Yep, today is my birthday. Last year, when I turned 40, I made a list of "40 Good Things About Being 40". This year, I'm going to list 41 things I've learned in my life. Since I sometimes lack the "smart gene", I don't always follow these like I should, but I try.
1. Time zips by more quickly with each passing year. Cliche, I know - but so true. Cherish it.
2. The above-mentioned "time-passing speed" is tripled for your children's lives. Boy, it seems like Marc was a baby last week and now he is 24...and a half!
3. At this point in my life, I may not be where I THOUGHT I would be, but I am exactly where God wants me to be.
4. Getting lost in a good book can cure almost any ill.
5. Since we can't choose our family, God has given us friends to fill the gaps. I feel so very blessed and humbled by the people He has chosen to place in my life.
6. The voice of a 3-year-old child can carry further than you ever imagined. Particularly when said girl was blessed with my MIL's "stage whisper". And especially when she is referring to something you would prefer to keep quiet - like the size of my bottom - or the hair in her Dad's nose. Yes, she is a keeper, isn't she?
7. Success in the world will never, ever make up for failure in my home.
8. Ironing is "instant gratification". You KNEW I'd have to throw in something about my iron!
9. Cherish your parents. No matter how crazy they make you, you will miss them when they are gone.
10. Wear sunscreen (I am terrible at this one).
11. Exercise - especially as you get older. I am actually doing quite well with this right now and I feel so much better than I did.
12. Clean your kitchen before you go to bed. Your morning will be so much more pleasant.
13. No matter how bad your childhood, you are still responsible for your behavior as an adult. Suck it up. Move on. Get over it. And enjoy your life.
14. Failure in your past doesn't automatically mean failure in your future. You CAN change and learn to make better decisions. Do it!
15. A wonderful smelling shower gel and lotion can create instant happiness.
16. Smile and be pleasant to those waiting on you in stores, banks, etc. They deal with cranky people all day long and your smile may be the only one they receive that day. You literally have the power to make their bad day turn around. Truly.
17. If you know it, call the above-mentioned people by their names. They usually wear nametags and the sound of one's name is music to his/her ears.
18. Rudeness gets you nowhere. ever.
19. Take time each day to be grateful. We have been given so very much in life. Appreciate it.
20. If your hobbies cause you stress, they aren't hobbies. Have something that you do just for the enjoyment of it - and for no other reason.
21. Marry your best friend.
22. Everybody needs a little time away.... (Yes, the song says it best).
23. Focus on your spouse as much as (if not more than) you do your children. When the children are all grown up and move out, it'll just be the two of you left at home together.
24. Pedicures can change your life.
25. The best bonding experiences in life are those that take place while travelling.
26. Your children aren't perfect, don't expect them to be.
27. Your children will NOT learn from your mistakes. They need to make their own. And they will.
28. If you catch someone lying to others, they are probably lying to you as well.
29. The same can be said of gossip.
30. Green-Tea Frappuccinos can cure almost any problem.
31. Tell your family and friends that you love them. When they are gone, you will wish you had done this far more often.
32. If someone is dying, let him/her know what is happening. This person may have something important to say and may not realize they won't have time to do so later. This is difficult, but if you fail to do this, you will always feel that there were things that were left unsaid.
33. Don't blame your problems on others. Take responsibility for your own "junk".
35. Life isn't about "things", it is about relationships.
36. Take the time to nurture your friendships.
37. Try to help others in need. You will get far more out of it than they do, believe me.
38. Make it a point to laugh - really laugh - often. Listen to your children, they do this well.
39. Compliment others. We all need to hear that we are doing a good job.
40. Try to be understanding of other people's faults. You aren't perfect. Neither are they. Just accept people as they are.
41. If you guard your heart in order to avoid pain, you will also miss out on the joy. True happiness comes from allowing yourself to truly love and be loved.
Have a blessed day.