Musings about 7-0

By Christopher Harper

As I celebrate my 70th birthday this week, I was reminded of a social media question: What would I tell an 18-year-old me?

Here goes for that young version of myself and maybe others:

Listen. You might be the smartest person in the room, or at least think you are. But you already know what you know. If you listen rather than speak, you will learn.

Pride. Keep it in check! You can be proud of your accomplishments, but humility is usually better.

Jealousy. Keep it in check, too!

Be less judgmental. People who are old, overweight, slow, or plain have contributions to make.

Work and home. Maintain a balance between your work life and your home life. Unless you absolutely need a specific job for the money, make sure you enjoy what you are doing.

Drink less. You’ll act like a moron more times than you can remember. Moreover, you may hurt yourself and others.

Watch less sports. Participate more. Even if you just walk a lot, you’ll be better off for it.

Think about college. The cost of a college degree has become burdensome for many people. When I went to school, tuition was less than $1,000. Maybe take a year off and work to determine what you want to do. Think about the military. Think about whether you really want to go to college.

Learn about building, plumbing, and electricity. I wish I had.

Hobbies. I wish I had more of them.

Appreciate the goodness of the United States rather than its flaws.

Use computers and cellphones less.

Read more.

Complain less.

Save more money. Make a balance sheet of your income and your expenses. It’s likely that Social Security and Medicare will be bankrupt by the time you retire.

Learn grammar, punctuation, and style.

Find an ethical or spiritual guide. You need it BEFORE you face a crisis.

Keep mentally fit. Talk to specialists rather than friends about your problems.

Ignore celebrities and their political and social views.

Find a way to express yourself.

Try to fix today and tomorrow rather than yesterday.

That’s about all unless I forgot something. Yes, keep hold of your memories through a diary, photographs, and mental exercises.

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