What I’ve learned in 50 years could either be a long list, perhaps written in a roll of toilet paper because that’s it worth, or it just might be a short tweet on my struggling Twitter account. Or smaller still, a slogan. A bumper sticker. A tattoo. One word:
Shit. Nothing. Breathe. Dream. Run. Defend. Attack. Dance. Chocolate.
Or many words. Pages and pages. That’s the internal conflict. So many questions. Why at 50 do I still have so many questions?
Why do I ramble? Meander? Is it because life feels that way at times? Random yet moving…forward? Should I charge ahead? Have I done that? Did it work? And why am I just so fuckin tired? Why can’t I marathon watch Frazier and just let life slide on through the room? “I’m cool. I got a blanket. Some tea and toast, I can chill here.”
As I figure out the answers to these questions, I’ll start with the top 10 things that come to mind when I ask myself what I’ve learned in 50 years. And just so you understand this list,(which could be totally different tomorrow) this is where I am today. It’s an early dark and cold January morning in Minnesota. I’m in my in-laws’ kitchen. It’s been weeks since I’ve been home to Los Angeles and I feel that. Last of my sticky oatmeal is drying in a bowl. There’s hot tea with smooth and creamy flax milk in a mug. I’m on my way to babysit my god daughter this morning before spending the day at the movies. And yes, I have strep throat. (On antibiotics so I’m not a health risk to anyone but myself…but I feel shitty nonetheless). Happy Birthday to me.
So here are the 10 today:
- Family is everything. If you got some in your life and they’re good to you, cherish them. If they’re not so good, know that you can create family with folks who are. If they hurt you, know that it’s not okay that they did. And also know it’s good for you to forgive them even if they don’t change, even if you don’t/can’t have them in your life. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
- Being a good friend goes a long way because when you have good friends who give you love, support and acceptance back, your life is lit up in ways you never dreamt. Besides…
- Laughter really is good for your soul! Laughter with a friend is priceless so try and do that often. And loudly.
- Tending to your needs is okay. Give yourself permission to do that. And if you can’t do that, then find someone who will. In fact, if you’re reading this, then I give you permission, if that helps.
- Dreams can come true but I guarantee you they won’t show up like you dreamt it. That’s the thrilling joyful part of life. Don’t let being afraid of the dream being anything different than how you see it or write it in your head be the reason they don’t manifest. Be open.
- Make sure your partner/spouse is your best friend because when things get shitty, and they will, treating them as a friend, with basic kindness, compassion and understanding could help you through the shitstorm as it hits.
- Shitstorms can be damaging but also can be fertilizers for the new to grow. (and yes, sometimes this one is a hard stretch for me to believe while I’m running for cover but it’s true)
- You won’t die of a broken heart. You may hurt for a long time. Even forever. But it can’t kill you. How you handle it could.
- Figure out “how many f*3ks you have to give”. And if it’s none, then right on. If you have a few for family and close friends who include you on their list, then alright, too. Remember though, everyone makes mistakes. All the freakin time. Allow for this. Understand this. Forgiving humans for being human means forgiving yourself, too, because you should be on your own “give a f*#k list”.
- And the 80’s still rule. And 70’s classic rock is the best. And it’s totally okay to embrace that. I have with full force. I sing along to the Bangles and dance to Sheila E and still swoon over Prince. I don’t wear the shoulder pads or rat-comb the hair any more but I am a child of the 80’s and for all that’s holy and neon, it’s a decade that still rules. And some days working out is just air-jamming to Heart or Foghat in my car. It counts.