I recently turned 70 years old.
The milestone had me reflecting on the past seven decades of my life… on the people who have touched it, the lessons I’ve learned, and how incredibly blessed I am. Here are lessons I’ve learned after 70 years on Earth.
Time passes much too quickly…when we’re together laughing…I wish I could sing it to you. – Beginnings by Chicago, 1969
10 Things I’ve Learned In 70 Years
1. Be authentic
Sometimes in life, people become chameleons because they want to fit in and be accepted. When you’re young, no one wants to be the student in school who is ‘different.’ I’ve observed how many of these ‘different’ kids grew up to be very successful. Their authenticity earned them big points in their careers. They never apologized for who they were. As a human interest writer, I seek out authentic people to write stories about. I find them great role models. And there’s no better role model than one who is true to themselves.
2. Don’t be discouraged by naysayers
Negativity can sap the energy out of you and make you physically sick. There are people in the world who always see life as a half-empty glass. It took me years to realize it was not life-changing if the whole world didn’t like me. Trying to be a people pleaser is exhausting. Understand and accept you will never please everyone, so quit trying.
3. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t
Always trust your intuition. Don’t second guess yourself. Other people will have opinions. Thank them for caring, but always remember they’re not walking in your shoes. Trusting my intuition, I left a toxic relationship because I knew I deserved better. I’ve been in a healthy relationship now for 44 years.
4. Love others unconditionally
Do this for yourself, because you’ll sleep better at night. At 70, I could write a book about all the relationships with people in my life. I’ve learned through the years sometimes lowering my expectations isn’t a bad thing. It meant, ‘I can love a person for who they are, not who I think they should be.’
5. Don’t let money determine happiness
Financial success is rewarding, but understand it can disappear in a heartbeat as we’ve seen during this pandemic. Life is filled with unexpected challenges. As I look back over the past 7 decades, many of my most joyful times occurred when I had the least amount of money. You can’t put a price tag on happiness.
6. Don’t be a slave to your mirror
Being obsessed with aging is exactly what companies who sell youth enhancing products expect of you. They want you to buy into the hype and believe it is a disgrace to look your age. Skincare is a billion dollar industry. I discovered smiling a lot is the BEST facelift. Be confident in who you are. Practice good posture and stand tall…even if you’re small!
7. Be forgiving
Everyone in life has experienced hurt. If you don’t forgive the person who hurts you, the only one who suffers is you! I have found the words, ‘I forgive you’ incredibly powerful. A broken heart won’t heal unless you accept the fact you can’t go back and change the past. Releasing yourself from your pain is freedom to move on.
8. Realize your potential
Always believe in yourself, even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Growing up in a family of high achievers, I felt inadequate. I was the ‘creative’ child, but felt I couldn’t hold a torch to my siblings’ accomplishments. In my early 20’s while teaching a creative writing class, I suddenly realized my ability to inspire students and fuel their creativity. This was my gift and I learned to love sharing it.
9. Prioritize yourself
Life can get overwhelming. Often, we put our own needs on the back burner, thinking we will get to them later. As a young mother, I thought I needed to spend every free moment I had meeting my large family’s needs. I realized years later, they would have survived just fine if I had devoted a little time to myself. Children remember the quality of the time you spend with them more than the quantity.
10. Live each day to the fullest
Life expectancy doesn’t come with a guarantee. If you have to decide between doing a few loads of laundry or going on an adventure…choose the latter. The laundry will be there when you return. Reaching 70 is a gift. I’m grateful for every day.
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