My husband and I recently watched The Intern, starring Robert De Niro. In the movie, De Niro plays a retired professional who, out of boredom, agrees to work as an intern with an up-and-coming company.
The show confirmed my belief that our most important lessons are learned, not through classroom instruction or on-the-job training, but through the process of living life.
Life has taught me the following truths that were never presented to me by a teacher or professional.
- No matter how good or bad your situation is, your attitude will determine your level of happiness.
- The faults in other people that bother you most are probably the ones you yourself possess.
- Guilt may prompt you to do better for a while, but for the long haul, it is a poor motivator.
- You are likely to pass along to your kids some traits you would not wish them to have. I’m not just talking about high blood pressure and diabetes.
- If you carry inside a secret that is eating you alive, sharing it with a trusted friend will lessen its power over you.
- You are not the worst person who ever lived.
- Don’t feel sorry for yourself. When you are tempted to indulge in self-pity, find someone who has a bigger problem and offer a helping hand.
- If you rely on ice cream to make you happy, you will never manage to get enough of it. The same thing goes for approval and money.
- Your house is probably no messier than your friends’ houses. Just like you, they clean when they know someone is coming over.
- You will never run out of good books to read. You will have trouble finding good things to watch on TV.
- Your grandkids don’t care what you look like. Most other people don’t either.
- Not every woman who wears a size 8 is happy.
- Husbands who annoyed their wives when they were alive are sorely missed after they are dead.
- You need a friend who will tell you what you need to hear even when you don’t want to hear it.
- You never gain anything by skipping church.
- Cleaning your plate and keeping scraps of leftover food will not benefit starving children in other countries.
- Sometimes the best words you can give or receive are spoken in the language of a hug.
Surprisingly, I learned these lessons in only the first 60 years of my life. I wonder what I will learn in the next 60.