Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting Older - Life's Lessons

My birthday is this week, and I'm one year away from a big milestone.  It has me reflecting on the way I view life today versus when I was in my twenties.  Here's what getting older has taught me:

1)  Spend your time wisely. 

As bestselling author Anna Quindlen says, "It is so easy to exist instead of live.  Unless you know there is a clock ticking." 

Thankfully, I've never been at death's door; however, when I am on my deathbed, I don't think I'll wish I'd spent more time working or doing chores.  I have a feeling I'll wish I'd spent more time with my family and following my passions.  Ergo, the house I keep now is a hell of a lot messier than the house I kept in my twenties - and I can't blame it entirely on the kids.

2)  Follow your passion. 

I've always had stories in my head.  When I was in high school, my friends gave me a picture of the moon at an awards banquet.  They said it was because my mind was always off in outer space.  In truth, it was always off in story land.  It just never occurred to me until I was an adult with a family to take care of and bills to pay that I wanted to be a writer.

They say you regret more what you didn't do, than what you did do.  For me, I regret not following my passion earlier in life.  Now I spend my spare time with my family or writing.  Period.

3)  Nobody likes perfect people.

I used to think that if I were perfect, I would have more friends.  For anyone fighting this issue, PLEASE save yourself the heartache.  Being perfect makes it damn hard to relate to other people.  What I cherish most about my friends is that they are not perfect.  They struggle with the same issues and imperfections I do.  And I love them for it.

4)  This, too, shall pass.

I've had periods of my life where it was hard to get out of bed in the morning, where I didn't think I could go another minute, let alone another second carrying my burdens.  I pushed through, even when it was one step-drag step-drag at a time.  Eventually when I looked up, my load was lighter.

Just like runners who have to push through the pain to get the runner's high, push on and you will amaze yourself.   

5)  Spend more time with God, whatever you percieve Him to be.

I talk to God a lot more now than I did when I was younger.  Finding my spirituality has allowed me to be more loving and accepting of other people.  More tolerant.  We each have our own path to follow in life.  I want to meet Him knowing I traveled mine well, and that I helped others as best I could when our paths crossed.

I could go on about what I've learned, but those are the big ones right now.  What lessons have you learned?