As I sat sipping my hot vanilla coffee this morning reminiscing and gathering all the lessons I’ve learned about myself and others over the last four decades I can’t help but ruminate on the good times, bad times, Love, forgiveness, and laughter. Somedays it seems like yesterday I was still that scared & lonely little girl spinning around, with gravel under my feet in an attempt at twirling my skirt. In honor of my 40th birthday here are a few things I’ve learned over the last forty years. Not listed in any particular order. Things I wish I could go back and tell my younger naive know-it-all self.
1. There is always going to be someone who won’t share. People are naturally selfish.
2. The family isn’t always biological. Actually most of the time they are not biological.
3. If you’ve been abused at any age tell someone. Tell anyone. Don’t keep quiet.
4. You never have to question a real friend’s intentions. They don’t have any.
5. Racism is dumb. We all bleed the same color.
6. STOP eating your feelings.
7. There will always be someone with more talent than you.
8. Travel the world. Every chance you get to go places, GO! Experience different cultures.
9. Be open-minded. Really open minded.
10. Try new things. (Cuisines. Extracurriculars. Hobbies.)
11. Play sports in school (even if it’s just for fun)
12. Join those clubs (4-H, FFA, FCCLA)
13. Learn to play an instrument 🎷🎺 🎻
14. There will always be at any stage in life someone who thinks they’re smarter than you and sometimes they will be. The ones who really are smarter won’t remind you they are. They’ll help you learn.
15. In the majority of jobs, it’s not what you know but who you know.
16. No one on earth is able to love you like your mom.
17. Most people can’t sing but will become Singer, songwriter, and Choreographer in the shower.
18. At one point in time, everyone no matter how physically appealing they are to the eyes they have had a massive case of diarrhea.
19. Everyone & I mean everyone has had their heart broken.
20. Marry someone taller than you, or at least add a ladder to your bridal registry.
21. There’s a difference between smart and wise. If you’re wise you know the difference. If you’re smart you’ll want to be wise.
22. Always live below your means.
23. Have a lot of friendly acquaintances but a few very close trusted friends.
24. Don’t expect people including parents or grandparents to buy you anything. You value what you have to work for more.
25. God will never take you where he won’t provide for you.
26. More times than not the popular decision will not be the right decision.
27. Peer pressure happens to everyone. Standing up doesn’t.
28. Take the time to do your homework. Your college self will thank you for it.
29. Take grades seriously even in junior high.
30. Character and reputation can easily be destroyed just by hanging out with the wrong crowd.
31. Never date someone you wouldn’t want your future children to act like.
32. If they’re mean to the waiter/waitress they’re mean bottom line.
33. People who chase money will always be lonely.
34. Don’t EVER chase a man. A real man will chase you (in a respectful manner).
35. Forgive yourself often. Mistakes and bad choices will be made. The time is never wasted if you learn from them.
36. Never have sex with someone you wouldn’t want to deal with the rest of your life. You can get pregnant the first time, most days of the month and birth control fails; on a regular basis.
37. No means no! If he loves you now he’ll love you after marriage.
38. Your virginity is sacred and you’ll never get it back once you give it away. Handle it with care. Seriously!
39. Real love never pressures and never gives ultimatums.3
40. Not everyone deserves a second chance, regardless how the old saying goes.
41. You can forgive someone without allowing them back into your life.
42. A man/woman that will hit you is nothing short of a coward. And, yes they will do it again.
43. Love is a choice not a fairytale or a feeling.
44. Infatuation & lust is not love. Know the difference.
45. Things usually get worse before they get better.
46. The bad times will help you appreciate the good times even more.
47. A man/woman who does not lead you closer to Christ is not heaven sent.
48. A man/woman who is dating, engaged or married to someone else is not for you.
49. If they cheat on their spouse to be with you, they will cheat on you with someone else.
50. Parents don’t have favorites, birth order allows you to love each one differently.
51. No matter what you’re going through it won’t last forever.
52. Everyone has bad days.
53. Some of the richest people in the world don’t have money. Some of the poorest people in the world have huge bank accounts.
54. Never ever co-sign for anyone. EVER!
55. The older you get the harder it is to lose weight.
56. The majority of people you encounter don’t care about you. They are only concerned about what you can do for them.
57. Hold on to your children as long as you can. They don’t stay little very long.
58. Your child will not remember all the gifts you gave. But, the will remember the time you spent with them.
59. Your Credit score does matter. Even in your 20’s.
60. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not okay to stay that way.
61. Controlling and Abusive behaviors at any age is not acceptable.
62. Naps are okay. It doesn’t make you lazy.
63. Even a little lie can become a big dangerous lie.
64. Be the kind of parent you wish you had as a kid.
65. Trust can easily be broken and hard to rebuild.
It’s amazing the things a simple birthday can bring to mind. Things you thought you had forgotten. Nevertheless, my birthday has come and is almost gone and I have no regrets. I’ve loved & I’ve been heartbroken. I’ve lost & I’ve won. I’ve been sad & I’ve been happy. I’ve had miscarriages & I’ve had babies. I’ve been married, I’ve been divorced & married again. I’ve been the victim and I’ve been victorious. I’ve failed and I’ve been successful. The most important I’ve been through the fire and not been burned and I’ve been tested and walked away with a testimony.
Keep your Faith & coffee strong,