42 Life Lessons on my 42nd Birthday

Helen Keller once said, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” I agree.

Today I celebrate forty-two years of life. Each year I reflect on the previous year, or go further back into the ether. Here are forty-two life lessons I’ve learned by living forty-two years (in no particular order):

1. Tell twenty-year-old self to stop freaking out. You have time.

2. Be kind, you never know what someone else is going through.

3. Suffering will come, and you will make it.


4. Suffering is a wise teacher.


5. We do not find happiness by chasing happiness. It’s usually a byproduct of generosity.


6. Your kids will sleep eventually.

7. Be patient because the best things in life take time.

8. Be a good friend, and you’ll have lots of them.

9. Ask for forgiveness, forgive others, forgive yourself.

10. Grace still runs the whole thing, so be gracious.

11. Read more, consume less TV/screens.

12. Create more, and consume less.

13. Better to give than receive.

14. Listen to your life, it can tell you interesting things.

15. Read widely and often.

16. Reread books that bring you joy.

17. Try writing poetry.

18. Tell people you love them.

19. Show people you love them.

20. Handwritten notes mean more.

21. You’ll never have enough money.

22. Start that thing, get married, and have kids because #21 is true.

23. Pray often.

24. Be kind to your parents, they did the best they could.

25. Marriage and parenting is hard work, but worth the effort.

26. Take a day every week to worship and rest.

27. Social media is a waste of time.

28. Telling the truth will never disappoint.

29. The world is flawed, so are you, but also full of truth, beauty, and goodness. Learn to live in these tensions.

30. Politics will not save the world or your soul.

31. Don’t be surprised when people lie, try doing #28.

32. Go for walks.

33. Remember, you were a kid once.


34. School is temporary, be lifelong learners.

35. Write a book; you’ll learn what you really think about a subject.

36. Read more fiction.

37. Not all opinions are equal.

38. Meditating on smaller sections of Scripture is superior to reading larger chunks.

39. Build curiosity by asking more questions.

40. Show interest in other people by not doing all the talking.

41. You will die. Live as if this is true.

42. Age is just a number, don’t let it define you.

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