generous towards others. Make the most of every day!