Jewish World Review Feb 9, 2012/ 16 Shevat, 5772
With age should come at least some wisdom
By Sharon Randall
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I'm not sure how it happened. It's not like we planned it.
Between my husband and me, our collective five children and their significant others, most of the birthdays in our immediate family fall within four short weeks, January to February.
Yes, just after Christmas, when we've all pretty much exhausted our credit limits, not to mention any clever ideas for cheap gifts.
So we line up birthday cards on the kitchen table like jets on a runway, sending them out in precise sequence, hoping they'll depart and arrive on time.
In recent years, as if our birthday calendar wasn't already confusing enough, we added three grandchildren, who were smart enough to avoid the January-February window, but apparently couldn't resist the family tendency to "cozy up."
The first was born in August 2010 on what would've been my mother's 85th birthday, a fact that would have tickled her to no end, I am sure, had she lived to see it. The latter two arrived just this past September, barely 24 hours apart.
My husband and I have birthdays 10 days apart, but we usually celebrate them together. This year will be a bit different because for him, it's a milestone (like 21 or 30 or six whopping decades or whatever), and for me, it's just, well, another year.
It occurred to me, between the two of us, that we have lived more than 100 years, and ought to have a few words of wisdom to offer to those who are younger and still have a bit more tread to burn off their tires.
So I asked the Birthday Boy to help me come up with "Some things you should know by the time you're our age, meaning old enough to know better":
1. Life is short. Hold nothing back. Eat, drink and do as much good stuff while you can. But life is also long, so pace yourself.
2. Invest your time in people who build you up, not tear you down. And try to do the same for them. You'll be amazed at what you can build together.
3. The time is now -- for love, for life, for taking risks -- and this is the place. If it's not the place, go somewhere else.
4. Do what you want and ask for what you need. Be clear. Don't expect anyone to read your mind, let alone your heart.
5. Learn to say no, and mean it, but always say yes to life.
6. When recording a game to watch later, be sure to add extra minutes to allow for overtime, or you could get cranky and end up sleeping on the couch.
7. Three rules to live by: People matter, not things. People matter, not things. People matter, not things.
8. Life is sometimes like the movies: If you don't want to miss anything, or infuriate folks around you, silence your cellphone and your mouth and just shut up and pay attention.
9. The one and only way to win a no-win argument is to say, "I am sorry and I love you."
10. Mind your manners. Remember to say, "Please," "Thank you," "Excuse me" and "Bless your heart." Say it like you mean it. Spend your words, like your money, wisely, and always be sure to leave a generous tip.
11. Don't talk about the good old days. It will just make you sound old, and besides, the good old days weren't all that good.
12. Give and take kindness. Forgive to be forgiven. Smile at children, old people and everyone else, especially if they don't smile at you. Offer grace and get it back a thousandfold.
Finally, I want to say this. The best thing about a birthday is that it means you're still alive. If you've lived as long as I have, and lost as many loved ones, you ought not take for granted such a gift.
What? No, of course, you don't need to send me or Birthday Boy a card (at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077).
Unless you really want to.
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