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Wisdom: 37 Things I Know About Life

Always go to the party and other words I live by.

A disco ball spins in night Wisdom says always go to the party
Always go to the party

I am a sucker for compendiums of pithy wisdom, like this one. There is something so tidy about listing out good advice, wise words, and aphorisms. As if, all we need to do is follow these guidelines, and we’d avoid so much trouble. If only we would!

Reading it got me thinking about what I would list. So, after 60 years on planet earth, here are 37 things I know about living here.

1. When the still small voice speaks, do what it says, no matter how crazy.

2. Notice tiny things and let the world show you its wonders.

3. Everyone suffers.

4. Words can bless or curse. Use them with care.

5. A flower is not impatient to bloom. Everything happens in its season.

6. Always go to the party.

7. Move your body in ways that delight you every day.

8. Death is real, comes without warning.

9. Give thanks, always and everywhere, to everyone. This is harder than it sounds.

10. If it’s not a yes, it’s a no.

11. Be curious about your own suffering. But don’t hold onto it. When it’s ready to leave, let it go.

12. There are lots of fathers in the world. And mothers. When you lose yours, whether to death or other circumstances, you’ll discover them. You may even be one yourself.

Green man dancing in the night. Wisdom says joy is within, not a reaction to external events.
Joy is a river flowing through you.

13. Joy is a river flowing through you that you can drink from any time, even when things are shitty. It is not a reaction to external events.

14. Everything alive wants to live, just like you do. Killing is not the right response to irritation. Find another way to deal with mosquitos.

15. The world reflects the radiance of your thoughts.

16. Do something that grounds you. Prayer. Meditation. Playing an instrument. Walking. Yoga. Whatever. The benefits compound over time, and such a practice builds reserves of energy and patience needed for challenging times.

17. Everyone dies alone, and no thing you have will make a difference. Investing in the cultivation of your consciousness, however, will help a lot.

18. Rejoice daily. It doesn’t have to be big. What was your favorite thing today?

19. Be especially grateful to difficult people. You know the ones. They are great teachers.

20. The place where all religions meet is in the reversal of selfishness. Going against our innate desire to grab the best for ourselves is the quickest way to upgrade your life.

21. Marriage is a book with many chapters. If you don’t like the one you’re in, see if you can write the next one.

22. Own your mistakes. Apologize. Make amends when you can.

23. You have as much time as you give yourself.

24. Prioritize friends & family – people and animals.

A boy rides his bike with his dog - wisdom says to prioritize time with friends.
Prioritize time with friends.

25. Work will always be there. It’s ok to stop.

26. Give the good stuff away. Every day. Every good idea, every cool breeze, every delightful flavor. Take in the hard stuff. All the disappointment, anger, discord, and disease. Doing so will dismantle your ego and activate your soul. This is tonglen practice and it is the best spiritual workout there is.

27. Stay close to people who make you laugh.

28. You can’t prevent other people from suffering.

29. Attention is your greatest asset and the best gift you can give.

30. Loss is a consequence of life. Grief is the gateway to compassion.

31. You will never be younger than you are today.

32. Put down the poison. Whatever it is. Toxic thoughts, chemicals, habits. You don’t need it.

33. Healing is available. Healers, too.

34. If you want to know someone, watch how they treat children and animals.

35. Stay or leave – the journey is the same. This applies to jobs, relationships, places, almost any binary decision. Either way, you’re on your path. So which way calls?

36. Please, thank you and excuse me are power phrases. Memorize them.

37. Love. Early, often, madly, blindly, patiently, hopefully, foolishly, angrily, forgivingly, wantonly, unreservedly, unendingly.

Your turn. What would you add? Let me know in the comments below.


Jean Shields Fleming is the founder and editor of Certain Age magazine.

Photos from Pexels:

  • Disco ball - NEOSiAM

  • Green Dancer - Herbert Santos

  • BMX Dog - Andrew Kota

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