43 years ago on this date, I came stomping into this place we call the world. I have had a decent amount of time in this world now to have great success and some failures too. Life is all about growing and learning. Birthdays seems like a good enough time to do some reflection, and at this age, probably a lot healthier than gobbling down copious slices of birthday cake. Here are 43 things that I've learned while doing this thing we call living. It happens to fit with the number of years that I've been kicking around (or I maybe I did it on purpose).
1. There is no limit to the amount of times you can tell and show your family and friends that you love them.
2. Trust people until they give you a reason not to trust, then cautiously give them a second chance when time has passed.
3. Laugh every day.
4. Find a career where you feel you're making a positive difference in the world.
5. If you're generous then you'll feel abundant.
6. Believe that your dreams have come true and treat every day as if it is the truth.
7. Be grateful.
8. If you're a parent or aunt or uncle or grandparent, spend quality time with your kids, because their youth holds some eternal truths.
9. The world isn't getting worse, but we are just more aware of its sins.
10. You can't always control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond.
11. Positive thinking is not a denial that bad things happen, but rather not allowing those bad things to control us and knowing we can turn them into something great.
12. If you enter a debate with the goal of winning then you've already lost.
13. If you give out love freely then you'll never truly be alone.
14. Being kind, compassionate and generous are the attributes of true heroes.
15. You can always know more about every subject and issue.
16. Labels are great for canned goods but horrible for people.
17. Art is the greatest treasure of society.
18. Being right is rarely the most important thing in a situation.
19. Always assume the best, and if it doesn't turn out that way, work to make it true.
20. When doing a debate or discussion or analysis for an audience then overblown theatrics and magnified responses are necessary for entertainment and engagement, but for day-to-day private encounters, it is understated and compassionate responses that are the key for connection.
21. Only a fool tries to make a list that exceeds twenty points.
22. Forgive yourself.
23. Choose to remember the good things even if your brain says it is distorting reality.
24. Give people as many chances as you'd like them to give you.
25. Create something beautiful every day. Painting. Poem. Photograph. Relationship. Woodwork. Sculpture. Business. Encouragement. Game. Friendship. Drawing. Story. Song. Sock puppet. Whatever lifts your soul and makes the world better.
26. If someone had something that you wish you had or has achieved something that you want or appears to have a much better life then celebrate them and be happy for them. Let them know how proud you are of them. If you're happy for others, then happiness will come much more quickly to you.
27. Genuinely encourage one person every day.
28. Decide to be the person you want to be now. Be gentle on yourself the moment that you forget, and then get back to being that person.
29. Challenge yourself.
30. Be patient.
31. Be silly and playful.
32. It is okay to fail. It is not okay to believe the failure is the end result. Use your failures as the lessons and motivations for great success and achieving your dreams.
33. Take a big chance and risk every day. Whatever that means to you.
34. Say 'I love you' even when you know you won't hear it back.
35. When something doesn't work out and your instinct is to find someone to blame, then blame yourself. Then take the responsibility to fix it.
36. Being afraid isn't weak. The bravest people are often afraid but find a way to do it anyway.
37. Live in the moment.
38. The best good deeds are the ones done in silence.
39. Care deeply about the actual person rather than what they think about you.
40. Do the things that you expect a well-mannered kid to do.
41. Time is priceless.
42. Celebrate every small achievement, because they motivate you to continue to add them up to something amazing.
43. No matter your age, this can be the year you do something great.