45 Things I’ve Learned in 45 Years

1. Happiness that comes from the outside only lasts a little while.

2. The more I have, the more I fear losing what I have.

3. Don’t overcook scrambled eggs.

4. All the lyrics to all the songs in The Sound of Music. And I’m finally okay admitting that to the world.

5. Everything decays.

6. Naps are a gift from God.

7. I am no smarter than my parents.

8. I am no smarter than my kids.

9. Pain usually makes me better or worse but rarely leaves me unchanged.

10. The best thing in life is a really good conversation.

11. People are prettier when they smile and stand up straight.

12. What I eat affects my feelings more than just about anything.

13. Getting past my upbringing is only half of my journey toward maturity; coming back to it on friendly terms is the other.

14. It’s hard emotionally to lose your hair.

15. There are always new things to learn.

16. Writing brings my crazy thoughts together and marches them in a straight line.

17. Eating french fries in the car makes my car smell like french fries for four days.

18. Multitasking makes me feel crazy in the head.

19. Most people who have hurt me didn’t do it on purpose.

20. Dogs have hilarious ears.

21. Nothing is as big a deal as I thought it was when I was 25.

22. Life is always a little painful, a little scary, and a little unsatisfying.

23. I will never be a professional athlete or musician or astronaut. Sorry, eleven-year-old me.

24. No matter how much I try to change myself I usually end up back where I was pretty much, but a little wiser for trying.

25. I don’t have to follow my feelings.

26. When I hurt people it’s usually because I’m feeling unhappy myself.

27. I get more respect because I’m tall.

28. Junk food is less tempting the older I get.

29. I often get to choose how I feel.

30. I always get to choose how I respond.

31. Death scares me less the closer I get to it.

32. New experiences make me uncomfortable at first, then happy in the end.

33. I’m at my best when I’m honest with myself about my deepest motivations.

34. I don’t like the Grateful Dead, Eddie Vedder, or Prince. But I’ve learned not to say these things out loud, because people come unfastened when I do.

35. Whenever I’m feeling bad, the thing I think is making me feel bad is usually not the thing that’s really making me feel bad.

36. Shopping makes me more tired than anything in the world.

37. Before people lie to you, they usually lie to themselves first.

38. There is no sound on earth happier than my ten year old boy giggling, especially when I caused it.

39. Radical liberals and radical conservatives are basically the same type of people.

40. When I feel insulted I become a horrible listener.

41. As a white male living in 21st century America, I need to think long and hard before I complain about anything in my life, ever.

42. When I make a habit of being critical, I see the world as critical of me. When I make a habit of lying, I think everyone’s lying to me. When I feel incompetent, everyone around me seems incompetent too. But when I manage to be encouraging, optimistic, giving, and loving, suddenly the world looks that way too. It’s weird, and it sounds trite, but it’s so true. I create my own reality.

43. My kids often forget the things I wish they’d remember, and remember the things I wish they’d forget.

44. Every close friendship gets difficult once in a while. But it’s so worth it.

45. Getting old is way, way better than I was led to believe.

 

25 thoughts on “45 Things I’ve Learned in 45 Years

  1. Great list Mark.

    While I realize all such lists are highly personal, this is an excellent list. I do have two comments though:

    #2, really isn’t the way it is. If you truly love something, you can turn it loose, especially if it benefits the one loved. That does not keep it hurting worse than death.

    #39, is a fact that many more people need to wake up to.

  2. Mark I love your take on life. Dude,I think you’re my long lost brother!
    I can’t relate to #27 (sorry). I totally agree with 22through 23 and love #38 and 43.

  3. I think you missed the target on number 45. You might want to wait a few years before you make that statement. Forty-five is the speed of a single record on vinyl or the caliber of a pistol or the speed limit on S. 1st, but to some of us, it does not clissify as old. Getting old is when you can’t find your glasses to see where you put them. Old is when you get up from your easy chair and your wife reminds you the door hinges need some WD40. Old is when the doctor starts using the phrase, “at your age,” to explain away some of the aches and pains you think are at least life threatening. Old is when they start probing, prodding and cutting pieces of you off in order to find out they have to cut larger pieces of you off in order for you to live to be older than you already are. Old is when your response to any conversation initiated by someone else is, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said.” Old is when the hair you lost from your head starts growing out of your ears. I’m not sure 45 qualifies you on any of the above criteria. Let me know what you think in another 20 or 30 years.

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  9. Just thought I’d tell you that I love this list. I have it bookmarked on my laptop and read it again every few months. It always inspires me :) And it’s interesting how new things jump out at me each time. Very insightful!

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