65 things I have learned in 65 years

To commemorate being on earth, alive and thinking, here is my list of 65 things I’ve learned in 65 years. PS: Thank you Medicare.

  1. To have friends, you have to be a friend. That means sharing, give and take conversation, forgiving, forgetting, laughing and crying together.
  2. My mom told me, “We aren’t lost, we just don’t know where we are.” That applies to wandering around Denver as well as life itself.
  3. When your brothers are mean to you when you are little, wait 60 years and they will be old and you can beat them up.
  4. A Phillips screwdriver is the one that is like a four-pointed star.
  5. Think twice before going to a third world country while pregnant.
  6. Some people can repeat a lie until it becomes truth. For others (me included) we just look stupid.
  7. You don’t learn anything while YOU are talking.
  8. Nobody walked the first time they tried it. They fell down a million times first.
  9. That eagles eat little dogs is a myth. Their preferred entre is fish.
  10. It’s true that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince. Sometimes it’s probably not worth it.
  11. People are basically good. Except for one or two.
  12. Not everyone wants a pony.
  13. It was worth it to teach my kids how to drive a standard transmission. They thank me for it now.
  14. I am a jack of all trades, master of none. It’s who I am.
  15. We are more forgiving towards people we don’t know than our own family.
  16. When I went to Finland on the AFS exchange, I was told that even though it might be a life changing experience for me, the people back home wouldn’t be able to relate to it the same way. They may get tired of hearing about it, or I might get boring talking about it. It was true. No one really wanted to know how it impacted me, they just wanted to see the slide show of the trip. It happens all the time now, too. People are so excited to share their iPhone photos of their latest trip, but no one really cares.
  17. Audio books keep me awake while driving better than the radio.
  18. Podcasts also keep me awake better than the radio.
  19. All those people in line to go to the top of the mountain and ski the black diamonds down aren’t as good as you think they are. They probably just had more to drink.
  20. There are three types of old people—those that are really active, those that just sit around, and those whose health prevents them from doing what they want to do.
  21. There are three stages of aging: go go’s, slo go’s, and no go’s. It’s true.
  22. Sooner or later, if you are lucky enough, you will have some kind of repair surgery—knee, hip, shoulder, back, neck…
  23. You can be old and still be competitive at tennis (applies to anything). You just have to find the right level of play. This applies to young people, too.
  24. If something starts sounding funny on your vehicle, there’s probably something wrong. Last time I thought it was a wheel bearing but it turned out my tire tread was separating. It could have been really dangerous if I hadn’t taken care of it.
  25. Be ready to laugh.
    Be willing to laugh because
    Nothing really really good, or really really bad, lasts really really long. (I wish I had originated this line, because it is really really true. I Googled it and it credits some guy I don’t know and it isn’t his quote exactly. But Jerry at Cargill first told it to me, and I have returned to this mantra many many times.)
  26. It’s OK to cry but
    Get over it.
  27. Don’t overthink things. Just Do It. (Credit Nike.)
  28. Face your fears but
    Take calculated risks.
  29. Talk to strangers but
    Trust your gut and
    When in doubt, be safe.
  30. You’re better than you think you are but
    Everyone can get better.
  31. Don’t drive through brush that’s scratching your vehicle even though
    Google Maps says it’s the best route.
  32. Listen to the vehicle’s reverse beeper because
    It’s probably warning you about something—like a tree.
  33. Plan ahead.
    Don’t plan too far ahead and
    Be considerate of other people’s schedules.
  34. Have a contingency plan but
    Go with the flow.
  35. Take care of your feet because
    You will need your feet for a long time.
  36. If your boots hurt as soon as you put them on,
    They probably aren’t going to get alot better.
  37. Pack lighter so
    Get rid of the purse.
    Take one pair of nice shoes but
    When in doubt, leave the good shoes at home.
  38. In every moment of great joy, there are elements of sadness.
    In every moment of great sadness, there are elements of joy.
    You can’t have one without the other.
  39. Appreciate the past but
    Enjoy the moment and
    Look forward to the future.
  40. There is a magical moment when your kids start telling you what to do, and they are right. It’s about the same time they start telling you that you were right. We’re all right.
  41. There is also a transformative moment in our lives when we begin to look like old people. Just look at the photos from the last wedding you attended.
  42. It’s never too late to make friends with someone. After 33 years as my sister-in-law, I spent a day and a half with Sherry and made a new friend.
  43. The glass is half full.
  44. If you are a working woman and your kid is sick, tell your boss you have to take the car into the shop. They are more sympathetic than if you tell them you have to take time off for your kid. Maybe they will give you a raise for a better car.  (don’t kid yourself, they won’t.)
  45. I have prosopagnosia. Face Blindness. I have trouble recognizing people. I have even a harder time recalling names. Putting names to faces is almost impossible. But I am pretty good about remembering what we talked about in a casual conversation, or where we were standing and what time of year it was. Or what kind of car you were driving, and I am actually really good at directions. I just won’t recognize you when I get there.
  46. That being said, I am really bad at remembering birthdays and anniversaries or any significant dates.
  47. I value fairness. I try to treat others as I would like to be treated. I can’t understand how someone can take advantage of others and not feel terrible at the end of the day. That’s happening to one of my kids right now, and it’s tough not to feel vindictive.
  48. I understand what middle-aged spread means. It happened to me overnight one year. Boom! My gut bulged. It happened about the same time I got the dog. Coincidence or cause & effect?
  49. I’m not afraid of technology or the new economy. Yet. I appreciate what technology can do to make my life easier. Like GPS. Facebook. AirBnB. Hotels.com. audio Books. Alexa. I am getting tired of my credit cards being hacked, but is that technology or economy? Or thievery?
  50. Coloring your hair makes you look younger up to a certain point, and then it makes you look older with weirdly dark hair.
  51. Older men should shave. Gray beards are really not so attractive. Yet.
  52. When your kids are little, it feels like they will never grow up. Time goes so slowly. When they are grown up, it seems like it went so fast, the blink of an eye. But I know it happened because I look in the mirror and realize 30 years have gone by and I feel like I missed them all.
  53. If you really want a pony (even knowing not everyone wants a pony) and someone asks what you want and that you can have whatever you want, ASK FOR THE PONY. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, ie., a pony.
  54. My brother, Robert, told me that anyone can make it through college if they study. He didn’t take his own advice, but I did. I studied enough to make it through college.
  55. Robert also told me I could party as much as I wanted (in high school) but always wake up in the morning to do chores or whatever work needed to be done. I have held to his words, and have never missed work due to a hangover (that I can remember). This was especially critical when I was in corporate America trying to make a name for myself. I never missed work because of too much partying the night before.
  56. I learned from my brother, Harry, that I could start a career in my 60s and have a full and rich life. He left farming and became an artist. I am going to try to follow in his footsteps.
  57. We all get along better knowing what our boundaries are. My kids seemed to understand what acceptable boundaries were. My dog does, too.
  58. It is never to late to learn something new. Or to relearn something we thought we knew but forgot over time.
  59. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I know this is corny, but it is true.
  60. Everyone is different, and needs to be treated differently. I have three kids who are all over the board. I love them all, but they all need something different from me. My dad knew this early on. He treated each of us kids uniquely. Rules were somewhat different for each of us.
  61. A person’s personality is pretty well set by the time they are six years old. My dad believed this, too. I kinda do, too.
  62. Don’t say you don’t like something. Just say, “It’s interesting.” Because it usually is.
  63. If you really don’t want to forget things, make a list. You will still forget, but the list will remind you.
  64. Einstein once said he never tried to remember something that he could look up. I am so lucky to live in the age of the internet.
  65. If you want to be the smartest person in the room, don’t invite anyone over.

These are 65 things I’ve learned in my 65 years of life. It was actually hard thinking these things up. How is it hard to think of 65 things a person knows?  Don’t we know a lot more than this?

I can’t wait to hit 100.


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