In my teens and twenties, I rarely listened to my “elders”. You know those 50 and 60 year olds! And by the time I was in my late thirties I thought I knew everything there was to know about life. Ha! And at 50 I know I still have a lot to learn.
But along the way I have learned some valuable lessons and things I would do differently. By sharing these with you I hope they have some impact on your life no matter what your age! Oh, and by the way I am old enough to be many of the CrossFit Equality members mother!
Here are my top 10 things I would do differently if I had my first 50 years back (in no particular order):
- Be honest about who you are not only to yourself but to others. For years I hid my true self because I was afraid of what others would think of me and that I would disappoint them. As I’ve gotten older, it doesn’t matter what others think of you. In fact, I’ve come to love this saying: “Those who care, don’t matter. Those who matter, don’t care.”
- Don’t waste your money on material things you don’t need. Like refrigerator magnets from every place you visited. Or how about the extra set of dishes just because they looked cute at Target! Sure they are fun now but trust me, they just fill up space in your house and you’ll be wishing you hadn’t wasted your money on them later. And after you’re are gone from this earth, your kids will thank you as well!
- Don’t worry about things you have no control over. So you’re stuck in traffic, your plane is late, your toilet overflowed, etc. These are minor inconveniences that years from now you won’t remember anyway so why waste your energy getting stressed out over them?
- Tell those closest to you that you love them every day. You never know when they will be gone. I just read a news story about a couple driving down a Houston freeway when a trailer hitch flew through their window and killed the wife instantly. Unfortunately, tragedies like this happen every day. Don’t take for granted that those you love will be there tomorrow.
- Spend more time with your parents. Take them to their doctors appointments and have dinner with them. Sure they may drive you a little crazy but one day they won’t be there for you to tell them you love them. Or for them to wish you happy birthday.
- Live to work, not work to live. In my younger years I used to work 50-60 hours a week at a corporate job so that I could afford to live. Sure I had a nice income but I sacrificed family events and time with loved ones. Find your life’s purpose and live to work doing that purpose.
- Surround yourself with good people who bring value to your life. These are the people who you can count on for anything at any time. Those who you can learn from, those who support you and those who make you laugh. Everyone else you can “unfriend”!
- Put the cell phone away. What this really translates to is be more present with those around you. It’s hard to do when we are constantly checking Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, text messages or taking selfies. This is a serious challenge for many of us, including myself. But let’s try to bring the Central Perk Couch chats back!
- Travel as often as possible while you are young. My sister once told me the story of my Aunt and Uncle who saved every penny they made so they could travel after they retired in their late sixties. By then my Aunt was tied to an oxygen tank after years of smoking and couldn’t travel. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you can afford it, do it now while you can.
- Eat better and exercise more from a young age and don’t stop. Good nutrition and exercise (CrossFit of course) is the secret to looking young, feeling young and living longer. There is no magic pill, no special diet or gimmick workout machine. It’s fueling your body correctly, moving your body and lifting heavy objects (no ladies it won’t make you bulky!). The earlier you start and the longer you do it the healthier you will be.
I am extremely grateful for my first 50 years. I have my health, a beautiful wife who makes me laugh every day, a crazy, loving family and close friends including 3 four legged babies and a community of amazing people that I am honored to have a positive impact on their lives. The next fifty years will be filled with new challenges, new adventures and new people I’ll have the opportunity to help. I am excited about the road that lies ahead! Oh and I am sure I will have a new list of things I wish I knew at 50, that I will know at 100!