50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years



For my 50th birthday, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in (ahem) half a century.

  1. Life is an adventure.
  2. Find peace in the space between the ideal and reality.
  3. Always say yes to chocolate.
  4. Your past shapes you, but it doesn’t define you.
  5. Give generously; receive graciously.
  6. Your heart and your head are meant to cooperate, not to compete.
  7. Sometimes it’s OK just to be . . . not to do.
  8. Live boldly.
  9. Count your blessings.
  10. Always leave some margin in your schedule.
  11. Don’t worry about what other people think.
  12. Naps are for grown-ups too.
  13. Cook once; eat twice.
  14. Don’t try to be a lone ranger.
  15. You’ll never have more than 24 hours in a day.
  16. Rest in God’s faithfulness.
  17. Get out of your comfort zone.
  18. Eliminate, delegate, outsource.
  19. This too shall pass.
  20. Be kind.
  21. Opportunity does not equal obligation.
  22. Taking time to relax increases your productivity.
  23. Be yourself.
  24. Never stop learning and growing.
  25. Pick your battles.
  26. Solitude isn’t scary.
  27. Think big.
  28. Be flexible.
  29. Don’t always be in a hurry.
  30. A joyful heart is good medicine.
  31. Meet challenges with action, not avoidance.
  32. Write it down.
  33. Self-discipline and focus are essential ingredients of success.
  34. Treasure your friends.
  35. Don’t let fear hold you back.
  36. Read widely.
  37. Enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
  38. God’s grace is sufficient.
  39. Cultivate your creativity.
  40. Don’t wait for someday to do what matters most.
  41. Silence is golden.
  42. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  43. People are more important than things.
  44. Explore new places.
  45. The days are long, but the years are short.
  46. Say no to the good to say yes to the best.
  47. Stop and smell the roses.
  48. Sometimes less is more.
  49. Savor the beauty of God’s creation.
  50. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Which of these truths have been most important in your life? I’d love for you to add your own lessons in the comments!


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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22 thoughts on “50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years

  1. So much truth and wisdom (and humor) beautifully composed in pithy gem; whichmakes me want to turn it into a poster sized print to mount some place in front of my nose.

    • SUCH a good point, Stacey! And when our friends don’t read our minds, it’s so easy to blame them for our own failure to communicate. Slow speed is hard for me too. Lately I’ve been practicing saying “I’m not in a hurry” out loud, and it really helps. When I get in a hurry, I make stupid mistakes that slow me down even more.

  2. What a fantastic list… #10 is a must in my life, otherwise I think I might implode. You remind me of Ben Franklin (but much prettier!) and his Poor Richard’s Almanack… full of sayings and wisdom to live by. You’ve got some real pearls here. I agree with Maggie–this is a must for a poster. …or better yet, a tattoo. 😉

  3. I need to keep this handy as I still struggle to master many of these. It’s a wonderful and thoughtful list, and a great way to celebrate your birthday. Will look forward to the 50th anniversary edition.

  4. Love your list, MJ. Each one is meaningful to me. I’ll add to always stay curious and never stop learning. One of my favorite things about visiting with you is that I always learn. Love and appreciate you!

  5. 1. Love like you don’t know if there will be a tomorrow–sometimes there isn’t and it’s better to have memories than regrets.
    2. Be gentle with yourself–beating yourself up doesn’t help anything
    3. There will be time to clean when the kids are gone. Spend time with them now!
    4. Listen to your parents (or grandparents) tell their stories for the umteenth time–it’s important to them to have someone to talk to and to listen to them.
    5. Dessert first is a good rule once in a while.
    6. Stop saying I wish and start saying I will.
    7. Nothing is impossible with God.
    8. God IS in control, even when we want to be!
    9. Spend time with your kids laying on your bed talking about the day–it’s precious time!
    10. Hug often. There will be a day when you don’t get to hug that person anymore.
    11. Surprise your beloved with flowers, a gift or a dinner. Even a fast food hamburger can say I love you.
    12. Never NEVER go to bed mad!