Ahem ... that said, I'm going philosophical (kind of) here and am going to take the time to reflect on 40 life lessons I'd like to share. (In no particular order.)
1. Family first.
2. Friends are family you choose.
3.The most significant thing that will ever happen to you is being loved, completely, by a child.
4. Wear comfy shoes. Always. (Comfy is the new sexy.)
5. You don't have to share your sea salt dark chocolate candy bar with your husband or children. Hide it. Hoard it.
6. Go out of your way to step on crunchy fall leaves.
7. Parenthood is a whole new realm of gross happenings that you have to deal with without gagging until you're alone in the bathroom.
8. Shouting doesn't necessarily mean you'll be heard but it sure helps.
9. Marry your best friend. "Forever" is a long-ass time when it's 3:00 in the morning and you're arguing about who should get up to change the baby. Only friendship and laughter will get you through this. And beer. Beer is always good.
10. Burn all parenting books.
11. Never lose your sense of wonder at the world -- the ocean, the mountains, drops of rain and snowflakes, glaciers, wind, canyons, rivers, deserts, forests, red woods, lagoons, old civilizations, skyscrapers, bridges ...
12. Laugh hard. Laugh loud. Laugh, laugh, laugh. (The biggest risk you take is taking yourself too seriously. No one else does, so ...)
13. When traveling in China, never take a sleeper bus. Trust me on this one.
14. Surround yourself with people who inspire, believe in, and motivate you. Negativity sucks.
15. Listen. Listen. Listen.
16. The essence is in the details.
17. When traveling with children, look as flustered and exhausted as possible (not hard to do). Make eye contact with young couples. You have now curbed the future world population problem.
18. Take time to chase shadows and rainbows.
19. Tell the people you love them that you love them every day. Show them you love them every day as well. 20. Say something kind to someone every day. Every day.
21. Stand up for what you believe in even if it's not popular.
22. Be honest. (Sounds like a no-brainer, but it sure is damned tempting to pretend you know stuff you don't in a crowd. Just say, "Nope. Never heard of that. Didn't know that.")
23. Be useful.
24. Choose happiness.
25. Love your country. Be critical of it. VOTE!
26. Don't use doctrine to justify hate. Hate is hate. Period.
27. You don't have to share the same political or religious views with your friends or family. Get over it. Love them and eat cookies together.(And change the subject!)
28. It's totally okay to say, "No." And NOT apologize for it.
29. Your children are a mirror of you. This is why they say "shit" in context in public. Shit.
30. Traveling on ten dollars a day for three months is a GREAT way to test whether or not a relationship is solid. Do this BEFORE having children (which is the maximum test of patience for any relationship.)
31. Take a chance. Jump. Failure is inevitable. But living a lifetime of ho-hum is the alternative.
32. Get a yearly checkup.
33. Sit down and eat together as a family.
34. Read. Read. Read. It'll make you a better person.
35. Leave your comfort zone. Visit a place that you've never been (anywhere from another country to a homeless shelter to a convent) and instead of judging it, see how others live, love, study, survive.
36. To learn the best obscenities in any language, attend a soccer match.
37. Teach your children respect. RESPECT above all.
38. Dream big. Then work your tail off.
39. Have a mantra. Ours is: love, peace, health, happiness, gratitude.
40. Unless you believe in reincarnation, this is it. You've got one life. Make it matter.