“….just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it’s good to know it’s out of my control
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go.”
It was my birthday this week, and as I alluded to in an earlier post, it was a big one. Not huge, but big enough, and it certainly warrants an appropriate posting. The trouble is, I feel like I should write something profound that will bowl readers over with my insight and wisdom. From one who is usually so ready to offer her opinion, you’d think that would be easy, but I’m coming up dry.
So, instead I’ll offer a few small things I’ve learned along the way to fifty.
- Laugh. A lot. In fact, whenever you can. I learned from my friend Pat that sometimes the one who sees the humor in a situation is as important as the one who finds a solution to it.
- Smile at strangers. Within limits — the aim is to appear friendly, not demented.
- With very few exceptions, always wear comfortable shoes. This doesn’t mean footwear has to be ugly. Though finding cute footwear that feels good can be a challenge, it can be done.
- Don’t be the one who always finds something to complain about. And if, like me, you feel an unfortunate obligation to complain if something seems not right, make sure you give compliments just as freely. Especially to those in the service profession.
- This is really an addendum to #4. If you can’t decide whether to round up or down on a tip, go for up.
- Although it pains me to admit it, sometimes it’s not only cheaper to cook at home than to eat out, it’s also tastier, quicker and easier.
- Avoid getting a job that requires you to make a schedule for more than three people. Unless you’re the sort of person who enjoys doing laundry. The tasks have a lot in common. Both get easier with experience, are simpler with less people, and neither is ever finished.
- When you apply for a job, try to get a full job description and review it line by line, thinking of everything you ever did that might have prepared you for that duty. This will help you to tailor your resume to the position and prepare you for the interview.
- On the same subject, if someone asks you why they should hire you, give them a reason. Even if it’s just, “I’ll do a good job for you, and you won’t be sorry.”
- If you’re on the other side of the fence doing the hiring, it’s wise to consider what my friend Lynn calls the “pain in the ass guideline.” That is, it’s usually (though not always) best to hire the person who will be the least pain the the ass. If you have to redesign your whole schedule or anything else to accommodate their needs, you may want to think twice before hiring them.
- If you choose to have children — pick your battles. In fact, that’s good advice all around. There are some things worth fighting about and some that aren’t. You get to decide for yourself which is which.
- Be grateful.
Oh, and try to see Jimmy Buffett at least once if you can.
And now, I’ll sign off with words much wiser than any I could write. Words to live by from Max Ehrmann.
Written by Max Ehrmann in 1927
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, And remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly & clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing future of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness. Beyond wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.