Taking Stock at Forty-Two

You've probably heard this one before. I first encountered it years ago, while playing golf with a gentleman a decade or two my senior. I'm paraphrasing, but he told me something a bit like this:
If you're young and not a Democrat, then you have no heart. If your older and not a Republican, then you have no common sense.
I bring this up only because I had a birthday a few weeks back. I'm no sage, to be sure, but I thought I'd test my mileage with that saying above and maybe offer up a few insights on the view from here:

  • People are inherently decent. If you treat others with respect, you stand a much better chance of getting respect in return.
  • Honor your time and use it. Time may be a human construct, but it keeps us on track. An important personal mantra, by the way, when it comes to time management: Do it now.
  • Memorialize your life. Buy souvenirs. Take (and print) photographs. Collect things (within reason). They all add up to a record that you'll be thankful for later in life.
  • Be considerate. Let someone else into the flow of traffic once a day when you're out on the roads. It makes everyone feel better and shows a shared humanity.
  • Read. Write. Run. I can think of nothing better than that trio if you want to stay engaged with the world, your community, and with yourself. I read widely. I write every day. I run often. These things keep me interested in life, connected to my creative side, and healthy in my mind, heart, and lungs.
  • Count your blessings. At the end of the day, it's human nature to fall into that trap of coveting what others might have. In reality, though, things could always be worse. I'm more thankful now for the good things in my life than I was a decade ago, and it's simply a matter of perspective.
  • See the forest for the trees. How can you be your best self? If you trudge from tree to tree, your head down, you'll never look up and recognize the beautiful forest that is your own life. I try to take stock of things periodically, and I want to be my best self in my forties, my fifties, my sixties, and so on...
  • Celebrate! When good things happen or when you accomplish something that you've been working for, celebrate it (and memorialize it!) with others.
  • Be mindful. Whether it's prayer, meditation, yoga, or simple solitude, find moments to be alone with your thoughts. Knowing yourself and being comfortable with yourself is (and always has been) a salve for modern malaise...
  • Embrace your passions. If you love something, honor it (Go Ducks!)...
  • Help when you can. I try not to say 'no' when friends call for help if I can pitch in. As a great football mind once said, the best ability is availability (yeah, yeah...I guess I can help you move.).
  • Be thankful. I have many blessings for which to be thankful, and I am fortunate every day for them.
This is a small list, of course, but these are just a few of the maxims that I try to consider in my daily lived experience. 

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