Here are 50 life lessons I've learned in 50 years. Actually, I hope I've learned more than 50 things but I thought 50 was a good number. And 50 is a GREAT number. I turned 50 in September, so technically, I’m closer to 51 than 50…eek. I promise not to turn into one of those old folks who tells their age in half year increments. Also, at 50, I’m a long way away from being “old folks.”
What’s that they say about older and wiser? Sometimes I wonder about that but I have learned a few lessons during my 50 years on this planet. Maybe you’ll relate to some of them.
1. A good bra fitting makes all the difference in the world
A bra that doesn’t fit right is the worst. Maybe you don’t want to let the lady with the tape measure in your personal bubble but the right fit is worth the awkward. Stop guessing and just get the bra fitting already.
See also, there is nothing quite as awesome as underwear that fit. Uncomfortable undies were tolerable in my twenties, when cute and matchy matchy were a priority.
2. Cheap tweezers suck
Having made my peace with the presence (and persistence) of chin hair, tweezers are my constant companion. I have tweezers in my medicine cabinet. I have tweezers in my desk drawer. I have tweezers in my purse. I even have car tweezers.
The good tweezers are worth the splurge. There is nothing worse than not being able to yank that chin hair out because you can’t get a good grip on it. Some things are worth scrimping on. Tweezers are not one of those things.
3. Stopping smoking is the hardest (and best) thing I’ve ever done
I count quitting smoking as one of my most important accomplishments. It’s been a game-changer in so many ways. I don’t have to list why smoking is bad. If you smoke, you know why it’s bad. If you smoke, quit. If I can do it, anyone can.
4. The words guilty and pleasure shouldn’t be used in a sentence together
If you’re going to like something, just freaking like it. Unless it’s harmful or illegal, enjoy it and own it. You don’t necessarily have to tell everyone what your pleasures are but you probably shouldn’t feel guilty about them.
5. Try new things
6. Don’t let anyone tell you what you are too old to do
This includes not reading ridiculous articles on the internet written by twenty-two year olds that tell you not to get a tattoo or wear sparkly eye shadow.
7. You are probably never going to feel truly grown up
8. Rules are made to be broken
Yes, it’s okay to drink champagne with meatloaf. Why not?
9. Rocking out to Motley Crue behind the wheel of my minivan is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
10. You don’t always have to have a thick skin
Sensitive is not a dirty word. Don’t give other people your power but allowing yourself to feel pain and be vulnerable when someone hurts you is not a crime.
11. You should never truly mean the words “I never.”
12. You cannot change other people
13. You are responsible for your feelings
If you’ve ever uttered the words “you make me feel” then stop and think about who is in charge of how you feel. Hint: it’s you.
14. Don’t be a slave to your inbox
We’ve all had times when obsessively refreshing our email is the thing that makes the most sense but don’t let email be your master on a consistent basis.
15. There’s nothing funny about laugh lines
16. Don’t lie about your age
Your age and your height are two things you don’t control. Own both.
17. Try to laugh at least once a day
18. Be kind
19. If it’s ever in question, the answer is always “yes, eat the chocolate.”
20. Leggings really ARE pants
They might not look good on you but they’re still pants.
21. Life is too short to surround yourself with assholes
22. It is okay not to be ready to go gray
I’ve colored my hair red for years and have no immediate plans to stop. When asked “why don’t you just let your hair go gray” my answer is “because I don’t want to.” End. Of. Story.
23. Love doesn’t conquer all
24. Show others grace and practice empathy
I can be a judgy jerk face with the best of them but I feel better about myself when I try to cut others some slack. You will, too.
25. There are few things better than hearing the laughter of a child
26. Letting a child stay up 20 minutes past his bedtime is guaranteed to cause him to wake up two hours early. Every time.
27. Wear the sunscreen
That savage tan might be sexy but wrinkles on your chest when you’re in your early thirties are not.
28. Kind and nice are not the same thing
29. You never stop learning (or making mistakes)
30. It is possible to have wrinkles and zits at the same time
It is actually possible to have a zit inside a wrinkle. What the hell, Mother Nature?
31. Being a mom has been my greatest joy, BUT…
It’s been one of the hardest and most frustrating parts of my life – at times. The sweet moments outweigh the headaches but its okay not to love every moment of being a mother. It’s okay not to love every moment, period.
32. Think before you speak the words “I’m sorry.”
Before you apologize, stop to think about whether or not you have truly done something wrong.
33. But don’t be too proud to apologize when you should.
Own your mistakes. Try to do better. Move on.
34. People who say 50 is the new 40 are full of hooey.
50 is 50. 60 is 60. Own your mojo at whatever age you are and don’t pass it off as something it isn’t.
35. Confidence is attractive. Arrogance is annoying
36. Swearing is just fun
What the “frickety frack” just isn’t ever going to be the same as what the fuck. And yes, I realize that there is a time and place for swearing but swearing isn’t something I’m willing to apologize for.
37. Facebook is not a source of reliable information.
38. I will never learn to love my muffin top – and that’s okay.
39. Pay for the car behind you at Starbucks
40. Smile at strangers.
This might not come natural, in fact, the first time is downright awkward. But, it makes you feel good and people’s reactions are funny. You’ll get everything from gratitude to suspicion.
41. Call your mother
There will probably be one day when you wish you could and she’ll be gone. This really goes for anyone you love.
42. You have something in common with just about everyone
43. Experiences make better gifts than things
44. Don’t try to be good at everything
45. If you think you need to spend more time unplugged, then you probably do.
46. There’s nothing as awesome as receiving a hand-written note…
…so why is it so hard to actually write one? Seriously, do you remember the last time you wrote someone an actual note or letter? Kudos to you if you do. Oh, and signing your name on a birthday card doesn’t count.
47. There will come a time in your life when “comfortable” will replace “cute and sexy.”
Yes, you’ll be okay with that. No, that doesn’t mean you won’t care about cute and sexy. You do…but just not as much.
48. Don’t compare yourself to others
There will always be someone who is rising faster, has better hair, smarter kids, a more helpful husband, or just has their crap together way better than you do. Or so you think. You don’t know what you don’t know about someone else’s life and struggles. You also don’t know what awesome things are up next for you. Besides, comparison is the thief of joy.
49. You’re probably not going to go to your deathbed with either of these thoughts: “I spent too much time with my children” and “I saw too much of the world.”
I am not on my deathbed and I'm not planning to be any time soon, but I have reached the point in my life where I am cognizant of time…and that time isn't something any of us are guaranteed.
50. Fifty is pretty terrific
I don’t buy in to the “50 is the new 40” hype nor do I believe life begins at 50. My life began…well, 50 years ago, you do the math. But, aside from training for the Olympic gymnastics team, there aren’t many things in life that are off-limits to me because of my age.
If you've enjoyed reading my list of 50 life lessons I've learned in 50 years, follow me on social media so we can keep in touch! Here's to the next 50.
Thank you for reading!