There are some things that, as time passes, I’ve come to learn. Here’s a short, current list:
1. Always choose an experience or opportunity over the acquisition of material things.
2. Risk is inevitable. You take them, thoughtfully or recklessly, or eventually you run the risk of being a victim of your indecision.
3. When you’re young, you think of how you want to live. When you get older, you start thinking of how you want to die. Which may explain why you see so many people over 50 who are exercising and watching their diet.
4. When you’re young, you think of what you can get for yourself. When you get older, you think of what you can leave behind for others.
5. People make their choices. With few exceptions, people are where they are by their own doing. And by a certain age, the dye is cast and they cannot change. This makes helping people tricky: how do you help someone who’s going to make the same mistake again and again? But you still have to be charitable. Where there is life, there is hope.
6. Talk about free will all you want, but destiny has a big hand in the game. It is silent and invisible, but you will learn to recognize it. When you recognize it, accept it. There is no negotiating with it.
7. Giving advice is truly difficult, for we never truly know another person’s situation. If we know them well, we may be a part of their problem. Set an example ten times before giving advice once. And never, ever give unsolicited advice unless a life is in danger.
8. Life is short, but certain moments are eternal.
9. The opinions of others matter not. The truth is, others probably aren’t thinking about you at all.
10. Diplomacy is important and can make the worst news bearable. It also preserves the dignity of the recipient.
11. Candor, though painful, never killed anybody. It can also be a real time saver.
12. They don’t make them like they used to. In time, you will know the truth of this statement. If you find something you like and use it, and it works perfectly well just the way it is, it will be changed. And it is maddening. The only advice I have is that, once you have located such a product, purchase as many or much of it as you possibly can. Ration it. Use it wisely. Take care of it. Make it last as long as you can, and pray that it will remain the same.
13. Things are never as bad (or as good) as the media portrays them to be. Why? Because the really dangerous things happening in the world are generally kept secret until it’s too late. Think about the Great Depression, the atomic bomb, and perhaps about the real value of the dollar bill you have in your wallet. Also, every generation has its advantages and challenges. With the present generation, that would be social media and attention span, respectively.