You probably learned early on that life is extremely complicated, and only a few things are ever smooth and easy to comprehend. Even through frustration, life can be extremely wonderful, and an experience filled with infinite opportunities and possibilities for everyone. For many of us, the aging process reveals many important things we wish we knew earlier in life. Below is just a small sampling.
#1 Never Stop Learning
If your vision of an ideal life involves simply coasting through each day, you are going to miss most of what life can offer. It is important to exercise your mind every moment you possibly can and never stop learning. Gather as much information as possible from books, media and individuals. Take the time to listen to what others have to say. Remember that when you are speaking, you are likely not learning.
#2 Learn to Forgive
Life can be mean and uncomfortable when we spend time around others who say or do unforgivable things. However, life is short, and grudges, animosity, hatred and resentment achieve little to help you on your journey to enjoy your life. Recognize that forgiveness helps you more than it helps anyone else.
#3 Get after It
The older you get, the more you realize that time is passing much faster than you believe. It is important to get after your life now, and make things happen, because there is no way to go back and capture time spent unwisely in the past. You will never regret making mistakes if you are doing what you enjoy or need to do.
#4 Recognize What Is Important
While we are all built differently, and have different dreams, many things in life are relatively unimportant to most of us. We often strive for wealth, without defining what it means to be wealthy. Some of us are rich in the love we get from family. Others achieve great success in helping others or accomplishing goals. Recognize that the numbers on your monthly financial statement can never really measure your happiness.
#5 See the Value in Others
While there is no way you can ever please everyone, you can see the value they possess. Be happy for individuals expressing happiness, even when life is challenging for you. Recognize that no individual has ever figured out how to live the perfect life, and their moment of happiness is likely a true gift for them.
#6 Go Easy on Yourself
While it is important to take time to find the challenge of every day, be sure to go easy on yourself, and give yourself a break whenever possible. Embrace your vulnerability and learn how to say “I do not know” without shame or humiliation. Be sure to make mistakes – big and small – and make lots of them. It is the easiest way to teach yourself how to get things right. Learn effective ways to handle criticism, and never lie to yourself.
#7 Understand the Importance of Practice
While motivation and determination are valuable to accomplish your goals, nothing is more important than practice. Repetition can teach you to do nearly anything extremely well, even if you do not think you have the ability.
Many times, ego and ignorance get in the way of our ability to make better decisions. Spend more time swallowing your pride and apologizing when you should. Sing and dance whenever the opportunity avails itself, and remember your humanity. Your life will be easier if you practice humility, spend more time doing the things you love and acquire inspiration from everything.
In fact, your life will be infinitely better if you remain present in the here and now. Recognize that your life is the biggest gift you will ever receive, and every breath has value. With the aging process, you will come to realize you did not know what you had until it was gone.
Finally, it’s important to wear sunscreen. But you likely already knew that.