Today I turned old.
Ok, ok, I am not old but sometimes my body feels old. My mind feels forgetful, I feel outdated, and I'm more and more stuck in my ways which means I'm becoming stubborn like my grandmas were. I like routine, the spontaneity of my youth has disappeared . I'm not very trusting anymore. I have gray hairs. And, I feel like this last year and all that happened, has made me feel older than I should feel. When your parents die, somehow mortality seems a lot shorter.
However, I also believe that every journey we go on does, eventually, awaken the soul and while this past year was a dark one on my life path, it has ended with bright spots and I do feel like all that has happened has awakened my soul in ways that I didn't expect. My perspective has changed.
Years ago I started a project where I intended to do the same but because I started with the visual, crafty side of it - I never finished. I'm glad I didn't finish because now I have the opportunity to do it with meaning.
And this time I decided to start with the meat. The cute patterned paper and scrapbooking layout don't matter so much but the words do. So, in honor of my Forty + One birthday, here are 41 things I deem important. They are in no particular order and in time I will add the stories behind the statements but for now, it's a start.
1- Have the courage to walk away. Even from family if needed.
2- Ask questions
3- Friendships are important
4- Spirituality matters, establish a relationship with God. I've lived parts of my life without that relationship and know that I'm happiest when I work on my faith and live my beliefs.
5- Death happens. It hurts. Mourn but then focus on the good memories and not the loss. And, do not let that loss define you. See my Heavy Heart and My Story post for more info
6- Maintain a good relationship with your parents.
7- Someone will always be prettier, smarter, taller, and skinnier than you and you will always be prettier, smarter, taller, better than someone else - that’s life but don’t get caught up in the comparisons. Just love who you are.
8- Think before you spend because things won’t make you happy
9- Say you are sorry
10- Guard your virtue
11- Do nice things for others even if they don’t do nice things back
12- Don’t expect praise or appreciation. Do what you do because you want to do them and not because of the reward.
13- Look out for the under dog and reach out to them. They need to be noticed and loved.
14- Smile confidently
15- You will have bad hair days but you will probably be the only one that notices
16- You have divine potential. Find out what that is and then use it to bless others.
17- When sad, serve others. Even if it's the most simplest of service acts
18- Say Thank you - ALWAYS say thank you.
19- Be cautious of the need you will have to fit in
20 - If you have children, remember your job is to keep them safe on all levels. This includes, physically, mentally, spiritually, and with all your might, protect their innocence (this means you may find your self saying no to sleep-overs too)
21- Work to maintain relationships with your siblings
22- Don’t play small, you have talents so use them
23- Give people the benefit of the doubt
24- Create something. Even if you don't feel like you are an artist, find something to create. A good meal. A flower arrangement. An organized home. Creating has a power to help you overcome things. It does.
25- Let light in your life. Then work to see the light in others and treat them if that is the only thing you see about them.
26- Choose right - even if the right choice is the harder one to make
27- Be willing to open yourself up to new experiences, even if you might fail at them
28- Kindness matters, be kind and make an effort to notice other people's kindness.
29- Do the dishes
30- Happiness is not long term if it comes in the form of a bottle, pill or substance
31- The person you become will always be more important than the grade you earn
32- Pay attention to your surroundings.
33 - Explore. Even if you feel like being a hermit at home, go explore anyway
34- Take care of your body
35 - God does not take people from this life because he needs them in Heaven. And despite what people think, that is not a comforting thing to tell someone when they are grieving. So don't tell people that.
36 - You can do hard things
37- Trust your intuition about others and avoid toxic people
38- Know your past, know the people who came before you and honor their legacies by carrying on their goodness
39- Lock your doors, always!
40- There will be people who won’t like you. It's ok. It's more important that you like you.
41- Technology is amazing but human connection is more important. walk away from your computer and put your phone away. There are deep conversations to be had, people to get to know and life to live.
Some of these things I've mastered and are some of them are still things I'm working on but it's a start and I'm excited to start sharing the details of each item with my girls.
There are stories to be told.
What would be on your list?