this much i know: life lessons for a 41st birthday
So I had a birthday. I turned 41.
You know those lists of lessons some bloggers will do to commemorate such an occasion? I thought I’d take a crack at it. I give you tidbits I have gleaned from my time on this planet. I’m not saying they are particularly original, pithy or wise. But hey. They’re what I know.
1. If you don’t have any sense of humor whatsoever, there’s probably no hope for you.
2. Self-esteem comes hand in hand with self-discovery.
3. You don’t know who you are until you know what you can do.
(Thank you Sir Ken Robinson.)
4. If you can’t change the situation, you should maybe change yourself.
5. Sometimes the only thing you can do with the house that Jack built is to burn it down and build your own. click to tweet
6. Inspiration requires the ability to shift perspective and see things from different vantage points.
7. We find what we look for. So be careful what you look for.
8. If it’s unusable, untimely, hypothetical or distracting, it is too much information and you should preserve that mental bandwidth for something else. (Thank you Shawn Anchor.)
9. Sunscreen is key.
10. Broccili tastes better with a little bit of lemon juice on it.
11. It’s possible to change other people, but only through creating a shared and positive reality that encourages them to flourish.
12. It’s not about the power of control. It’s about the power to inspire.
13. Information now belongs to the people. But the future belongs to those who provide insight, context and meaning. click to tweet
14. Rabbit fur sheds like a mofo.
15. You can remove a red wine stain by applying white wine to it, blotting it, then treating it with the carpet or fabric cleaner of your choice.
16. A successful relationship is one that gives both people room to flourish.
17. The decisions we make out of fear are usually the decisions we regret.
18. When you’re frustrated by a problem that involves complex thinking, you need to turn it over to your subconscious by thinking about something else.
19. A soulmate is a person who forces you to stretch and grow. This could be a romantic partner, a child, a close friend – or an adversary.
20. One of the first steps to taking back your power is to stop seeing yourself through the eyes of any person or group who treats you as less-than.
21. The same originality that caused kids to pick on you when you were a youngster, serves to your advantage when you’re an adult.
22. Being in crisis sucks, but it also gives you a valuable opportunity to reshape your life, in a way you never would have done when you were in your normal zone.
23. Whatever you want to grow in your life: identify it, put more of your attention on it, and find some way to log and measure whatever actions lead to more of it.
24. Less is more. But every once in a while, more is more.
25. If it hurts inside, if you are crying too much or too often? It isn’t love, no matter what your partner tells you.
26. Things that money can’t buy: Purpose. Empathy. Intimacy. Personal integrity.
Self-knowledge. Self-esteem. Gut instincts. Curiosity. Warmth. Taste. Mastery. Respect. Joie de vivre. Sexual, emotional and intellectual chemistry. Charisma. Compassion. Talent. Balls. Ladyballs. Vision. A great work ethic. Happiness. Love. Someone to do cardio for you.
27. Our bodies and minds, our bodyminds, were evolved to walk twenty miles a day across the savannahs. There’s a connection between heart health and brain health. Regular exercise lowers both the rate of cognitive decline and your chances of getting Alzheimer’s.
28. Two of the best things you can do to keep your brain sharp and fit as you get older: 1) Learn to read and play music. 2) Learn a new language.
29. When you think of the qualities you want in a life partner, make sure you put “supportive” very high on the list, especially if you’re a woman with creative or professional ambitions.
30. If you don’t want to get burdened with the lion’s share of housework and childcare, make sure your income is, and stays, equal to or higher than the income of your partner.
31. When someone calls you selfish, it’s often because you’re inconveniencing them in some way or refusing to fall along with their agenda. If maintaining healthy boundaries, honoring deep-seated needs and yearnings and looking out for your own interests makes you “selfish”, it might be time to rethink the word and the impact it has on you.
32. With certain kinds of people, it’s not a communication problem, it’s a personality problem (and they will only use “communication” to spin you deeper into their web). The best way to deal with them is to refuse to deal with them.
33. It is never too late to reinvent yourself, which is about becoming more of who you already are.
34. If you want to feel good about yourself and your life, setting an authentic and meaningful goal, and making steady progress toward it, beats a new pair of shoes any day of the week…
35. …although gorgeous footwear is still pretty awesome.
36. Pathfinders and visionaries are the explorers of culture: they go over the line, and down all the wrong roads, to bring back their hardwon wisdom for the rest of us. If you recognize yourself as one of them, wear your scars with pride, and don’t beat yourself up for your fuckups. They are the price of an interesting life.