Saturday, 21 May 2011

If it is good enough for Leo Babauta...


Image from here
Mr. Zen Habits and I have something in common. We were born in the same year. He had his 38th birthday last month and wrote this post to his children.
I thought I would take a leaf out of his book and pen some words of wisdom for my children.

38 things I have learned in my first 38 years:
  1. You will not be the best at everything. Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best (Henry van Dyke). 
  2. Work with what you have.There are no guarantees in life.
  3. Try to stay in the moment whenever you can. You can learn from the past and plan for the future but the present is where you find happiness and truth.
  4. Finding people who 'get' you is pivotal to joy. You don't need to change for people (tweak, yes); you just need to be with people who like you, warts and all.
  5. Friends will come and go throughout your life. Swings and roundabouts. Appreciate them when they are there. If you miss them when they are gone, go and find them again.
  6. It is okay to fail; what isn't okay is not to try because you think you will.
  7. Find the patterns in life. It will help you try new things and tolerate people better. Travel will help with this.
  8. Everyone has something good about them. Everyone. Sometimes it is really hard to find but it will be there. Remember this when you are stuck with difficult people and they bore you senseless. Find the good. It will help.
  9. Becoming a parent will help you find the real meaning in life. My Mum told me that and I didn't get it until it happened to me.
  10. You will never be a 'grown up'. You will mature, yes, but it feels the same in here at 38 as it did at 5.
  11. Find work that interests you. Really interests you. You spend a lot of time at work and you should be doing something that makes you happy and contented most of the time.
  12. Learn to take care of yourself; to survive on your own. You will be alone for some of your life and you want to know you can manage.
  13. Open yourself to people. You will never really know someone else if you don't let them know you.
  14. Self-discipline isn't daggy or hard-core. It is a sign of maturity and will help you stay healthy.
  15. Bite your tongue sometimes. Just because. Even if you have something incredibly witty to offer, keep it to yourself. It is an important skill to have when talking to a sexist, racist, or homophobe so it is best to get some practise.
  16. Your ideas are always unique. Express them freely.
  17. Being friends with your family is cool.
  18. Your parents will always love you more than you love them. It is a fact of life. You hurt them a lot when you think you are just hurting them a little.
  19. If you "see dead people walking around like regular people". Come and see me. I can help you.
  20. Most things can be re-purposed. I am not suggesting you hoard 'just in case' but try to re-use stuff when you can.
  21. Look after your world.
  22. Look after your body.
  23. Do not 'google' your medical symptoms on the internet; it will always lead you to think you have cancer.
  24. Slip, slop, slap. You won't be biggest fashionista on the beach but you may save yourself from skin cancer and wrinkles.
  25. Do not wear your contact lenses longer than the recommended time. It will wreck your eyes and you won't be able to wear them again when you'd like to.
  26. There was life before the internet, Wii and even television. Go and explore the outside world. It is more beautiful and inspiring than anything made by us.
  27. Learning another language was the best thing I ever did for my world perspective. We are bound by the language we speak to see the world in a particular way. Learn new words; see the world differently. It is as simple as that.
  28. Dying isn't the worst thing that could happen to you; sometimes surviving is worse. No heroics for me please.
  29. You can always handle what life throws at you. Trust me. Sometimes when the chips are down and you think you just can't take any more, you do. You tackle something else and it frees you from the downward pressure of feeling burdened.
  30. Don't try to control things. 'Things' happily control themselves.
  31. If someone is throwing up in your Dad's veggie patch, they have a problem. It is called Bulimia and it takes a long time to get over. Try to get help for them.
  32. Don't exercise on a twisted ankle. It just gets worse and takes longer to heal.
  33. Laughing truly is the best medicine. There is usually a funny side to every tale. Look for it. It will resolve most of life's stresses.
  34. There are three types of people in the world. Those who think slipping on a banana peel is funny. Those who laugh because they know the bloke who slipped. And those who laugh because they put the banana peel down in the first place.
  35. If you have read and enjoyed a book, don't go and see the movie. It will always disappoint.
  36. Finding some space in life is the best thing you can do.
  37. No-one will ever walk into a room and know how you were delivered into the world, what your HSC score was or how many dollars you have in the bank.
  38. You can never have too many pens, post-it notes, hair-bands or bobby pins. No matter how hard you try, they will always go missing (maybe they are with all the single socks that don't make it our of the washing machine?).
Happy Birthday to me! So happy that the world did not self-destruct! We are having a pyjama day and enjoying the glorious weather.

And now it is your turn to offer your words of wisdom to my children. God knows we could do with a hand here. Drop them a line in the comments. xx

26 comments:

Daisy, Roo and Two said...

Happy birthday!
I think you covered most of the important ones!
Numbers 37 and 38 rang the most true for me!!!

Cate said...

not sure I can top that list! Love #3, #8 and #22 - and #10 is so true, I didn't know that one until I grew-up and realised that I hadn't :-)
have a really great weekend MM
xxxCate

Mum on the Run said...

Happy, happy birthday.
I just love this post - and wouldn't want to ruin it by adding rubbish!
I'm 'biting my tongue' you see!!
Have a fabulous day.
wouldn't it be so wonderful if your children took on board every single one of those lessons.
:-)

Amy said...

Happy Birthday MM! Hope you have a fabulous day.

I love your list and really don't have anything to add.

I need to remember #3 more often.

I am still trying to find my own #11, but I am only 25 so still have plenty of time to find it.

Your kids are lucky to have you and all your wise words.

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Oh Happy Birthday MM, what a glorious day to celebrate your birth. I love every single one of those words - so true and so very, very inspiring. Have a fabulous, fabulous day x

Alice Becomes said...

That is one good list. Your children are very lucky to have such wisdom imparted on them! I read (over at Zen Habits coincidently) that you end up behaving like the 5 people you spend most of your time with. This is really just an extension of one of your points (number 4?)but I think it is important to consider carefully the people you spend your time with. They should be people you love to be with

Gill xo

Jacki said...

Happy Birthday!
I had my birthday this week too, it's always nice to meet a fellow Taurean! My favourite is #4 - so very, very true!

Maxabella said...

Wise, my dear sis, very wise. Those crazy kids of yours are very lucky crazy kids indeed.

See you later on. Happy birthday. x

Salamander said...

Happy birthday gorgeous!! I hope you are having an amazing day. And what a list!!! How could I possibly add to it?? (I might plagiarise it though...my kids would never know!!)
About #19: I think we might need to talk. Yes.
xxxxxxx

Catch the Kids said...

What great words. Some serious, some to laugh about. Happy Birthday!

DancingInTheRain said...

Life is a roller coaster and your Mum is a great person to have in your carriage!

Happy birthday!

therhythmmethod said...

What a wonderful list.
Listen to the little voice inside you. It knows when to duck, when to run, and when to reach.
AND always, always call your mum.
Happy birthday MM. You've fit a lot in those 38 years, hope the next 38 are just as fabulous and full. x

Mama of 2 boys said...

Wow! What a fab list. You are so clever to put all of these wonderful offerings together.
My personal faves are 10, 12, 17 and 37!
I'm really sure I don't have anything further to add to this comprehensive list, it's brilliant!
Hope you had a wonderful birthday xo

Tat said...

After so much wisdom, I'd really have to think hard before I could add anything. Happy birthday!

♥Beryllium Lithium Class of 2011 said...

Happy Birthday! :)
I totally agree with #38 ...post-it notes always disappear quickly when I'm around hehehe

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

LOVE this post :)
Happy, happy birthday, MM - hoping that it's a beautiful day x

Lizeylou said...

Hope you have had the most wonderful birthday .... While your list may be for your children it has certainly reminded me of some very important things. Love this post!!

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

A belated Happy Birthday! I hope you enjoyed every speck of your birthday weekend.
Great list, many wise words in there.

Jodi Gibson said...

Oh happy belated birthday and what a beautiful list. So many I can relate to, and particularly love #10. I so feel the same.

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

Happy belated birthday and an awesome idea !
Great advice.

MaƱana Mama said...

A great list, happy birthday! I might add: never forget to mark your birthday with a truly scrumptious, over the top birthday cake.
~M

Niki Hudson said...

Love this list! You are truly wise! I would be hard pressed to find better advice. Kudos!

Cath said...

Love the fact that you have made this list... so many people don't. I might do it too, although unfortunately, I have to think up an extra 4 - that might just break me. Talk about incentive to to do it earlier in life!

PlanningQueen said...

Everyone has something good about them.

I love this and it isone of the things I really try to teach my kids.

Such a super list.

A Farmer's Wife said...

I love your list.

Thank you.

Cath said...

Awesome list. Not looking forward to doing 42.

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