By John Clinton
People around me say I am old. I suppose they are right: my heart betrays me from time to time, skipping a beat and making me a little nervous about the plans I had already made for the day. My joints are all squeaky and my short term memory is not great. Some years ago, I would have said something like: „I’ve been better, where are the good old days?”, but now I am taking each day at a time and I am grateful for everything it brings. The joy that comes with every sun beam is sometimes overwhelming and in my heart, I feel younger and more free than ever!
So, my friend! You are asking me for advice on how to live your life…! I believe this is one of the hardest questions I was ever asked to answer, it’s even trickier than the one my wife asked while we were planning our wedding, concerning the colour of the roses in the church! I believe there’s a lot to say.
First, I’d say the key to a feeling of content concerning your life, is to have no regrets. I strongly advice that, before each and every action you take, you pause for a second and ask yourself: is this really me? Is this who I am? And if you’re not sure about it, my friend, just stop. Pause, take a deep breath to find out what YOU would do, and act consequently.
Mind your own business. This will save you a lot of trouble.
Speak the truth. Always! One lie brings a hundred more, and it’s simply not worth it. Besides, the truth is always revealed, eventually – that’s not just a cliche, it’s just how things work. Don’t lie to anyone and don’t ever lie to yourself!
Try not to have expectations. It’s not fair for the ones around you, why should they do things you can’t or won’t?
Be prepared for anything that might happen. Nowadays, people generally think „It can’t happen to me!” and this is not a very safe perspective on life. Lots of things can happen and you need to be prepared: mentally, physically and financially. Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket, as I use to say. Life suddenly becomes challenging for so many people, after a 2 hours power outage – and that is unacceptable! Keep your body in shape and always make sure your household is equipped with all the supplies necessary to survive for at least a couple of weeks if all – I mean ALL! – modern technology would suddenly disappear: no electricity, no running water, no supermarkets, no gas at the gas station. Ever thought of that?
Read. Oh my, I am SO thrilled with all these new movies. 3D and HD and all that stuff – it turns movies into an almost real experience! Enjoy them, my friend, however never ever forget books. They’re the only door to the most fantastic world that was ever created. It’s the only, only place where all your dreams and fantasies will come true, beyond your expectations. Not to mention that books make you smarter and wiser!
And most important of all, there is one book you should read. It doesn’t matter to me what your religion is! But please, please, read the Bible! It has so much to offer, there’s so much to learn and understand! You can read a verset now and truly understand it 10 years later, when something will bring it back on your mind. Take this advice from an old man…
Surround yourself with family and friends. Keep your front door open. Not everyone is a true friend, the kind of friends you read about in books. But everyone has a story to tell, a drop of wisdom to share and…a grain of salt! Take people for who they are and don’t try to change them. Like them for who they are and don’t take their company for granted!
Chose your life partner wisely. It’s meant to be for your whole life, you know…? Respect and compromise are the key to a long happy life together. Concentrate on what you have in common, what connects you, what brought you together in the first place, not on the differences.
Love your children. Unconditionally, I mean. Always be true to them and support them always, no matter what they’ve done or what they’re going through. You are the ONLY person in this world that they need to be able to count on, in each and every situation. Never ever hit your children, don’t spank them and don’t yell at them. Don’t ever forget that they are the greatest gift you could have received! Cherish them at all times and love them unconditionally – this is the only way to raise them properly!
Love yourself! People tend to feel responsible for everything that goes on around them and think „What if…?” What ifs are one of man’s greatest enemy. Actually, nobody knows how what ifs would have eventually turned – maybe for the better, maybe for the worse! Don’t forget that an apparently insignificant thing as the wings of a butterfly can change EVERYTHING, so there’s no use to think of what might have happened if… You can never know!
Take care of yourself. People tend to focus too much on those around them and forget about themselves. Not only your body needs food, both your mind and spirit also need nurturing. Don’t let a day go by without doing at least one tiny thing just for yourself!
Give up anxiety. You can not predict the future, you can only live the moment. You don’t want to spend your life fearing what MIGHT happen, instead of enjoying your HERE and NOW. Otherwise, at the end of the day, you will only count all the things you’ve missed while fearing the things that never happened. So, remember the song: don’t worry, be happy! Which brings me to my next advice:
Be happy. Believe me or not, it’s a matter of choice. You can complain over not going to Hawaii this year either, or you can enjoy your holiday in the mountains with your friends and children. You can chose to hate the cold weather outside, or enjoy the sparkling snow. There’s always something good in everything – chose to see that, not the grey shadows that surround it!
As you could see, I am a bit of a religious person. So, my final advice to you, is a quote from my favorite Book: „God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
Editor: What are your thought? What would you like to add?
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