Apparently our lives have been reduced to making lists. I have a continual steam of them; to-do today, home project lists, grocery lists, to-read lists, bucket list, and things I will never again tolerate or endure. Months ago I was asked if I had a list of items I needed to thrive, like a must have for relationships with friends, family, or romantic which added an interesting thought so I began to compile my thoughts into some contrived bullet form. Most recently it came from a conversation about rules for life, if I were to impart any great wisdom could I do it in twelve rules of less? It really made me consider what wisdom I try to impart to my children and the choices I make in my own life. I typically find these lists a bit hokey but thought I shall give it a shot. Often times being a bit verbose I had to work to make a concise list of twelve items in no particular order of importance.
- Stuff is inconsequential, people and your relationships to them is what is important. I am pretty sure my last day on earth I will not want to see all my diplomas, care what nick knacks sit on my mantle or drink from my favorite mug but will want to be surrounded by those I love deeply. So nurture those relationships, trust those you care for, be vulnerable, love unconditionally, be kind and forgive often.
- Love the skin you’re in because it is all you’ll get. We all have different shapes and beauty marks. Life is too short to stress over your vanity; eat well, drink lots of water and be healthy and love yourself as much as you do others.
- It is not fair and unfortunately it will never be. You’ll win some and you’ll lose some; often times not the ones you want! Life will be filled with failures, mistakes, and disappointments and it is how you handle those that can define your character. Remember all you can truly control is your response to the situation; pick yourself up, dust yourself off and smile and you move forward!
- Alone is good, lonely not so much. Have faith there is something larger then you and nurture that spirituality, this can be done best when you are alone. Learn to love yourself and you will always enjoy the silence.
- Every day on this side of the stars is a good one. When you approach life with a grateful heart it makes difficulties easier to endure. Always be grateful even and if needed remind yourself of #3.
- You’re human, guess what you will make mistakes, probably tons of them. There will be things you are embarrassed by and things you may be indignant over, give up your pride, apologize to those you have hurt, try hard as hell not to repeat them and forgive yourself(see #3).
- There are no happy accidents, everything happens for a reason, try to learn what that is. When you struggle with a choice, do what feels right in your heart, you inner voice is speaking with fortitude for a reason, listen! Everyday remember to listen to your inner voice, embrace the blessings (see #5) and learn from the mistakes (see #6).
- Time is too valuable to waste on things you cannot change. If you fret over things out of your control you are giving up a precious commodity that you cannot replace.
- You were born with two superpowers; love and laughter. Laugh and love in the same way openly, unconditionally, and deeply. Nothing can nurture a relationship, make life easier to bear, or heal better than those two. You also need to learn to laugh at yourself! When you must choose, always chose happiness, kindness, love, and laughter, hands down that should be your choice.
- Love should be unconditional, relationships not so much. Never give love away with conditions or expectations but remember to love yourself too (see above, 2,3,4…). Set healthy boundaries, know what you need to thrive, always know how to respect yourself, never shortchange yourself, and be with someone who love all of you, unconditionally.
- There will be days where the best you can muster is to breathe. That is alright, be kind to yourself. We all face difficulties and struggles and there is time where all hope seems lost, take care of yourself, focus on what you can and let the rest go because the world will not fall off its axis!
- The journey is not straight nor is it level. There will be tough times, challenges you need to fight , things you need to overcome, times you will fail but trust me there are days the views along the trail are absolutely breathtaking. Keep going and remember to look up often and enjoy the change in scenery because some things you only pass once. Pause to contemplate you place, examine your impact, and embrace life fully.
I wonder how important these will be at the end of my life….I hope they serve me well.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates