Last week, I celebrated turning 50. I spent the day relaxing with my husband and kids, which is exactly what I wanted to do with the ones I love most.
The next day, I sat down and journaled, reflecting on my life so far – amazing moments and unbelievable heartache over the years. I ended up having an interesting conversation with my younger self.
Don’t worry, I’m a writer, so these schizophrenic conversations with myself are totally normal. I took away my titles, like, ‘wife’ and ‘mom’, and just focused on me, as an individual. Bottom line – I’ve come a long way, baby.
I wanted to share you what I learned. Here are..
Fifty Life Lessons I Wished I’d Known at 25
1. Life can be both wonderful and terrible, all at the same time. Don’t panic.
2. It’s easy to fall in love. Be with someone you respect.
3. You never ‘arrive’ in life. There are always new lessons to learn.
4. Pleasing others is a drain. Focus on honoring yourself.
5. Being kind to yourself works so much better than punishing yourself.
6. You’d NEVER talk to others the way you speak to yourself. Change this one sooner, rather than later.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s a recipe for misery.
8. Say, “I’m sorry,” or “I was wrong”, to your kids in ways that parents never did.
9. Going to therapy may be the bravest act you ever do. It saved your 20’s.
10. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.
11. You teach people how to treat you.
12. Letting go of people who aren’t good for you is a painful, but rewarding journey.
13. Sleep is a priority. You become an inoperable wench after 9 p.m.
14. Yoga is amazing. It connects your mind, body and breath like nothing else.
15. Your faith will be your saving grace.
16. Read more and watch TV less.
17. You’ll have to learn to set boundaries and disappoint others, in order to save yourself.
18. You won’t have your shit together at 50. That’s okay.
19. Sharing trips and experiences with your family is 100x better than giving each other ‘stuff’.
20. Stop fearing failure. Make it your friend and learn from it.
21. Don’t give up on your dreams. It’ll take 20 years to publish your first novel.
22. Spend time alone with your thoughts every day.
23. Do #22 more.
24. Laughing is your favorite pastime.
25. Sometimes, it’s hardest to forgive yourself. Try to anyway.
But Wait! There’s More…
26. You can’t undo the past. Work to make your todays and tomorrows better.
27. Allow others to be imperfect.
28. You’re much more of an introvert at 50 than the extrovert you were at 25.
29. If loving someone involves lots of drama and tears, that’s not love.
30. You’ll no longer care if others like you. (!)
31. Be with REAL people. Folks brave enough to share the good, the bad and the ugly of their lives.
32. You don’t rock a bikini like you did at 25, but you’re so much more comfortable in your own skin.
33. Don’t be afraid to try new things: scuba diving, cooking classes, a new haircut.
34. Your thoughts control your actions. Your actions control your beliefs. Your beliefs control your life.
35. Don’t be stingy with saying, “I love you,” to those who deserve it.
36. Tell the truth. It’s easier than keeping up with lies.
37. Cultivate gratitude. It makes a world of difference in your attitude.
38. Stop putting off your dreams until tomorrow. You might wait until it’s too late.
39. Don’t waste time envying other people’s lives. Invest in making yours the best.
40. Perfectionism is a socially acceptable form of abuse.
41. The world is made of Somebodies and Nobodies. Treat everyone as if they’re a Somebody.
42. You can’t undo your childhood, but you’re responsible for your happiness in adulthood.
43. Be flexible. Life rarely goes as planned.
44. You’ll find for what you search for in life – positive or negative.
45. Resentment eats at your soul. Let it go.
46. Practice following your intuition, so you’ll trust it more when big decisions come along.
47. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from trying.
48. Figure out what you want out of life, then go for it. One step at a time.
49. Being real is so much sexier than looking cool.
50. Be good to yourself. If you aren’t, why should anyone else be?
And, one to grow on…
51. When life feels out of control, double-down on the basics: exercise, eat healthy and get enough sleep.
I look forward to the next part of my journey…
With which of these can you identify? Do you have any other Life Lessons you’d like to share?
Please leave a comment. I’ve missed y’all and want to talk!
Pick up your FREE copy today of the mystery, The Moon Rises at Dawn (SkipJack Publishing). Read, enjoy, repeat.
Great list Marcy – I could write 1000 words about every one of these 🙂 Thanks
Marcy Mason McKay
That’s your homework assignment, Philip! GO! 🙂
Marcy, the one I really struggle with is forgiving myself for mistakes in the past. This is really hard. I recently saw a graphic that said something like: Don’t let your past determine your future. Or something like that. Anyway, great stuff–all 50 of these!
Marcy Mason McKay
I hear you, Linda. I’ve forgiven myself for some things in the past, but not all. I don’t know why either, because I KNOW I can’t undo the past, but part of me still holds on.
Oh, well. Practice makes PROGRESS. You’re such a sweetheart.
“Practice makes progress” is my new life motto.
Oh yeahhhh, Adan. As a recovering perfectionist, I have to remind myself of this one A LOT. 🙂
Patsy Rae Dawson
Congratulations on being such a wise sage at 50!!! I love every one of these, but my top 3 are #29, #40, and #46. And yes, they’re so good I read them 3 times to determine my top 3.
Yep, we’re a lot alike, Patsy Rae. We’re both perfectionists and “fixers” of other people. Glad we’re both undoing the damage of those tendencies. PROGRESS! 🙂
Happy 50th! Great list, Marcy. It totally resonated with me at 56 years old. I just got back from visiting my dad and sorting through my deceased mother’s stuff. Losing a parent has definitely changed my perspective. Life is so short and there’s no time for anything but joy, caring and sharing, self love and loving and helping others. We must do it now not some day. And have experiences instead of giving and having so much stuff! Oh yes! My mom was such a clutter bug and I wonder how she could enjoy all that stuff when it was taking over the place, especially her magazines as she had so many subscriptions. I’m sure the magazine industry is suffering without her. She did enjoy them, I suppose but I see them as excessive now. I don’t have any magazine subscriptions and it’s staying that way!
WOW, Cathy. I can tell you 100% know what I’m talking about. Everything you shared resonated with me, but my FAVORITE is, “We must do it now not some day.”
Amen, hell yeah, and a big HALLELUJAH to everything you said. Good luck in grieving with your mom. My dad died in 1987, so I understand the power/pain of losing a parent.
I havent read you for ages. Wise words those yours. A proverb of my folk (my people) says.
At the age of twenty we want to change the world. At thirty we want to change our country. At the age of forty we want to change our family and at the âge of fifty we want to change ourselves.
I am sixty three and i have not succeeded to change neither the world, neither my country, neither my family neither myself.
Don’t change Marcy, you are a wise lady.
I always love hearing from you, Madani. Here’s what I said to my critique group last night:
At 20, I was TERRIFIED at becoming an adult.
At 30, I was just learning to be comfortable in my own skin.
At 40, I was mad that I hadn’t accomplished more (like publishing a novel).
At 50, I’m more patient with my imperfections. I’m still a work in progress.
Beth Barany (@Beth_Barany)
I love all of these, Marcy! I especially love 48. Figure out what you want out of life, then go for it. One step at a time.
Another one of mine is: Take time to dream. Then take daily action, even 1 minute per day.
Thanks, Beth. Your Life Lesson is awesome, too. Dreams don’t come true, unless you commit to them with small, daily action.
What an awesome, insightful list. Thank you for sharing it with the world. Happy birthday! As they said at the end of The Sex and the City movie while toasting Samantha with Cosmos, “Here’s to the next 50!” xo
Thanks, Robyn. Life ain’t easy, but it’s the only one I’ve got, so I’m trying to make the best of it! 🙂
Happy 50th. It’s only the beginning of a beautiful journey!
I like your thinking. Thanks for the happy thought!
Marcy – I pretty much identify with all of them – with an added note to #18 – you won’t have your shit together at 60 either! 🙂
Say it ain’t so, Jack! I was supposed to have all my i’s dotted, and t’s crossed by 60. Sigh.
Oh well, I guess I’ll just keep on living…
Words of wisdom from one is is 50 + 1 …
As Jack says above, the shit resists coming together no matter what the age. I still look to those who are older than me and hope that I can be as peaceful and prosperous as they are, and then I wonder … do they feel that way?
Maybe it’s the difference between what we perceive about ourselves and how others see us. Which leads me to suggest #52: Be as generous in your assessment of your own life and accomplishments as you are with those of others who are either younger or older than you. In other words, give yourself more credit!
Now I must go and pay special heed to #51.
Cheers the next 50!!
Thank you for that reminder, T.O. One more time, I need to extend the grace I offer so freely to others. HELL to YES on all your insights. Sage advice.
Happy Birthday, Marcy! Thank you for such a lovely gift. 18 made me smile – I’ve only recently realised that no-one gets it all done, ever! 30 and 31 have been big realisations for me in the last couple of years. And loads of other gems in there – thank you for sharing 🙂
Since those are the lessons you connected to Marie, it sounds like you’re on the right track. Keep up the good work!
Hey Marcy – just wanted to let you know that I think you have always done a great job with #41 and I’ve always respected that about you! Also, I think I roomed with you when you discover #13…?
Awwwm Ames, thanks for the compliment on #41, and are you kidding me on #13? You’re the one who TOLD ME that!
You informed that come 9 pm, I became an inoperable wench.
I said, “That’s NOT very nice.”
You said, “Nooooo, it’s not.”
HA! Good times @ BU. xo – m3
I love #30!! Finally at age 42, I don’t care that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea!
Good words Marcy! Happy 50th friend.
#30 was a big revelation for me, too, Natalie. Love you!
Coming to this realization myself and it’s freeing! Many happy thoughts to both of you and thanks for the wisdom, Marcie. Happy birthday my friend!
You’re a very REAL person, Keith. It’s one of the many things I appreciate about our friendship. Thanks for always being there for me!
Oh sheesh, Marcy! These were outstanding! At 54, I’m working on all of these at one point or another in my life; not always easy, but you know what? When I “get it”, life is just that much more satisfying. Life’s a journey, it’s up to you to decide that your past doesn’t define you, it’s in the past. Live with love in your heart, a backbone, and some serious laughter to brighten your day. Well, that and donuts. Gotta have donuts.
You bring up an outstanding point. Life is such a journey and a process. I feel like I have all these mastered, then something comes along and knocks me to my knees. I don’t feel like I have ANYTHING understood, much less mastered!
#37 is my fave! I am older than you, Marcy, being thankful has been a big deal in my life. Like the turtle on top of the fence post, we didn’t get where we are without help. Happy birthday, Marcy. Thank you for sharing your creativity with me.
You’re so right, John. Cultivating gratitude is so important. If we are grateful for what we have, why should God give us more? Thanks for taking time out to connect with me. You’re so great!
Happy birthday, Marcy!! Such a youngster you are! Love, love, love all of these–except #21. Afraid 20 years isn’t long enough for me…?
You’re such a gem, Karen. Don’t worry that it’ll take longer than 20 years, just keep working out it. You have WONDERFUL stories inside you. Really compelling ideas. I look forward to the day I buy YOUR book! 🙂
Great work, Marcy! Really enjoyed reading the list. Many of your observations resonated with me, too. Keep up the good work!
Thanks, Barbara. It really takes commitment to take care of ourselves, which I really hate sometimes. However, the alternative is even more painful, so I keep trudging along. xo – m3
Marcy, Happy Birthday, and congratulations! You are and always were aware of the world and trying to figure it out. I love watching you live it and reading your thoughts. You’re a special person that I’m so glad I met so long ago. I have printed your list and at almost 70, maybe, I can use it to smooth some edges in my life. Love you, Jan
You’re so sweet, Jan. I’ve loved and admired you for a VERY long time, so I appreciate your kind words. LOVE YOU!
Went through 8, 10, and feel good about now.
Working on 14 now.
**28 I identify the most with & is hitting the nail on the head although people that are like me that have experienced it are the only other people that believe it, get it, and understand it.
31 – yes, not being with real people can sometimes cause 39 …
*49 – I’ve always believed this and believe keeping it REAL is totally sexy!
Happy 50th!! You are very real and I see you as a humble beautiful person. Im glad we are friends Marcy. ?
Yep, you’re definitely doing the hard work on soul-searching. Good for us both. I’m so glad we’re friends, too. Let’s keep keeping it real! 🙂
Great list, Marcy. The one I love the most is how life is never about arriving. We are always reaching for something just around the next corner. It seems to be our human nature. But when we get there, it’s the next corner we start glaring at. It is freeing to realize that as long as we are breathing, life is going to be a never-ending journey. Maybe death is the “arrival” or not. 🙂 Thanks for posting such an insightful list.
Beautifully said, Jan. Life really is about the journey, not the destination. Thanks for your insights. XO – m3
Happy Birthday Marcy! Thanks for sharing the great insights. Life is a journey and we should always adjust our attitudes for what life gives us. The key is to live in the present, for the past is gone and the future is a day away. You will experience more wisdom when you are 60. Believe me….more inner peace and joy will embrace you! Keep up the good work in sharing my friend!
Hello, sweet, Kathy. Great to hear from you. I agree with you about the need to adjust our attitudes. “Modify and adapt,” is what I always say!
Hope you’re doing well. Thanks for dropping by.
Ones life could be significantly enriched by picking one of these each week to deeply focus on, practice, and incorporate. I’m going to challenge myself to that starting right now…hmm, which one to pick.
Urgh, wish I hadn’t made this challenge on week 32 ;-(
Well, hello, Bekki! As you know, even though we have 52 weeks in each year, it’s not all nice and neat. Just focus on which one “speaks to you” most, then hang with it for as long as you need to. I’m DELIGHTED that you’re here, and hope you’ll come back! ;0
Happy Birthday Marcy! I can identify with a lot of these. Too many to list. This past week a friend of mine lost her 21 year old son due to a drug overdose. So, I think for me No. 35 would have to be the one that stands out for me the most.
Oh, wow. I’m so sorry for you friend. Addiction wrecks so many lives, so you’re right. Saying, “I love you,” is imperative because we never know what tomorrow holds. I’m glad your friend has you in her corner.
Thanks for the comment and take care.
Wise words, Marcie. Said from an the “older by one year” writer. 😉
Glad you enjoyed your birthday!!
It was a great birthday, Anita. Thanks for your well wishes. Fifty rocks so far!
I came across this post today. I laughed and cried. I am at a crossroads in my life. An aspiring writer since I got my first library card at age 7, yet here I sit at 35 with no action to back up that desire. Thank you for your inspiration! I needed to see this today 🙂
I can so relate, Kristal! When I turned 40, I was grateful to be grabbing another decade, but SEETHING inside that I hadn’t published my novel yet.
Feel free to read any of my blog posts..my journey might give you more inspiration. You’re also welcome to email me to discuss privately: email@example.com.
YOU CAN DO IT! Marcy
Great list, Marcy! Thanks for the reminders. Hope your birthday was extra, extra special. And now on to greater things in the next 50!
It was a great birthday, Natalie! It was a wonderful birthday and I’m ready for this new decade!
13 is definitely not mine………….enough sleep is necessary, but I’m not able to react before noon 😀
the rest of the statements I can live with 😉
haha, nice article, loved to read it, but fact is also, that you have to let your children make their lessons themselves
You’re so right, Bettina. Thanks for stopping by!