When you choose to be a lifelong learner, you seem to find lessons everywhere you turn. The 50’s have been a decade of learning and unlearning for me. I’ve seen unbelievable highs and I’ve experienced gut-wrenching lows. In every state of emotion, health, capacity or place, I have learned more in my years as a fifty-something than any other decade of my life.
Here are the 5 lessons that I have had to unlearn:
- You are not “just made that way.” Every person can change and should change. I spent most of my life as a pompous jerk. I pray I am unlearning those ways.
- You are not bulletproof. I abused my body as a boy and as a young man. Be sure that your lack of concern about your health will always come back and kick you in the tail.
- You are not the equivalent of of GPA, SAT, or ACT. I’m grateful to have had a good education, but I have had to learn what matters most is personal and independent study. School is essential, but learning is supreme.
- All the people you thought you needed to please? Well, as it turns out, they were as insecure as you were. Move on, move up, and move forward.
- The things that your parents did…you know, the things that you swore that you would never do? Well, I did and you did. As it turns out, they were struggling to raise you, just like you are struggling to raise your kids and grandkids.
Here are the 5 lessons that I have learned:
- It’s okay to grow old. It’s okay to have grey hair, droopy eyelids, less stability, poor eyesight and all of the other ailments that’s come with age. It’s not okay to ignore them.
- Be nice. The rewards of attempting to be nice are so worth it. For some of you, this seems foolish. For people like me, let’s just say that being nice is a learned skill.
- Keep moving: Older is not stagnant, just slower. Keep moving and you’ll find all kinds of benefits. Most of the physical and many of them spiritual or emotional.
- Self select peace over power or popularity. I remember the day, the time and the event that caused me to STOP worrying about all of the power moves that I wanted to make in my life and exchanged them for an insatiable appetite for personal peace. I’ve come to know that peace is life’s greatest commodity. Chase after it!Choose grace. It is far too easy to live with a condescending spirit that can always point a bony finger of guilt at anybody about anything. I think that we have proven what results from that. Grace is something that cannot be offered without having received it. And you never receive it until you need it. But the minute you choose to live a grace-filled life, you will never regret it. Grace has built within me four things that I never imagined I could possess: FORGIVENESS – ENCOURAGEMENT – WISDOM – HOPE.
Not that I have attained them all or at times, in part, but I am most certainly on the plus side. By the way, if you are looking for a little peace or a little strength in the middle of this chaotic world, start with GRACE.
Go ahead and grow old graciously. It ain’t that bad! As a matter of fact, my 50’s have been pretty kind to me.