Yesterday I turned 50. I had a great party with family and friends, and I have a bucket list I am slowly filling. What I am focusing on now is a little more important; it holds some substance and some life lessons. Maybe one or two of them will hold true for you; maybe not. But I am such a believer in sharing and learning from one another that I want to hope this may offer one person the moment of feeling not alone. I also want to have it written so that I can use it as a tool to reflect on when I need it. Here goes, in no particular order.
Old is a relative term and your spirit determines how old you feel.
Say no. Don’t waste time thinking or making excuses for things you don’t want to do.
Your time is important. Spend it where you want and when you want.
Buy the eye cream for $60 if you want it. You deserve it. Even if it doesn’t take the lines away, enjoy it!
Make time for you every day. Even if it is 10 minutes. You deserve it.
Know where your important papers are. Birth certificate, deeds, etc. You should know and have access to this.
Have a valid passport. You may decide to plan a spontaneous trip, and this will help!
Write down your favorite recipes. Make a book of the most special ones.
Along the same lines, write down some favorite moments. Reflecting on them will bring such joy.
Exercise. Yep, you can. Find something you like and do it. Yoga, walking, whatever it is — do it and keep it up.
Take a vitamin. Every day.
Smile. It really is contagious and it helps the wrinkles!
Ask your relatives to share stories about your ancestors. Write them down. History is cool, especially when it is tied to your life.
Toxic people will always be around. Remove yourself. You do not have to be cruel; there is power in choosing who you surround yourself with.
Friends change. In all phases of life. It is OK.
Laugh. Let it out and if you are loud or laughing alone, that is fine too!
Get the massage. Don’t wait. Make it 75 minutes and splurge.
Sheets don’t have to be folded. Seriously. They get put on the bed and stretched out; stuff them in the pillowcase after you wash them.
People will disappoint you. It will hurt, you will cry. There is always a lesson. Life is not fair, and it does not make sense, but we adjust, adapt, and move on. The pain will subside.
We make mistakes. Forgive yourself.
Go to the movies by yourself or even a meal out. It is so liberating. You can do it!
Say you are sorry. Admitting error is humbling. Humbling keeps you grateful.
Be grateful (see above).
Trust your gut. It knows. That voice is there for a reason.
Everyone will not like you. That is not your problem. Move on. It’s their loss.
Your house can be a little messy. Let some of it go.
Let the people who matter know how much you appreciate them.
Make the phone call. Don’t put it off. Hear the voice on the other end.
Dance like no one is watching as often as you can.
Stop at yellow lights. It is just safer; the extra few seconds won’t matter. Your life does.
Love your work. It’s never too late to start something new. Let your passion lead you.
Make your doctor appointments. Mammogram, physicals, all of them. Every year. Stay on top of this.
Make time for the friends that make you smile.
Hug. It is contagious, and when those arms embrace you, it feels so good.
Get those pictures out of the box and into an album. If you are all digital, get them on your computer. They need to be stored and saved in a safe place.
Make your lists. Use your lists. Don’t stress over the items you did not get done. Be proud of the ones you did.
Moderation is key. Wine, sun, coffee, cake, soda . . . it is all OK in moderation.
Read. Escape in a book as often as you can.
A movie or TV marathon is OK! Popcorn and pajamas would be a plus too!
Hold the door. Watch the smiles on the person you let in or out. It will be contagious.
Mail the card. Nothing is better than getting a hand-written note in the mail.
Cross off a bucket list item. Don’t have one? Make one.
If you don’t have a pet, get a pet. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a pet.
Buy the flowers, light the candle, use the “good china.” Why not? What are you waiting for?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions at the doctor, at the gym, at class. Your questions matter and someone else has the same one.
You will misjudge people. It’s OK. If they are in your life, it worked out. If they are not, it worked out.
Your mom was right about so much. If she is still around, tell her.
Your kids will realize you were right about so much. They may tell you, especially if you let them know you told your mom too!
Every day is such a gift. Find the presents. The sun, the rain, the butterflies, whatever it is, let it bring you a moment of peace.
You are worth it. Yes, you are! Do not ever take that for granted!
Extra tip: Wear a tiara whenever you want to! You’ve earned it!