What I’ve Learned in 60 Years

This week I’m turning sixty, and although it’s a bit of a shock to realize I’ve been around six decades, there are pluses too. The saying “with age comes wisdom” has, for me, rung true. I do wish I possessed this knowledge and wisdom much earlier in life, but I don’t believe I’m alone here.

My List of What I’ve Learned

  • I realized I don’t need a man to be happy. My divorce in 2011 was extremely painful, but in the ensuing years, I’ve found my voice and what’s honestly important to me as a woman.
  • I removed the negative people and influences from my life. I really got serious about this after being diagnosed with severe Crohn’s Disease. If your boss is that negative individual, obviously that’s going to be harder. If you’re able, find a new job. I had so-called friends whose main goal in life was making others as miserable as they were. Three were downright bullies. That also meant leaving three volunteer positions due to the disapproval of supervisors, who harbored resentment towards me. The thing about downbeat behavior is that it does affect you. It’s harmful and unhealthy. Life is simply too short.
  • Surround yourself with people who are genuine, caring, and that you want to share time with. That was an advantage of my divorce – finding people I’m proud to call my friends.
  • Find your passion. Writing and volunteer work are the two things that have made my life richer and diverse beyond anything I could have imagined.
  • I’ve realized you can’t dwell on the past. Easier said than done, but I’ve discovered as I’ve matured, the past, especially the undesirable, no longer has the hold it once did.
  • I’ve learned from my mistakes so that I don’t keep repeating them. I’ve known people who make the same bad choices over and over like an endless loop.
  • I’m embracing taking risks. Whether it’s querying agents and publishers I thought were too good for me or learning to travel on my own, risk-taking can be exhilarating.
  • I’ve come to see age as just a number, something not to be feared. The adage, “You’re as old as you feel” is accurate for me. Even with a chronic disease, I’m in the best health of my life.
  • Live every day as fully as possible.

Do I have regrets? Of course. High school, anyone? I wish I’d studied harder in high school and my undergraduate years, that I had been less worried about having a man in life, tried establishing a real career as a journalist, and indulged my passions earlier. But the past is exactly that – the past. Now I focus on the here and now, with an optimistic eye toward the future.

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