We often let the little frustrations of each day stop us from appreciating life in the present moment. But, as we grow older, we learn to detach ourselves from the drama and the chaos we once engaged in. As we age, we become more humble about life and are less willing to spend our time on vain things. Now that I’m in my fifties, here are some important life lessons that I have learned:
- Day-to-day frustrations are inevitable: Very rarely do we have full control of all situations. And, as stressful as it may be, what’s bothering us so much today won’t matter a month from now. And, with age we know this for certain.
Words of wisdom: Let go of the nonsense, stay positive, and move forward with your life.
- How perfect everything ought to be: There’s a big difference between reasonable striving and perfectionism. Perfectionism causes you unnecessary stress and anxiety, created by the superficial need to get it right. But getting lost in striving to achieve perfection prevents you from getting anything worthwhile done.
Words of wisdom: Let go of the fantasies, and the perfect moments you’ve made yourself believe.
- The intricacies of what’s in it for you: With age, you learn that you keep nothing in this life until you give it away first. This can be applied to knowledge, forgiveness, service, love, tolerance, acceptance and so on. It’s easy to forget that giving opens us up to grace.
Words of wisdom: Give, in order to receive.
- The pressure of acting immediately: While getting things done hurriedly may seem better when we are younger, in time we come to realize the importance of slow and steady work. In addition, we often believe that the big things are what will make a difference but overlook the fact that a simple smile can brighten somebody else’s day.
Words of wisdom: You cannot plant a seed and expect it to become a flower overnight.
- Wanting expensive physical possessions: Later in life we learn to pay less attention to physical possessions that used to seem so vital.
Words of wisdom: The things you really want cannot be bought.
- Winning approval from others: The strength of your conviction is what determines your level of personal success in the long run, not the number of people who agree with the things you do.
Words of Wisdom: Follow the path that promises your heart genuine peace.
- The selfish things others say and do: If we had to take everything personally, we would be offended for the rest of our days. When you detach yourself from other people’s antics you feel free.
Words of wisdom: The way people treat you is their problem. How you react is yours.
- Judging others for their shortcomings: We all have days where we are not our best. But the older we get, the more we come to realize how vital it is to give others the break that they deserve, and hope that they too will do the same on our own bad days. Truth be told, we never really know what someone has been through, or what they’re going through today.
Words of wisdom: Be kind, generous, and respectful, then be on your way.
- Blaming others: A happy person never evades responsibility or blames and points fingers at others, making excuses for their unsatisfying life. Happiness is a byproduct of your own thinking, beliefs, attitudes, character, and behavior.
Words of wisdom: You alone are responsible for how your life will unfold.
- The shallow relationships that make you feel more popular: While acquaintances are nice to have, and friendliness is a good quality, dedicate your time to those that matter most.
Words of wisdom: Your time is limited. Sooner or later you want to be around the few people who make you smile for the right reasons.
- Distant future possibilities: As we age, it becomes inevitably clear that we have more time behind us and less in front of us. As a result, the distant future gradually has less value to us on a personal level. The secret to happiness and peace is letting this moment be what it is, instead of what you think it should be. Then make the best of it.
Words of wisdom: Some people wait all day for 5pm, all week for Friday, all year for the holidays and all their lives for happiness. Don’t allow yourself to become one of these people.
- Society’s obsession with outer beauty: As we get older, what we look like on the outside becomes less of an issue. The primary point of interest lies on who we’ve become on the inside. Eventually we come to realize that beauty has almost nothing to do with looks.
Words of wisdom: Beauty lies in how we make others feel about themselves and how we feel about ourselves.