Typically, I write a post about the top twenty things I learned in the week. But today, since it's my birthday, I thought I would think about the top twenty things life has taught me over the past 40 years.
1. Each person has a purpose in this life. You are born for a reason. When you wake up, and put your arms above your head, and you don't feel a pine box above you - there is still work to be done. I believe God created me, and my job is to do his will.
2. The only person you can 100% depend on is yourself. You have got to be your own best friend. Take your own advice. Remember, we don't get any dress rehearsals. This is it. Make it count.
3. Money does NOT buy happiness. The relationships you have with other people are what makes life so sweet. At my poorest, I was happy. When I had more money, outside of having "things" - I was not as happy. Look for people who make you smile.
4. Without good health, you have nothing. Try to eat more veggies. Try to eat more fruit. Try to say no to refined sugar, flour, fast food, and processed food. Walk more. Dance more. Laugh more. Know your numbers. Maintain a healthy blood pressure, normal blood sugar level and cholesterol. Know your family history. It's that simple.
5. You have to always be learning. Never stop reading. Never stop questioning. Never stop dreaming. Those who do not read, do not learn. Those who do not travel, only see a blip of what the world has to offer.
6. Music is the perfect therapist. Listen. Enjoy. Be moved. Appreciate. Support local music.
7. Art, dance, theater, music, etc - this is the good stuff. If you can't appreciate or even try to open open your mind to culture, you are missing out on so much. Life is so much more interesting than you could ever imagine.
8. EVERYONE has something beautiful about them. Try to find that one thing in each person.
9. Practice compassion. Show empathy. Don't squander your riches. Help those who simply don't know how to help themselves. Teach them how to be self sufficient. Be a good example.
10. A home cooked meal can cure many ills.
11. It is important to tell people how much you appreciate them. Thank you and please and I'm sorry go a very long way. Don't be afraid to admit you messed up. Move on. Forgive. How people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours.
12. What goes around, comes around. You put good out there, and it will come back to you. You but negative energy out there - that, too, will come back.
13. I figured out just last year that when people are angry, hurtful or resentful toward you - don't worry. It's not necessarily anything you did - they have inner wars, and those wars are just spilling out onto you.
14. Realize that most anger comes from fear of the unknown. I typically do not like what I do not understand.
15. There are a few things that can never be taken away from you: Your education. Your natural born talent. Your relationship with God. Your purpose in life.
16. Coffee is a mood elevator. Thank God.
17. Be open to things that challenge you. Don't condemn someone else's beliefs. Yes, you can disagree. But don't hurt that person. Their life's path are not necessarily the same as yours.
18. You have ONE job when dealing with people - Love them.
19. Parenting is one of those things you NEED to know 100% that this is what you want to do. Don't feel bad if you opt out. The world needs more people who choose to devote time to making it a better place. Some people do that. Others create and raise better people. We all have a purpose.
20. Finally - with all of my flaws and lessons and experiences, I am okay. I turned out okay. Life is funny like that. I love who I became. I love the people in my life. I love my husband, very very very much. I love my parents and sister. I really love my niece. I love my friends. I love my job. Life.. these past 40.. are as it should be.