40 Things At Age 40

Tragedy Comedy MasksI’m feeling reflective today.

Actually, I’ve been feeling reflective for a while now. It’s not like this date hasn’t been on the calendar for the last 40 years, but it’s only been within the last few weeks I’ve really given myself over to any serious contemplation about it.

The result of all my intense brooding thinking is a list.

Two, actually.

I’ll begin by acknowledging I’ve made my share of mistakes in life. Some I would give almost anything to undo. Others, I wouldn’t trade for the world because they’ve helped to make me who I am today. I can also own I’ve done a lot of good in my life, including making the right calls on some difficult decisions which continue to be a source of joy and happiness in my life.

So, in the spirit of Dear Teen Me, I’ve written these 40 Things as a birthday gift to my 40-year-old self.

Today: April 11, 2011

However, unlike Dear Teen Me I’ve not written these to a past me from the present. I’ve written them to the present me from the future. One list is a list of 20 things to watch out for or to stop doing. The other is a list of 20 things to start doing or to do better. My intention is to make these 40 Things stand as my own personal guide for living my next 40+ years to the fullest.

So here they are.

20 Things Not To Do:

1) Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks
2) Don’t Miss Opportunities To Show The People You Love That You Love Them
3) Don’t Lose Sight Of What’s Most Important To YOU
4) Don’t Give Up
5) Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something New
6) Don’t Mistake Being Right For Doing Right
7) Don’t Assume, ASK!
8) Don’t Do It If You Already Know You’ll Regret It Later
9) Don’t Expect More From Others Than You Do From Yourself
10) Don’t Ignore The Counsel Of A True Friend
11) Don’t Assume You Understand Anyone You’ve Never Spent Time Really Listening To
12) Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice
13) Don’t Refuse To Give Advice When Someone Who Trusts You Asks For It
14) Don’t Simply Assume Everything Will Turn Out Fine If You Don’t Act
15) Don’t Forget The Lessons Of The Past
16) Don’t Nurse Resentment
17) Don’t Wait To Be Asked Before Deciding to Forgive
18) Don’t Try To Solve Anyone’s Problems But Your Own
19) Don’t Waste Time Trying To Change Other People
20) Don’t Blame Others For Anything That Happens To You

20 Things To Do:

1) Listen More Often Than You Speak
2) Say ‘YES’ More Often Than You Say ‘No’
3) Do What You Can To Help Those You Love To Find Their Own Answers
4) Stand Outside Alone In The Moonlight
5) Look For Opportunities To Show Those You Love How Important They Are
6) Look For The Good In Everything, Especially In Everyone
7) Decide What Is Truly Important To You And Focus On That
8) Put First Things First, But Remember To Make Time For Second And Third Things
9) Live For Today With One Eye To Tomorrow, Not Both
10) Fix What Is Broken
11) Finish Writing Your Book (Then Start Another)
12) Walk The Dog
13) Remember That The Best Things In Life Really ARE Free
14) Invest More In People Than In Things
15) Only Put Off Until Tomorrow What Can’t Wait Until The Day After That
16) Be Honest With Yourself
17) Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
18) Play
19) Seek To Understand More Than To Be Understood
20) Love. Love. Love