So at whatever was the precise time of my birth today [well today 53 years ago] I had been around 53 years or 636 months or 19245 days or 464280 hours or 27856800 minutes [taking no account of leap years - and it is my birthday so I can be lazy].
So what has an old fart like me learned in all of those years?
Well for one thing life ain't easy but then I have never seen a rule book or anything else that said it should be. No one ever said it was fun either. At times it can be very trying and very stressful. However if you apply a few simple rules to your day to day thinking life can actually be enjoyable and fun.
If you care read on after the break.
1. Don't dwell on the past. It is dead, gone and buried. There may be good in your past, there may be bad - for most of us there is both. It matters not - there is not a thing any of us can do, no matter how much we might want to, about something that happened a second ago, a day ago, years ago or any time in the past. All there is is now and the future. I have often said "worry about the things you can do something about; don't worry about the things you can do nothing about." The past definitely falls into the latter category. It is just so much baggage and, whilst there are sometimes lessons to be learnt - they [who the heck are "they" anyway?] say that "mistakes make great teachers" - those lessons can only be of value if they are used as a POSITIVE to improve YOUR life going forward. The mistakes others made, the wrongs you think you suffered; consign them to where they belong - the past, the dead, the buried.
2. Don't get too caught up in the "now". I hear people say [including my wonderful wife] that if they plan for the future they might not be alive to see it. That may very well be true but unless you are on death's door and extremely old [I am not quite there yet] the truth is tomorrow probably WILL come. If you live only for the "now" and eschew any planning for the future you could quite simply find yourself screwed beyond belief when the future becomes the "now" and I am willing to bet that at that point a little regret - why didn't I plan - might creep into your mind. It is a balancing act; living and enjoying the now has to be balanced with a sense of responsibility [yes I know that's boring] and recognition that you need to do a little forward planning as well.
3. Get married, choose a life partner or whatever your own predilection dictates ONLY when the person is right. You KNOW when the person is right; you are not unsure or having to convince yourself. Those who live in happy and long time relationships did that. Those who go through divorce and acrimony did not. People will say that people change - to an extent that is true. However when you find the "RIGHT" person that never changes. Those who grow out of relationships do so because the person was not the "right" one in the first place.
4. Expect nothing from others and you will not be disappointed. None of us have a right to anything. Like it or not [and yes sometimes it sucks] but life is all about going out and earning the things you want. I am not, never have been and certainly now never will be a parent. I have however been around enough parents that tell their kids "you are special" and "you can be anything you want to be" and "you can do anything you want to do". Sad and untrue - they are just creating people with unreasonable expectations and an entitlement attitude to life. They are not special, we are all pretty much the same. They cannot do anything they want - perhaps a small minority can - but most of us are limited by intelligence or character or looks or whatever and will never be in that position. There is nothing wrong with that; hard work and a good ethic will get you by, get you the things you want [within reason] and allow you to live a happy, fulfilled life.
and above all
5. Take pleasure in every day and in the little things. The world is full of wonder and if your mind is right it's a pretty darn good place to be.
Here endeth the Grumpy Old Limey's 53rd birthday sermon.