So – I am less than three weeks from my 60th Birthday. Of course, on my Birthday last year Susan informed me that I was now in my 60th year, so I’ve had a year to prepare! Still – I’m not really sure I am prepared…
Birthdays have never bothered me – all 59 of them. They come and they go, it’s just pretty much another day on the calendar – but… 60 – it has me a little pensive. Perhaps it’s because all these goodies have started to come in the mail for me – Things I obviously need when turning 60. Medicare, AARP, Hearing Aids, Cremation information, Burial Plots, Life Insurance… Or perhaps it’s because I am aware that more of my life is behind me than in front of me.
Whatever it is, I’ve been musing about what it is I know for sure at 60. You know life lessons I’ve learned through the muck and mire that has sometimes been my life so far.
Here – in no particular order – are things I would tell my Grandchildren – if they ever asked me what it is I’ve learned about life in my 60 years.
- People are not always who or what you want them to be. If you think you have to change them – you don’t need them. Walk away.
- Don’t ever start smoking – then you won’t ever have to quit.
- Read Henry David Thoreau’s essay entitled: Civil Disobedience
- Follow your passion – don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t; don’t let anyone tell you it’s stupid or worthless. Do what you love.
- Spend time by the water; be it the ocean or a lake or a creek. Just put your feet in the water and understand that you don’t ever put your feet in the same water twice. It’s always new, always changing, just like your life should be.
- Don’t settle – for anything or anyone.
- Work for the common good – remember that we really are our brothers keepers – no matter what the Republicans say – we really are responsible for one another.
- Do not be forced into any sort of religion. Believe what you must to get you through the days and nights of your life. Know that there are many religions in the world – they all matter and they all have their place. Not one of them is more important than any other of them.
- Know that all people matter – all people everywhere. All colors, all genders, all races, all religions – all people – everywhere. We all have a purpose on this earth.
- Know that the Double Stuffed Oreo trumps all other cookies ever made.
- Parents are not perfect – and sometimes they don’t always know what is best for you. Follow your heart.
- Understand that your family may not always be loving and kind or accepting. It’s okay to not want to be a part of something that is negative and hateful and destroys who you are. Carry no ill-will – just walk away.
- Rosemary Clooney is one of the best singers who ever lived… Google her – and then listen to her sing the song – “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
- Don’t ever let anyone take away your individuality – When you give that away – you give away your life – no one is worth that – no one.
- Don’t ever think you can’t live alone. It may not be your choice – but don’t ever believe you must have someone in your life to survive. Sometimes living with yourself will teach you more lessons than you could ever imagine.
- Never stay in a relationship because it’s convenient or because you feel trapped. There is always a way out – always. This is tied in to the never settle piece of advice.
- Watch the movie “Rhinestone” and know it was the worst movie your Grandma ever saw.
- Read and learn your American History. Please understand that you must know where you’ve come from in order to know where it is you’re going.
- Don’t be so busy with your life that you miss it. By this I mean – don’t be so busy trying to get things that you don’t take the time to enjoy what you already have.
- Don’t let your family dictate who you are. You don’t have to fit into any mold – you simply are who you are.
- Travel the world. When you stand by the Eiffel Tower – know that your Grandma’s cried with joy when they were standing there for the first time.
- Knows that dreams can come true – Read the lines above about the Eiffel Tower!
- Don’t listen to all the Irish malarkey that Grandma Susan will fill your head with. leprechaun’s are not good little men – they are evil little men and there is no gold at the end of the rainbow.
- Don’t ever expect someone to make your life complete. You are the only one who can complete your life.
- Never, ever give up on you. Never ever stop growing and changing and learning.
- Know that your life can be over in the blink of an eye. Be responsible and cautious and don’t do foolish things that can endanger your life or the life of others.
- Don’t let your fears prevent you from living your life. Nothing is so bad that it can’t be overcome.
- Don’t spend your time saying: “If only I… “ Spend your time saying: “When I did…”
- Know that for as long as I’m alive – there will be a place for you to go – for food, a hug, a little spending money if you need it, someone to listen, and lots and lots of love – always.
Wonder what else I’ll know by the time I’m 80?