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60 Lessons Learnt In 60 Years

This week I turned sixty.

While there weren’t many options to celebrate amongst the six-week-long lockdown where I live, there was plenty of time to reflect on the six decades that I have spent on this planet.

While God’s Human Creation department forgot some ingredients while making me, his Good Fortune department compensated for those errors by giving me a good set of parents and a stable upbringing.

Both my parents were teachers who gave me a solid foundation to face life’s trials and tribulations. Of course, I had my fair share of those. But, what they did most was to install in me a passion for written words. So, ever since I was a little girl, I have been collecting quotes which over time, guided me, comforted me, and became the inspiration to try my hands at writing myself.

Some of them became life lessons.

I see no better way to celebrate my sixtieth birthday than to revise those and remind myself that, life is beautiful, and then you die.

Here are my handpicked 60 lessons learned in 60 years.

  1. She that loveth books will never want a faithful friend. Books are wholesome counselors, cheerful companions, and effectual comforters. Also, they don’t reveal your secrets.
  2. Education is the training that will help you get on without intelligence. If you have figured that out, you are intelligent enough and hence don’t need a college degree.
  3. You will escape from school only to find that the world is a bigger school and that you are back again in the first grade. The only drawback is that there is no second grade.
  4. Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they don’t know just as much as you do. Online teaching is prompting students that there is a better and more expensive course than the one they just bought.
  5. Examinations are formidable to even the best prepared, for the greatest fool can ask more than the wisest can answer.
  6. A secret is what you tell someone else not to tell because you can’t keep it to yourself. This is also a great way to create fake news.
  7. You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however. Alternatively, you can try praying.
  8. Don’t waste your time collecting other people’s autographs. Devote it to make your autograph worth collecting. While you are doing that, practice your signatures.
  9. If at first, you don’t succeed, then marriage is not for you.
  10. We are all mad; only the degree varies.
  11. He who rides the tiger cannot dismount. Try a donkey instead. They are more prevalent anyway.
  12. Rabbits jump, and they live for 8 years, dogs run, and they live for 15, turtles do nothing and live for 150. They also win the race.
  13. The road to success is always under repair. Mind the potholes.
  14. Living is the art of getting used to what we didn’t expect.
  15. What you are afraid of doing is a clear indicator of what to do next.
  16. People who are late to the parties are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them. (It is because they have a husband who doesn’t confuse parties with work meetings.)
  17. When you have to put up with mean people, think of them as sandpaper. They may scratch you, rub you the wrong way. But eventually, you end up smooth and polished. And the sandpaper? It will be worn out and ugly.
  18. We all boil at different degrees.
  19. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
  20. Do what you feel is right. You will be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
  21. Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves yet make them know that you are lying.
  22. Those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them — then they destroy you.
  23. It is important to know when to stop arguing with people and give them the pleasure of being wrong.
  24. Be a good person, but don’t waste time trying to prove it to others.
  25. Every next level of your life will demand a different version of you.
  26. There’s no rule that says I have to live life like everyone else.
  27. When a student is ready, the teacher appears. When a student is truly ready, the teacher disappears.
  28. You’ll have good days, bad days, overwhelming days, too tired days, I-can’t-go-on days. And every day you’ll still show up.
  29. Life is about how you handle plan B.
  30. Grow through what you go through.
  31. A woman is unstoppable after she realizes she deserves better.
  32. When you can’t control what is happening around you, challenge yourself to control the way in which you respond. That is where your true power lies.
  33. Money is just a concept. It has no real value. The day you understand that, you will understand how to make your own money.
  34. If you don’t get on to build your own dreams, someone will hire you to build their dreams.
  35. Life is like an elevator on the way up, sometimes you have to stop and let some people off.
  36. Keep smiling… One day life will get tired of upsetting you.
  37. Nothing ever goes away until it teaches you what you need to learn.
  38. People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.
  39. As long as you know who you are and what makes you happy it doesn’t matter how others see you.
  40. Make yourself a priority. At the end of the day, you are your longest commitment.
  41. It is up to you to see the beauty of everyday things.
  42. Energy flows, where focus goes.
  43. There’s no need to rush. What’s meant for you is always to arrive on time.
  44. A bad attitude is like a flat tyre, you can’t get very far until you change it.
  45. You can’t change the people around you. But you can change who you choose to be around.
  46. If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.
  47. Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. you make be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.
  48. When you’re not sure, flip a coin because while the coin is in the air, you realize which one you’re actually hoping for.
  49. One year = 365 opportunities.
  50. You either say how you feel and f*ck it up, or say nothing and let it f*ck you up instead.
  51. The smarter you get, the less you speak. You grow to realize that not everyone is worth confrontation. Your time is valuable, your energy is priceless and you don’t want to waste either on people who don’t deserve it.
  52. Every time you are able to find humor in a difficult situation, you win.
  53. Be careful who you trust. Salt and sugar look the same.
  54. You are the best project you will ever work on.
  55. Stop setting new year resolutions. Stop raising the bar each year. Stop under-promising and over-delivering. You are not a Fortune 500 company that has to show more profit each year. You are a living being like any other. You have the right to be in this universe. A cat never has to set a new year resolution. Free yourself of any expectations, especially your own.
  56. There is a trick to a graceful exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what is over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on, rather than out. The trick to retiring well is the trick to living well. Life isn’t a holding action but a process. We don’t leave the best parts of ourselves behind, back in the sports field or the office. We own what we learned back there. The experience and the growth are grafted onto our lives. And when we exit, we can take ourselves along quite gracefully.
  57. Beautiful young people are due to makeup, but beautiful old people are works of art.
  58. We do not necessarily improve with age; for better or worse, we become more like ourselves.
  59. In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It is the years that you don’t have to spend in the nursing home.
  60. When you get to the age when your thinking goes from “you probably shouldn’t say that” to “what the heck, let’s see what happens,” you are in the sixth decade of your life. At that age everything is fun.
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