Another chapter in what I'm now calling my Dear John Letters.
Thursday, October 22, 2020 is one of those dates that - if I'm honest about - I never really thought about until recently.
When you're 18, 55 looks SO FAR OFF!
When you're 30, 55 still seems a fair distance away
When you're 40, 55 starts to become a visual on the horizon
When you're 50, 55 now becomes a GOAL!!
The last two days have been full of reflective thoughts on the things I'd tell me if I could turn the clock back in time. Here are #'s 31 to 45...
31. Everyone is carrying something in their emotional suitcase. Some may hide it better, but that doesn't mean they're better than you. Learn one of the greatest traits you can possess - empathy. As Stephen Covey would say, "seek to understand, then to be understood."
32. 'IT' happens very fast! You will blink; you will put tasks and duties ahead of priorities - we all have done it. Just know that TIME DOES FLY! Slow down; take it in; live your life with a purpose to be able to look back with joy; not full of should have's.
33. Worry, shame and regret are gifts that come from the enemy. You don't have to accept them.
34. Anything that pulls your focus away from the worship of God is an idol. Anything! Work, money, your kids, your wife, your hobbies, your sexual desires. You WILL serve a master in your life. You get to choose what or who that master is.
35. Pain comes in two forms - the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Choose wisely.
36. The voices of the naysayers and opposition will always seem to be louder than the voices of your fans and cheerleaders. Don't listen. Tune them out!
37. The biggest naysayer and opponent? He lives in your head! Shut down the negativity by doing one simple thing. See #38
38. Read EVERY DAY. Soak up knowledge. That naysayer and opponent that lives in your head can be either the laziest or strongest muscle in your body. Train it daily to absorb knowledge; goodness; laughter; wisdom; fantasy, adventure. What you feed it is what it will feed your soul when the silence around you is deafening.
39. Bonds are built with others by hanging around, breaking bread, laughing, sharing, listening, talking. Be intentional about spending face-to-face time with those you care about. It's amazing what a simple weekly breakfast at McDonald's can do to build a life-long bond with a 6-year-old girl.
40. This too shall pass. To date, you have survived 100% of your toughest days. Keep pressing on. When you are in the middle of the trial or the test, it may feel hopeless. Remember all that you have endured, all that you have survived and know that THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
41. Learn to dance. It costs nothing, it lasts a lifetime & it will help you sweep that lady off her feet in the kitchen or living room when times are tough.
42. Start saving for retirement NOW. It seems a long way off, but it goes by faster than you think (see #32 above).
43. It's never too late to start. Anything. Saving, dancing, laughing, a new job. The toughest step is that first one. Take it. Risk it. Get going.
44. Find mentors and role models. There is wisdom that others can speak into your life and keep you grounded as you travel this road. Find people that will keep you grounded and focused, intent on your goals - personally, professionally, financially, spiritually.
45. Learn a skill that can also be a hobby. Work on cars; do woodwork; build things; garden - something that you can also spend time doing with your kids while passing on a trade/hobby
Tomorrow (10/22) marks the day the calendar flips and another 1-10 gray hairs pop up on my head - or fall out!
Tomorrow will also be the day that I cap the list off with #'s 46-55...and maybe a few extra thoughts.