Something else I enjoy is reminiscing about the lessons I have learned over the years, and how much has changed, even though sometimes it feels as though nothing has.
I am still me. At 45, I am still an only child - spoiled and a bit selfish. I like to play with makeup and I like picking outfits, including accessories. I don't like being inconvenienced and I don't understand people who don't mind sharing a bathroom. I love to baby my cat, but have no regrets that I never had an actual baby of my own. I'm really just 5-year-old me playing dress-up and dolls, but with a drivers license and a few gray hairs.
I've also learned that life never stops teaching us lessons. At one time, I thought I just needed to get to my twenties and I'd have it all figured out. Now, I wonder if I ever will.
Maybe that's the biggest lesson of all. Maybe we really know a lot more than we realize as kids, looking at life full of wonder and hope, through lenses shaded with innocence; no prejudice, no worry, no hate, no fear. Maybe everything we go through shapes us, but also strips away some of that innocence. Maybe the real lesson is that we need to find a way to get it back.
Some lessons are big and profound; some are small and practical. Every one of them matters. Here are a few of mine from the last almost-half-a-century (gulp).
I have learned...
...not everyone is going to like me, and that needs to be OK. The alternative is that I spend all my time trying to please everyone, and in the end, I'll please no one, least of all myself.
...good makeup is a wise investment. It lasts longer, and gives me confidence, which I deserve.
...I can't like everyone - but I should be kind to everyone; my behavior reflects on me, not them.
...I need to forgive those who hurt me - partly because they deserve it, but mostly because I do.
...those who think they don't need therapy or medication are usually the ones who need it the most.
...no matter what I say, there will always be those who will make it about themselves, or find a way to use it against me. These are not my people.
...no matter how bad things seem, the bad times are not permanent. Neither are the good times.
...it's not knowing the answer, but rather knowing where to find the answer, that makes a person smart.
...facts rarely make a difference in an argument; neither does the truth.
...no relationship is more sacred than the one you have with your hair stylist or nail technician.
...choose my battles wisely - I am not required to attend every fight to which I am invited.
...buying a brand new car is an unwise use of money, and not nearly all it's cracked up to be.
...no matter how many TV shows are invented, I will never tire of NCIS or West Wing.
...if I try hard enough, and don't give up, I can find the job of my dreams.
...I was born with tremendous privilege and it's my duty as a human to use that privilege to help others.
...if someone is meant to be in my life, God will find a way to put him there; if he is not, God will find a way to remove him.
...faith will carry me through anything.
...people, even couples, are not meant to share bathrooms, email addresses, or Facebook accounts.
...I may not be meant for marriage, but that does not mean I am not meant for love.
...I am better off showing people my true self, rather than who they want to see.
...my faith is important, and part of that is being true to myself in the most Christ-like way I can.
...another part of my faith is to speak up for those who can't speak up for themselves.
...a person can make a huge impact on someone simply by showing up.
...sometimes, the calories just don't count.
...no life is worth more than another.
...memories are fun, and photos make great memories.
...it is far better to give and do for others than it ever is to receive.
...as I get older, skincare is more important than eyeshadow.
...I am beautiful, even if I am not beautiful to everyone.
...of all the places I have been, my favorite place to be is home.
...no matter how tough life can get, it is worth moving forward.
...home ownership is not for me.
...there is a difference between compromise and settle.
...it's important to have one email address where you can direct all the junk.
...I am more of a cat person than a dog person, but I can fall in love with any animal.
...at least a small part of me will always think I am not good enough.
...I have always had anxiety and depression, I just didn't know the words until I was 34.
...I would have made a terrible mother, and I am happy to have dodged that bullet, both for myself and the child I once considered having.
...I don't need to agree with someone to respect them - or even like them.
...I am not always right, and I should listen to other points of view.
...even when I am wrong, my opinion is valid, and deserves respect. So do the opinions of others.
...we have no idea what others are battling - so be kind.
...every ending really does lead to a beginning.
...I put a high value on convenience, and make no apologies.
...I am so glad and grateful I kept going even when I wanted to quit.