Turning 40 freaked me the heck out. But turning 50 feels just fine. I’ll officially hit the half-century mark five days after I’m writing this, so you may want to ask me again when the birthday is actually here – but at the moment I feel much more excitement than dread.

The 40 mark can be a treacherous turning point because many of us are still fighting the idea that we’re honestly getting older. Your 30s are typically just an extended version of your 20s. And for many, being in your 20s is still kind of like being 5 – but with a driver’s license.

But turning 40 – whoa! – there’s absolutely no mistaking that you’re a bona fide ADULT.

As 50 comes rolling around, you’re no longer trying to pretend you’re not getting older. You know you are. And you kind of like it because it beats the alternative.

You’re also imbued with five decades’ worth of wisdom – like the first 50 random lessons learned in life that came to my mind when I sat down to compose the list below.


magic tree

50 Lessons Learned in Life by 50

I am perfect just the way I am – but there’s no harm in getting just a bit better every day.

The spiritual realm is where the magic lies. Live there as often as possible.

Don’t weld in your underwear.

Angels come in all forms – like the NYC police officer who was kind enough to stay at the foot of my hospital bed when I was detoxing and insisted a pizza delivery man was hiding in the corridors and just waiting to come out and kill me.

The DTs (delirium tremens) are for real. And just as horrific as they were made out to be on that “M*A*S*H” episode I once saw.

Hallucinations are MUCH more fun when you’ve actually paid to get them.

Don’t give a grubby man in Port Authority $20 to go get you LSD – even if he lets you hold his hat as collateral. He’ll never come back.

If you ever want to eradicate superficial fears, go live on the streets of New York City.

If you ever want to feel all the love in the world, hug your dog.

heart rock

Let people love you.

Accept compliments with gratitude and grace. Say thank you. Let them flow through your body and soul.

Some things need to remain fond memories (and NOT be revisited). Like the movie “Easy Rider” and those Circus Peanuts candies.

Don’t stand on your head right after a tooth extraction.

Plastic coffee mugs bounce when thrown out the car window.

Don’t throw plastic coffee mugs out the car window.

When you pine for that long-ago broken relationship, remember that he still owes you $800.

Don’t hide money in those “really good” secret spots that you always forget about.

gargoyle rynski

Don’t answer the phone when you’re angry.

Don’t try to do anything when you’re angry (except scream, cry or create art that releases the emotions).

No matter how bad they feel, your emotions won’t kill you.

If you want your hair cut right, learn to do it yourself.

Don’t shave the side of your head right before high school graduation.

Don’t add freckles to your face with a brown magic marker right before church.

Create a personal God you can access anytime, anywhere.

God wants me to be happy.

Hang out in nature as often as possible.

Don’t fall asleep with your glasses on.

Don’t rub your eye after touching a jalapeno.

There IS such a thing as too many kittens.

Let spiders live (but feel free to kill flies).

Negative people will bring you down faster than you can bring them up.

Surround yourself with a protective white light where only positive vibes and goodness can come in.

You can’t un-see what you’ve seen. Choose your viewing carefully.

It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

You’re allowed to change your mind.

Laughter is the best medicine – just don’t take a dose of it when you’re being yelled at by your boss.

smile reminder

Treat yourself as you’d treat a best friend.

Success comes in 30 million flavors.

Leap and the net shall appear.

Avoid the third rail.

Naps rock.

It’s the pebbles that trip you up more quickly than the boulders. Get rid of little irritations that swarm at you like gnats.

Start each morning with two minutes of silence.

Don’t rush to act or react. Some problems end up resolving themselves.

No matter how long you wait, laundry won’t fold itself.

Life is too short to be cranky.

Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Don’t forget to breathe.

If you don’t like it, change it. If you can’t change it, leave. If you can’t leave, accept it.

Accepting something doesn’t necessarily mean you LIKE it.  

There’s something wrong with all you’re doing if you’re not having fun.

50 Life Lessons by 50 – VIDEO

50 Lessons Learned in Life – Podcast

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