When you’ve lived as long as I have, you discover you're not as smart, good, or informed as you once believed.
I have always made it my life's goal to be a learner, and most of what I've learned, I've learned the hard way.
Here's a humble suggestion: You don't have to wait to be 60 or 70 to learn the following things. (And you also don't have to learn everything the hard way.)
Ten things to ponder:
- I have realized that I can't "fix" anybody, and I am not responsible for the choices of others. The weight of the world isn't mine to carry or solve.
- I am learning not to be uncomfortable with or humiliated by my emotions. It's my emotions that make me human.
- I have figured out that if I must choose between being relational and being right—it's always best to choose the path of relationship. I don't need to be the guy who is so quick to correct people, even when I know they are wrong. Besides, in my journey, I have been wrong plenty of times. As someone once said, "Peace is more precious than perfection."
- My words matter more than I sometimes realize. I can build up or crush someone with what I choose to say. It's always best to find something good to point out. And as my mama used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything."
- I want to be kind and considerate even when no one is watching. It feels good to do the thoughtful thing without expecting an atta-boy.
- I enjoy leaving the food server a big tip even if they didn't serve me all that well or the food was subpar. Blessing others is a privilege. A few more dollars out of my wallet won't break me, but it might make the day for someone else.
- I have stopped telling people, "You've already told me that…." It doesn't cost me anything to smile and pay attention as they recall a favorite memory. Listening is a great gift.
- I have done my best to love others and to love God. Now I know it's okay to love myself too. A huge part of that is allowing myself the freedom to be happy.
- I have learned to be at peace with messiness—mine, and others. Life's too short to get upset about the teriyaki sauce on my shirt, the grandkids' toys left on the living room floor, or the shortcomings of others. I am often far from perfect and a mess.
- I have learned to live each day as if it's the last because it might be.
Happy New Year, and many blessings in the year to come to you and yours.