10 Lessons Learned by a Quinquagenarian
Today is my birthday, and I am going to enjoy it!
About 6 years ago, I decided that I really didn’t like birthdays anymore. In fact, I was so mad about my birthday that I told those closest to me that I didn’t want anymore birthday celebrations. While they were trying to show me how much I was loved on my special day, I was throwing their love right back in their face all over a number.
I look back at that moment now and wish I could boot that girl right in the butt.
What an idiot!
Since turning 50 a few years ago, it seems I am doing a lot more looking back at my life. Although the past can’t be replayed, it’s really easy to get sucked into feelings of regret. But we all mess up, and even though I screwed up my fair share of things through my time on this earth so far, it could’ve been worse.
Rather than bore you with the skeletons piled up in my closet, even though you’d probably like to take a peek in there just to see how human I am, I’m going to focus on the lessons I’ve learned in hopes that this post helps someone else in this crazy life.
So let’s get started…
10 lessons from a Quinquagenarian.
That's me! A fifty-some-year-old person.
Thinking back to my childhood, I see the kind of little girl I was is still here. An eager, excited, somewhat devilish child who could get her heart stomped a little too easily.
New experiences were always good as a child, and when my best girlfriend and I got caught up to our elbows in the peanut butter and jelly jars, tasting and smearing goo all over the place, it was FUN! And well worth the spanking.
Lesson 1: Always try new things!
When I was about 4 years old, I colored my bedroom walls with a box of crayons. I remember imagining myself being a fabulous artist when I grew up, and since the plain, dry-walled walls were going to be painted soon anyway, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to fill that huge canvas with beautiful colors. Again, it was a wonderful, freeing kind of experience and well worth the spanking.
Lesson 2: Let your gut guide you.
When I got my first dog life was great! But being responsible for little Sam was a bigger job than I ever expected. When he got tired of playing one day and went to lie down, I paid no mind. Not until the car was started and my little pup got crushed did I suddenly realize life and death was real. It was my fault Sam died a horrible and painful death.
Lesson 3: Those you love will die someday, so always watch out for them and don’t take anyone for granted.
My adolescent years were lessons in figuring people out. I learned that you that can’t always trust people, and realized that some people are meaner and more devious than they portray in public. Being a kid, I was shocked and powerless to do anything about it, so learned to trust myself to know a bad situation when I saw one before trusting that others wouldn’t hurt me.
Lesson 4: Be careful whom you trust.
I was always worried about what other people thought of me. I always tried to please everyone else regardless of the cost to myself. I avoided confrontation and always took people’s abuse.
I wish I would have learned to respect myself sooner in life instead of letting people walk all over me, take advantage, or use me as a beating doll to feel better about themselves. It wreaked havoc on what little self-esteem I had.
Lesson 5: Don’t allow others treat you like less than a person.
As a young woman, I had no career path in mind, and though I still played around with being an artist, it never really panned out. What I have discovered since is that you can’t get anywhere in life without failure. It’s the failures that help you grow and discover where your strengths lie.
I wish I could have realized at a much younger age how much more I was capable of in life. I was such a chicken shit as a younger woman. If I would have taken more chances in life and not have been so scared to try big things, I would have been happier with myself. I guess that’s why I’m trying more things now… before I run out of time.
Lesson 6: You can accomplish more than you imagine. Don’t be scared to try!
I’m so thankful I decided to have children. Even though I’m not the greatest mom and made all kinds of mistakes, I sure do love my kids, and I’m so very proud of them both!
Lesson 7: Take extra care with your kids. You won’t realize how much you love them and want to see them all the time until they’re all grown up and moved out.
As you carry on with your adult life, you may get a bit of an attitude about your parents. Maybe you think that they are always telling you what to do, or that they don’t think you know how to do anything right.
As a parent, I now understand the grief I may have given my own parents, and realize now that NO MATTER WHAT… if mom and dad are harping on you, it’s because they love and care about you more than anyone else in the entire world ever will! And when your parent(s) aren’t there anymore, you’re going to miss them more than you will ever realize.
Lesson 7: If you have parents who love you, don’t take them for granted. Love them back with all your heart.
Somewhere along the way I must have decided that in order to be truly happy, I would need to accomplish a great many things, and the way my life was turning out, I wasn’t accomplishing shit!
It took aging to realize that accomplishing great things takes time, and even though accomplishments have made me happy, it has been the simple things in life that have filled my life with the happiest memories.
Blowing up the volcano on the ceiling in our kitchen while home schooling the kids, snowmobiling through the woods and building a bonfire in a pine grove, watching the dogs jump off the dock to swim, playing cards with family and friends, enjoying the sunrise with my husband… all such simple pleasures that I think back to with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.
Lesson 8: Take joy in simple pleasures. They’re easier to come by, and make every moment in life worth living for.
I didn’t realize how much I would depend on my youth, but my physical self back in the day has been sorely missed. Unless I stay after myself by keeping fit, it’s only going to get worse.
Being one who could never wait for help, I realized too late that I SHOULD HAVE WAITED FOR HELP! A few surgeries later, and I’m still figuring this out the hard way.
Lesson 9: Take good care of yourself so you can enjoy your later years with less pain.
Growing up poor, I learned to keep everything I had for myself because I didn’t have much. Fighting with my brothers over the last cookie in the jar also helped cultivate a selfishness that I carried with me as I grew into adulthood.
It wasn’t until reaching a point of having some excess that I realized the error in my ways. Being able to help someone who needs it is such a good feeling. But seeing others that have nothing go out of their way to help others is a lesson in the kind of person I would rather be.
Lesson 10: You will feel better about yourself if you help others whenever you can.
In closing, it’s not about doing the opposite of all these lessons. It’s about finding a happy medium along the way so you can:
Keep trying new things.
Keep trusting your gut.
Always love and appreciate everyone in your life.
Still be able to trust.
Have the courage to walk away from someone who mistreats you.
Cherish your kids.
Love your parents and try not to take them for granted.
Enjoy simple pleasure.
Take good care of yourself.
Help people in need.
My birthday wish this year is for you, dear reader…
May you learn quickly from life’s lessons, live smartly & without fear, and live each moment you have left with the wonder and excitement of your childhood self.
Thanks so much for reading!
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