I initially posted all but the last three items on my Facebook page shortly before I turned 60 several years ago. I’ll be 63 in a few days, so that’s why I’ve added the last three thoughts, along with a couple of other things.
Several weeks before my initial posting, I saw a post on Facebook from Ronna-Renee Jackson. I met Ronna-Renee several years ago when we were both on the board of directors of Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians. Ronna-Renee shared a post from a friend who was also having a significant birthday. I’m borrowing the concept, but not the words. Ronna-Renee, thank you for sharing that post!
Attach no importance to their order, which is in the order that I initially wrote them. If I were ordering them by importance, there would be significant changes.
Priorities can change in a heartbeat.
Growing up, I didn’t understand why Mama would say things like “Mother would have been 100 years old today.” Now I do.
If your values are unwavering, most decisions are pretty easy.
Some of the sweetest memories I have of my parents are seeing and hearing them pray.
Don’t fret it you can’t find the perfect greeting card. Write your thoughts on your stationery. If you have trouble finding your thoughts, “I care” always works.
Have an assortment of commemorative stamps for various holidays and occasions.
Address people by their name or an acceptable form of endearment.
Ask yourself often, “What can I do for someone to help them have a better day?”
Stay in touch with former employers and colleagues. You may need them for a reference.
Keep a running list of your community and work responsibilities, as well as various workshops and conferences you have attended. Updating your resume or CV will be a snap.
Know at least the top 2-3 local, national and international headlines each day before you leave your house. Likewise, revisit the headlines at night.
Subscribe to and read your local daily newspaper(s).
I wish I’d asked my parents their favorite Bible verses. For my father, it may very well have been James 1:27, because he often helped widows and those who couldn’t help themselves. My mother was always content, so hers may have been Philippians 4:12; truly, she lived that verse.
Try to RSVP ASAP. If you get a better offer, remember who and what you initially committed to.
Tone of voice says as much, if not more, than your actual words.
Return telephone calls and emails prior to the close of business.
It’s easier to keep up than to catch up.
If you learn one thing from a workshop, seminar, book or sermon, it’s usually worth it.
Keep a hard copy of contact info for the most important people in your life.
Put dates and names on backs of pictures.
Nearly all the time, you are more concerned about your appearance than other people are.
Be ready with a sincere apology, even if the mistake or error isn’t yours.
To gather your thoughts when asked a question, it’s good to say something like, “That’s an interesting question” or “Let me be certain I understand what you’re asking” (and then rephrase what you think you heard).
Be aware of the Pareto Rule (the 80/20 rule) and how it applies to your life.
Have an executive committee of your 5-6 closest friends.
You don’t have to have a formal title to be a leader.
Even if I live to be 1000, that’s not long enough to do all the things I want to do.
The more I know, the more I know that I don’t know.
If you read 4 chapters of the Bible a day, you’ll have read it in about 10 months.
Check in often with the people who are most important to you.
Always have clothes at the ready to wear to a funeral.
Accept compliments gracefully, even if you don’t agree. Just say, “Thank you” or “I’m so glad you noticed.”
Don’t be surprised or disappointed when you go out of your way to repeatedly help someone, but they make no effort to reciprocate or even thank you. Continue helping them.
Pray daily for your co-workers, as well as those who will influence you and who you will influence.
You may very well be a role model and not realize it. Remember this in your actions and words.
People may remember words you say to them decades after you’ve spoken them. Make your words wise!
Your word is your promise.
If you promise to pray for a person, pet or situation, please honor your word and do so.
When you see something that bothers you, channel your steps to change the situation
Almost always, actions truly speak much louder than words.
Simple is often the best.
Most things get easier with practice. Some things, like grieving the loss of a close friend, relative or pet, don’t.
Someone will always be the best or fastest at something; someone will always be the worst or slowest.
In the winter, it’s easier to stay warm than to get warm.
Don’t be surprised, upset or disappointed when people disillusion you.
Especially in bad weather, when you see a mother with small children or an older person getting ready to return a buggy to the store, do it for them.
Death is a part of life.
Most people make time for what and who are important to them.
Try hard not to buy things unless they’re on sale, but don’t practice this at the expense of your health or safety.
In a group of friends, there will almost always be one who goes the extra mile. And there will almost always be one who does nothing to form group cohesion, but is merely along for the experience.
What you’re worried nearly sick about today probably won’t matter in a week.
Quite a few things you procrastinate about take less than 5 minutes to do. Almost all of them take less than 10 minutes to do.
If you learn the basics of something, it will be much easier to master the more complicated parts of the topic.
Your gut instinct is rarely wrong.
Sometimes you end up not doing very much because you’re trying to do too much.
It’s great to use abbreviations in notes you write to yourself. Just be sure you know what they mean!
Most people do the best they can most of the time.
Similar to the above, do your best. Most of the time, it will be good enough.
Know the difference between giving someone the benefit of the doubt and making excuses for them.
When I was a small child, my father told me, “The fewer things that you let upset you or hurt your feelings, the better off you’ll be.”
Dovetailing with that, and as I wrote in Serving with Significance, “Feelings are sometimes fragile and can be hurt if their owner is the last to know something. Keep everyone involved in the information loop, even if they are on the periphery of the group.”
As I wrote in Serving with Significance, sometimes the least you can do for a person or about a situation is to pray. It is always the most you can do.
If you need a copy of Serving with Significance, which makes a wonderful Christmas gift, here’s the link from Amazon:
Copyright 2016, 2020 by Rebecca A. Henderson
3 thoughts on “Pre-Birthday Thoughts, 2020”
Excellent post! I can relate directly to many of these priorities. Your initial comment was profound as well: Priorities can change in a heartbeat!
Great words of wisdom Rebecca…I fondly remember the picture from your birthday celebration last year!
This is one of your (many) gifts, Rebecca…the ability to think of, identify, and clarify salient messages in a few words. Will have to go back and “chew” on each of these again at a slower pace! Great words of wisdom to pass along to all of us, great reminders of what’s really important in life.