50 Lessons on My 50th Birthday



My 50th birthday is a milestone that comes with reflection, especially after this last year of global pause. My gift to you on this prestigious occasion are these 50 lessons I’ve learned in my 50 years.

  1. My faith has held me when nothing else has.
  2. The little things are easy to miss, but they are truly the big stuff.
  3. Choose relationships over being right, earning wealth, and gaining status. People are what matters.
  4. Laugh as often as possible.
  5. Quit saving spaces in your life for people who don’t want to show up.
  6. Reduce the things in your life that steal your joy.
  7. Rhythms of rest aren’t a luxury. They are a necessity.
  8. Someday, you’ll miss the clutter and chaos of raising little ones.
  9. Marriage is two imperfect people who choose each other many times a day.
  10. Unforgiveness is like carrying around a dead body that brings decay to your own life.
  11. Bitterness from hard but necessary relationships requires regularly weeding the flower bed of your soul.
  12. The words you choose not to speak cannot be misconstrued or used against you.
  13. Hurting people will hurt other people. It often has nothing to do with you.
  14. I find peace when I remember to look at the wounds of Jesus for me rather than the wounds of others to me.
  15. Replaying offenses in my mind will sour my mind. Replaying what’s true to myself will usher in peace.
  16. No experience is wasted if there’s a lesson learned.
  17. Kids most need to know they’re loved when they are acting the most unlovable.
  18. Sometimes the strongest response to offer is a gentle approach.birthday
  19. Memory making is the best gift to give.
  20. Look for and celebrate the tiny wins.
  21. Note the tiny wins on paper as evidence for the future times you only feel losses.
  22. Moms should get IN the pictures and not just take them.
  23. Sometimes the best way to deal with a bad day is to interrupt it with something fun.
  24. Sometimes the only way to deal with a bad day is to just let it be over.
  25. Create a family culture. Have inside jokes, traditions, and routines.
  26. When kids leave home, they most value the memories made as a family, not the hours spent on a playing field or in a car running around.
  27. Don’t let childhoods get hijacked by intense competitiveness.
  28. Teenagers get a bad rap. Don’t believe the hype. Teenagers are awesome.
  29. Never quit dating your spouse.
  30. Grief never goes away; it’s lifelong. We just learn to co-exist with the void.
  31. We can’t change our heritage, but we can change our legacy.
  32. You really can’t please all the people all of the time. In fact, life is fullest when we quit the comparison and approval game altogether.
  33. People really do reap what they sow – bad or good.
  34. Most of our days we’re in the process of planting seeds rather than reaping harvest.
  35. Keep fresh flowers around – or whatever little things make you happy.
  36. Fame never satisfies humanity’s deepest needs.   
  37. The best thing to do for someone facing tragedy is just sit next to her. No words are required.
  38. When the world shuts down, it reveals what’s essential in life and what isn’t.
  39. Everyone needs more good news. Look for it and be it.
  40. birthdaycakeEveryone needs human touch like hugs and proximity.
  41. Showing grace and kindness may cost you much, but they are priceless.
  42. Don’t spend your youth amassing possessions that you’ll just want to downsize later.
  43. Never be too busy to enjoy the people in your life.
  44. When you have no idea how to ease someone’s pain, take a meal. Or send one.
  45. There is no substitute for this phrase of my Granny’s to describe something hoped for: “Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.”
  46. Read to your kids and have them read to you.
  47. Look at people’s faces more than your phone.
  48. Let drama be something you watch in a movie, not live in your life.
  49. Sometimes, tall fences do indeed make for great neighbors. Or friends. Or family members.
  50. 50 is the new 50. It’s just getting good, I’m just getting started, and the best is yet to come.



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