50 Things I Know at 50

birthday cupcake with candles

When I was about to turn 30, I freaked out a little. Ridiculous, but true. Thirty seemed so no-excuses grown-up. Not that I was one to screw up and look for excuses—I was born sensible, responsible, and kind of old. I was mentally 30 in preschool, so why it bugged me when my body finally caught up, I don’t know. I just know that it did. A lot.

Forty was fine. No uneasiness, no worries. I was working at a job that I adored, was healthy, and the hubs and I were stealing away for little just-the-two-of-us weekends on a regular basis. All sorts of good.

Today, I’m officially 50. I have to say that I lovity-love-love being this age. I’m healthy, happy, and have a gaggle of the most beautiful and brilliant grandchildren who entertain me and keep me young. I enjoy every day and look to the future with joyful anticipation. Honestly, I feel extraordinarily blessed. Life is good.

I thought that today, I’d share 50 things that I know to be true. Tidbits of old-lady wisdom, if you will. So here goes:

  • Loving someone who loves you back is life’s sweetest blessing. This applies to more than romantic relationships.
  • Very few things are worth stressing over. Lighten the hell up.
  • Investing in people is a sure way to reap rich rewards.
  • Investing in yourself isn’t selfish.
  • Time is a gift that shouldn’t be squandered or unappreciated.
  • Don’t take anything personally. Other people feel what they feel, say what they say, and do what they do because of them, not you.
  • Do what you know is right, even when it’s not easy—especially when it’s not easy.
  • Own it. All of it.
  • Never pretend to be anyone but who you are. The real you is just dandy.
  • If you’re still breathing, it’s still possible.
  • You can choose to be happy or you can choose to walk around pissed at the world. Your call.
  • Where you are is almost undoubtedly a result of the choices you’ve made thus far. If you want to be somewhere better, start making better choices.
  • There are lots of right ways to do pretty much anything.
  • Forgiving is wise, but forgetting is often a very foolish move.
  • Don’t expect other people to read your mind. Ask for what you want and need.
  • Sing, whether or not you do it well. Same goes for dancing.
  • Good bras are worth the money and pretty undies are, too.
  • Let it go.
  • Crying is not a sign of weakness.
  • Tell the truth, no exceptions.
  • Never take the credit or the blame for other people’s lives.
  • True confidence doesn’t require making someone else seem like less. In fact, the opposite is true. Feeling genuinely good about yourself allows you to encourage, promote, and celebrate the gifts of other people.
  • Always, always, always listen to and honor the voice within.
  • There’s a big difference between illegal and immoral.
  • If someone wants to walk away from you, you should let them.
  • Don’t remind anyone about the things you do for them. If you don’t want to do something, don’t, but don’t be a martyr.
  • When you screw up, own up, apologize, learn from it, and get on with it.
  • Buy clothes that fit well. It really doesn’t matter what size the tag says—you are whatever size you are and too small or too large clothing is never flattering.
  • Learn to love the hair you have.
  • If you are going to live your entire life with someone, there will be moments when you wonder what the hell you ever saw in them. Before you allow yourself to dwell too long in those moments, remember that they have definitely had cause to wonder the same about you.
  • Very few things are worth going into debt. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
  • Take the advice that you’d give a dear friend in your situation.
  • Express love freely, and gratefully accept the love of others when it is offered.
  • Be kind. There’s never a reason to be purposefully mean.
  • Your voice is as important as anyone else's. The converse is also true.
  • One piece of really wonderful chocolate is far more satisfying than a whole bunch of the crappy stuff.
  • Stay away from people who tell you that you can’t or who belittle your dreams.
  • Go all in.
  • Get over the idea of being perfect. It doesn’t exist and even if it did, it would be both boring and annoying.
  • Family isn’t about DNA, it’s about love.
  • Aging is a privilege that some are not afforded. Be grateful for gray hair and wrinkles.
  • Believe what you believe and respect that others have a right to do the same.
  • Tell your story, even the icky parts. Someone else may benefit from hearing it, and you may benefit from telling it.
  • Everyone is an expert on something, so listen to people and be willing to learn.
  • Sometimes the best thing is to be quiet, but sometimes you need to speak up. Learn the difference and then be willing to act accordingly.
  • Be silly. It doesn’t make you look foolish, it makes you gorgeous.
  • Try. You might fail, but try anyway.
  • If you have someone who will pick you up and dust you off when you fall, count your blessings. If not, count them anyway.
  • Stand by your beliefs and live by your own moral code.
  • Remember, life is good.

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