After 50 years around the sun, I have learned a few things. Aging gives the superpower of life experiences and observations. Below is a compilation of 50 things I have learned over my life so far. I hope this list helps you as you live your life and maybe come up with your own list. My hope is that I continue to grow and evolve beyond these 50 years.
  1. Life is stranger than fiction: My mom has always said this and the longer I live, the more I agree. 
  2. Bravery is in the eye of the beholder. I used to think that I wasn’t brave. But in reality I am just brave about different things. I am fearful and I am brave—as we all are if we look closely.
  3. As the great Erma Bombeck said, “I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.” Take care of yourself and give yourself the rest and time you need.
  4. Relationships are hard work if you want them to be meaningful and evolve over time.
  5. Having a dog is life-changing and can transform a family.
  6. If you are in a role to help other people, make sure you are working on yourself, too. Healers need to work on their own healing.
  7. Each stage of parenting pushes us to grow in different ways. 
  8. It took me way too long to develop boundaries.
  9. Don’t go on a diet—ever. I mean that.
  10. If you don’t like a book by page 50 put it down. Life is too short.
  11. Don’t buy fancy things that will make you nervous in your own home or nervous with guests, children, or animals.
  12. Save your money for important things that really matter to you—your health (emotional and physical) and your passions.
  13. If you wouldn’t place vanity as a life priority, don’t live that way (and be careful if you have euphemisms for this).
  14. Love a book, a show, a song—even if everyone around you hates it. I have found this to be harder than it seems.
  15. Develop shared interests with your spouse. This is essential when the kids grow up.
  16. Take baths—they are fabulous and free! (This may be my most controversial tip on here.)
  17. Be generous with your time, money, and attention.
  18. You cannot force people to like you. If it is not mutual, move on. 
  19. Find joyful movement: hiking, walking, dancing, yoga, axe throwing, bowling … 
  20. Throw away your fitness and sleep apps; not everything needs to be measured.
  21. Have family meals often, and keep them informal and relaxed with an abundance of food, whether it’s pizza, fast food, stew, caviar, cereal … whatever works.
  22. Watch the dumb shows your kids love. And it doesn’t count if you complain.
  23. Learn about introversion and extraversion. Read Susan Cain’s Quiet for more info here.
  24. Go to therapy. I cannot imagine my life without it.
  25. Figure out what gives you energy and what drains your energy. This is a very personal thing. Once you know this, you can make sure you have a balance as best possible.
  26. Fear-based decisions usually steer us in the wrong direction.
  27. Life is not a race. Find your own pace.
  28. The things that most attracted you to your spouse will also be the things that make you want to kill them. It’s just inevitable. 
  29. Grief is complicated and unpredictable. 
  30. My lack of patience has been both my best and worst quality.
  31. A speed limit is a suggestion—you don’t have to go that fast (another good one from my mom).
  32. My kids tell me I am not funny, which is pretty devastating, but thankfully I surround myself with people who keep me laughing.
  33. You do not need to know what you want to do when you go to college. Arrive with curiosity, an open heart, and a desire to learn.
  34. Talk with older people. They have lived more life and can share so much wisdom.
  35. Be careful who you follow in real life and on social media.
  36. Anger is a powerful emotion. Feeling it is inevitable; what you do with it is a choice.
  37. Keeping your head in the sand is not a strategy.
  38. Be careful of the energy you give off in the world; there are some of us who feel it strongly.
  39. Take the word “flattering” out of your vocabulary. Wear what you love.
  40. Do puzzles.
  41. Give people the benefit of the doubt. There is often a more generous way to interpret someone’s actions (this one can be a doozy, I know).
  42. Let yourself experience joy, connection, hopefulness. It makes life so much more pleasant.
  43. When you are uncertain, look inward before looking outward.
  44. Build a village when raising your kids. A community makes the job easier and way more fun.
  45. We are blessed with a rainbow of emotions—let yourself feel all of them.
  46. Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.
  47. Resentment is a powerful warning sign. Pay attention and ask yourself what is going on.
  48. Vote.
  49. Take your kids on a march, have them write postcards, canvass, and read the news. Keep them connected to what is going on in the world around them.
  50. Embrace aging. We have no other choice. Besides, I like myself more and more with each passing year
Amy Alpert

Amy Alpert

Amy Alpert, a graduate of the Certificate in Positive Psychology, is a solutions-focused coach with a practice based in positive psychology. A former human resources executive at Goldman Sachs, she holds a master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University. Learn more on Amy’s blog at