Note: This is the second of a two-part series. Click here for part one
Here are some of the lessons that life has taught me:
- Have something to look forward to. Always have some goal, challenge or adventure in front of you that interests or excites. Sometimes we need to be reminded that our lives are more than our day-to-day routines. So what do you want to experience or accomplish before you die? (Write down your answers to this and the following questions so you don’t forget any, because from time to time we need to refer back to these lists.)
- When you focus on what you have or what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll feel better. When you focus on what you don’t have, what has failed, what you’ve lost or what hurts, you’ll feel badly. Don’t hold on to negative feelings, and learn the art of positive self-talk.
- Answer this question: “If I were to take responsibility for my happiness, I would…”
- Life is about ebb and flow. Almost always, when things look down, you’ll bounce back.
- Sometimes not saying something is a true act of grace.
- When you quit trying in a relationship, as most people do, the connection and the closeness will deteriorate.
- Find the silver lining. Find the good in the bad. It will help you have better perspective, and it will assist you in having a more positive attitude. You locate the silver lining by discovering the meaning in your losses, failures or mistakes—and learning from them.
- Be willing to take some big risks attempting to create what you want. It’s the risks you don’t take that you’ll regret the most later on.
- Loving relationships and feeling connected to others are vital for your well-being. Give of yourself to other people, and do things that do not simply foster your goals or happiness.
- Make sure you get some physical exercise. You will feel better, and you’ll increase your chances of both living longer and of feeling more vital.
- What regenerates you? Here is a partial list of what regenerates me: vacations; crickets, hummingbirds, growing flowers and the warm weather of summertime; good sex; diving into the waves; hiking; fun or playful activities; dancing; staying in communion with my dogs and my wife (not necessarily in that order); reading a novel; and visiting with close family and friends. Can you define what regenerates you?
I would like to invite readers to write in to me ([email protected]) and tell me the important lessons life has taught you. I will print the most interesting ones in a future column.