40 Thoughts After a 40-Year Journey

Nothing better in 40 years than watching my sisters become wonderful mothers.

I’ve been 40 years old for four months. In those 40 years I’ve experienced success at a high level in sports and career, and have fought out of the lowest depths of my life in failed personal relationships and emotional distress.  We all have strife, struggles and pain that we feel. On the other side of those low points in our life though, is the good stuff. And the good stuff is ready and waiting for us. This morning during my morning routine, I sat down and thought about all the good stuff, reflected on the ugly stuff, and captured what I have learned over the past four decades.

Here is my list of 40 thoughts, after a 40-year journey.

  1. Mistakes are okay, excuses are not.
  2. Gratitude is the most wonderful mindset to be in. Spend as much time there as possible.
  3. Exercise and smart eating are better for my mind than they are my body. Take good care of both.
  4. Forgiveness is a virtue. Go first. And start with yourself.
  5. Family is everything. Meet them where they are – not where you think they should be.
  6. The Law of Attraction. I subscribe to it.
  7. Relationships take time. Time to invest in them, time to trust, time to heal, time to forgive, time to love… choose relationships intentionally and make the most of your time.
  8. Children are the future. Teach them to be kind to one another, and let them fail once in a while.
  9. Having a beer with an old friend you haven’t seen in 10 years is a blessing. Reach out to them more often.
  10. Writing a hand written thank you card is the art of connection – be connected to people.
  11. Meditation, prayer, and spending time in nature are good for the mind, body and soul.
  12. Goals are more likely to be accomplished when they are written down. Write them down.
  13. Call your mother. How many friends do we have that would love just one more talk with mom?
  14. Self-help books are meant to be read and re-read. Then pass them on. Someone will be grateful that you cared.
  15. A morning routine is your best time. Protect it with a good night of sleep.
  16. Laughter is great medicine. Taking ourselves too seriously and holding on to past pain prevents laughter.
  17. It’s a lot easier to blame and complain than it is to understand and take responsibility.
  18. Good things come to those who go get them.
  19. We feel better when we are tan and able to play outside. Go outside more.
  20. A little bit of everything is generally ok. Too much is always too much.
  21. There are no shortcuts. Spending time looking for one is a waste of time.
  22. Your title at work means very little to anyone. Your reputation on the other hand does.
  23. Work on things you are passionate about. You will have very little to complain about if you do.
  24. Learn to say thank you and accept a compliment gracefully. Don’t deflect it. It is yours.
  25. Stay in the moment. Put the device down at the table when you are with your person. Quality time is precious.
  26. Farmers produce our food. Get to know them, and understand what they do. You will appreciate meal time a little more.
  27. Treat your restaurant server like you would the owner. Please say thank you.
  28. It’s ok to be vulnerable. When we are vulnerable, we find strength in ourselves we didn’t know we possessed.
  29. Reach out to coaches and teachers and let them know that the work they do matters. Long after retirement, a teacher is still and will always be a teacher at heart.
  30. Technology moves fast and it takes a little effort to keep up, but don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it.
  31. Politics and religion. Figure yours out, and I’ll figure mine out. And let’s still be friends.
  32. Sportsmanship and teamwork are more important than trophies. Collect teammates for the rest of your life and hang sportsmanship on your walls.
  33. Believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will either.
  34. Remember where you came from. Your roots are still planted there.
  35. If you feel like you need someone to talk to, you are not alone. Make the call, ask for help, and do it for you. What other people think is not important. You being here does.
  36. Everyone’s journey moves at a different pace, in different directions and at different times. Your journey, regardless of where it takes you, is your story. Write it the way you want it to be read long after you are gone.
  37. It takes courage to grow up and be who you truly want to be. Be a lion. Your future self will thank you.
  38. Listening is easier when we make eye contact. Be present and intentional about listening.
  39. Be a gentleman. Open doors, stand to greet her, share your jacket. Young men are watching your example. Be the example your sisters and daughters deserve.
  40. We can make more money. We can’t make more time.

11 thoughts on “40 Thoughts After a 40-Year Journey

  1. Pingback: 28 Thoughts – Look Ma, No Sleep!

  2. Mark, Beautiful! You really have a way with the written word. # 9,29, and 34 have a special place with our past and couldn’t be better said. Thanks for the excellent posts! Brad Leis

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