Today I will have reached another decade. When I was younger, I can remember thinking that 70 was ancient! And here I am. I have learned so much through my years and often think it is such a shame that it takes a lifetime to gain wisdom. If only I had known these things when I was younger. So, I want to share 70 lessons I have learned through the years (in no particular order). Not everything was learned from personal experience . . . well, maybe some of them were.
1. Despite my brother thinking my mom had a hard time delivering me because I would not put the book away, I really did not come out reading. Learn to read.
2. People say, “I could just squeeze those cute little cheeks,” DON’T.
3. Spiders are creepy, crawly, things.
4. Volunteer to catch grasshoppers for your uncles to use as bait for fishing. They may pay you a penny each.
5. Every 5-year-old covers their face for pictures. Just roll with it.
6. See Dick and Jane run really was a thing. Just change the names and ask my siblings what happened when someone yelled, “Snake.”
7. Some people move a lot. Just learn to roll with it.
8. No, butter really does not make a sunburn better. Use sunscreen and avoid skin cancer.
9. Everyone needs to read “Little Women” and “Pride and Prejudice” at least once.
10. Blowing bubbles from bubble gum isn’t as easy as some people make it look. Neither is whistling.
11. There are worse things than being picked last for the team. But I can’t think of too many.
12. Have a dictionary handy when you read “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
13. Always wear your seat belt. Just in case you are in a car that rolls over.
14. First crushes are hard.
15. Understand that sometimes even the young die. Do not say God needed them in heaven.
16. Find a brother-in-law with nerves of steel when he tries to teach you to drive a stick shift.
17. Find a brother-in-law who does not yell when you tell him, “I think I hit your truck with your car.” (his brand new Dodge Charger car)
18. Finish high school.
19. Everyone should have their heart broken once.
20. Make life-long friends.
21. It is good for you to live away from home.
22. Work hard at a job that makes a difference for others.
23. Find a hobby that makes you happy.
24. Don’t be in a rush to get married young, but if you do, choose wisely.
25. Take care of your toes, especially protect them from bookshelves.
26. You may wish the earth would just open up and swallow you when you are embarrassed, but it won’t.
27. There is such a thing as arachnophobia. Don’t make fun of people with it.
28. Be grateful for indoor plumbing, then you do not have to worry about a spider biting you in the butt while you are in the outhouse.
29. It is okay to switch careers if it makes you happier.
30. Look for the good in people.
31. Don’t believe everything you read on social media.
32. Don’t wash your hair at work.
33. Let your promises mean something.
34. Spend wisely, save thriftily, and give generously.
35. A small kindness goes a long way.
36. Courage is doing the right thing at the right time.
37. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride. (My mom’s favorite saying.)
38. Don’t fall into walls or trip over curbs. Choose a soft landing when possible.
39. Being pregnant at 39 is a lot different than being pregnant at 30.
40. Tell your children you love them every single day.
41. Get plenty of sleep before you have children because it goes downhill from there.
42. Making comparisons is the fastest way to becoming dissatisfied with life.
43. Be humble. Be kind. Be loving.
44. Find out other people’s stories. They shape who they have become.
45. Learn to identify toxic friendships and avoid them like the plague.
46. There is always that “one” in the family. Love them, but don’t let them rule your life.
47. You are never too old to learn.
48. Make a bucket list and actually do some of the things on it.
49. Traveling to another country helps you understand you are not the only cultures out there.
50. Let your grandkids call you “squishy” because you know it is true.
51. You will not die from public speaking, but you may think you will. Do it anyway.
52. Admit to your mistakes. I have become a pro in this area.
53. Develop a strong sense of humor, but never at the expense of someone else.
54. Many friendships are just for a season in life. But there are also many you need to hold on to. Find friends to laugh with, to cry with, and to vent with on occasion.
55. It really is a small world when friends from Oklahoma, Missouri, and Ohio meet in Branson.
56. Think before you speak. Don’t tell your friend the stubble on her legs looks like a Christmas tree farm. To clarify, I had been in an accident, and it was the first time I ever was on pain pills and muscle relaxers.
57. Do not let a bad past define you. Choose a better today so you will have a better tomorrow.
58. Hug your loved ones tight and tell them you love them. They may be gone tomorrow.
59. Dance, especially when no one is watching.
60. Do not let fear stop you from stepping out in faith and taking a risk.
61. If God tells you to do something, do it. Even when it means stepping out of your comfort zone.
62. Tarantulas are not pets. You will never convince me they are.
63. The greatest commandments are still to love God and love others.
64. Don’t be afraid to tell others about Jesus. Won’t it be nice to see them in heaven?
65. Chocolate is not a necessity of life. Anything with bread, however, well . . .
66. Things are just things. Build a life on what truly matters. You can’t take things with you when you die.
67. Be hospitable and open your home to others, even when the house does not look “perfect.”
68. Integrity matters.
69. Spider bites are a thing. They require strong antibiotics.
70. Making Jesus the Lord of my life is the best decision I ever made.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)