I don't know what it is about this particular birthday that has me feeling all introspective. Perhaps it's because I saw so much change in my life over the past 12 months. I find myself looking back at the past year and all the others that came before it and wondering, "have I really learned anything"?

So, here goes. Here are 10 things I've learned.

1. Surround yourself with friends. Your parents were probably right about your “friends.” Distance yourself from people who create drama in your life.

2. Own up to your mistakes. Be responsible for your actions. If you try to blame things on other people you will make enemies of them and continue to make the same mistakes over and over.

3. Always..Always..Keep positive thoughts and attitudes. Will positive thoughts keep bad things from happening? Of course not…but they will determine how you react to those “bad things.”

4. Never have a bad day. There may be some pretty awful “moments” in a day.  But “No Bad Days”. Thank you for teaching me that one Bruce Hamilton.

5. If it isn’t “life altering” let it go. If something is life altering, adjust to it. This is your new reality. Not what you wanted? See #3

6. Never stop learning. Mark your birthday by beginning a new learning experience.

7. If this one offends anyone in any way…tough. You can find the Grace of God in every situation, in everything that happens. It’s there. Look for it.  Even if you never find it, you will feel it.

8. Don’t live in the past, but every now and then, try to remember the kid you used to be. How would that kid feel about the adult you are now?

9.  You will never regret doing the right thing. Never.

10. This is one I really try (as in I don’t always succeed) to live by. I taught it to my daughter when she was a kid and a couple of years ago (she’s 25 now) she told me, “Dad, you were so right about that.”Here it is: Life is all about decisions. You are free to decide between doing what is right and what is wrong. Just remember, if you make enough bad decisions, everything will be decided for you.

I hope none of that sounded pompous. Keep in mind that it took me 62 years to learn 10 things!

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