I decided to do one of those whattyacallits today, where I say a list that parallels my age about things I’ve learned. I’ve never done this before, and I know more things than this. But these are on my heart or mind today.
1. I don’t know as much as I think I do. And you know more than I think. 90% of the time, I will benefit from at least honestly hearing your point of view. Worst case scenario, I walk away knowing where you’re coming from.
2. That annoying characteristic in you or them usually lies right at the edge of an exposed nerve. Offer grace, the benefit of the doubt, or the kindest correction you can. It’s what you would want.
3. If your heartfelt position makes you lose your temper or call names, it’s not coming from a crystal clear place. Maybe dial it back and do some self-examination. At least, make yourself wait a day before you respond to that email or comment.
4. You will never regret choosing kindness.
5. You will always regret leaving the cookies at the store.
6. Children love to be respected. Honor them by genuinely listening to their outlandish suggestions about space travel or whatever. Someday they might be pitching crazy ideas to a lot bigger audience.
7. Don’t get a cat.
8. Your parents will not live forever. Talk to them now.
9. Try some new stuff. Worst case scenario, you die trying new stuff. That’s better than “She died eating Ramen in front of a Seinfeld rerun.”
10. Invest in friendships. People are so amazingly lovable.
11. If taking a shower will make you late, don’t take a shower. Be on time, stinky.
12. When you are terribly, terribly disappointed in yourself, remember, it will get better. Learn from the mistake and remind yourself you don’t have to stay at the low point.
13. If I feel depressed, I try not to wear dark clothes and keep the blinds drawn. Put some light and music in your physical world and it will help a little. Also comb your hair.
14. If you feel depressed, try serving someone else. Find a soup kitchen, chaperone your child’s field trip, buy a gift for another person. It’s amazing what looking outward can do.
15. Thrift stores have cheap clothes. Buy them, wash them, wear them. Now you have more money.
16. If your goals are making you miserable, rethink your goals. If you still need those goals, rethink your approach.
17. Never assume you know everything about someone. Assume there is GOLD.
18. Thankfulness is a weapon. Use it.
19. People probably already know how you feel about their lifestyle. If they want to change, they know you can help them. It’s important they know, in the meantime, that you love them regardless.
20. Off brand cereal is basically the same.
21. Don’t be cocky. If you don’t like the music, or the movie, or the practice, or the sentiment, that doesn’t mean everyone who does is ignorant. It means they like something different than you, and they probably have good reasons.
22. Funny people are not in denial. We just see life through a humorous lens.
23. Sometimes people are dead wrong. “The Eiffel Tower is in Rome,” they say, confidently. You don’t have to fix that. It’s totally okay to just let people be wrong sometimes.
24. It’s okay to say no. You can’t do everything for everyone, and if you try to, you might hate everyone a little bit. Just say it nicely.
25. Always leave a tip.
26. Love means saying you’re sorry. Say it.
27. Study the 5 love languages. There might be more, it might be more complicated, but they’re a good start at learning people.
28. If somebody in your life makes you feel bad about yourself, find the nugget of truth in what they say and work on that. If they keep making you feel bad about yourself, maybe hang out with somebody else.
29. Take great comfort in the competence of God. So many things are not our job, they’re His. And He’s not freaking out at all!
30. Take comfort in the all-knowingness of God. He already knows your pain and your struggle. You can be honest with Him. He’s not intimidated by your overwhelming humanity.
31. Sometimes, in the very darkest place, remind yourself, it will not be like this forever. This is a moment, a day, a season. Someday you will laugh again.
32. If you find something you love, and your friends don’t get it, don’t worry. You can love things by yourself, you’re an individual and you might even have great taste.
33. On the other hand, if you “fall in love” with a human being and all your friends and family hate them, listen. You might be totally compromised by pheromones.
34. Don’t let shame drive you from church. He came for the sick. Find a church that will help you heal.
35. Don’t waste your life being cynical. Find beauty, it’s everywhere.