This is the year I received my official “old-man card” (aka Medicare). It arrived in the trail of gray hair, bifocals, and hearing loss. Such is life when you get to a certain age.

The concept of an age at which things change is nothing new. The idea of retirement came from Otto Von Bismarck to rid himself of rivals and control the youth.

Hopefully, life has many more years. But looking back at those years (which at age 20 seemed so distant), some wisdom has clings to life like barnacles.

So, at 65, here’s my list of 65 lessons learned in 65 years.

  1. Faith in God is more important than faith in any human being.
  2. You can never have enough knowledge. Keep learning.
  3. Never confuse learning with education. They are not the same.
  4. You have one body. Take care of it.
  5. No one is like you. Use your unique talents for the world.
  6. Makes lists. They keep your mind uncluttered.
  7. People have more stuff than they need.
  8. People have less love than they need.
  9. Knowledge is overabundant but we have a drought of wisdom.
  10. Be humble and kind.
  11. Whatever you have accomplished, someone else helped you get there.
  12. You cannot say “thank you” enough.
  13. We build people up or drag people down. Be a builder.
  14. The days are long but the years are short.
  15. Never blame others for your failings.
  16. Be strong enough to say, “I messed up.” The biggest person is the room is the one who can say, “I was wrong.”
  17. Apologize when you need to and never if you don’t.
  18. Stop trying to make people happy. Miserable people love their misery.
  19. You are responsible for your moods and attitude.
  20. Love your wife or husband more than any one else, including your children. Keep relationship priorities straight.
  21. Put your phone down and listen to your kids.
  22. Nothing on social media compares to real life. Don’t confuse the two.
  23. True beauty is inside out.
  24. It will always be different next year. Maybe better, maybe worse, but different.
  25. Be grateful…EVERY DAY.
  26. If it won’t matter in 10 years, don’t worry about it.
  27. Appreciate the life you have.
  28. People are different. Don’t expect others to do what you want them to do. Give them freedom…and grace.
  29. Appreciate every sunrise and every sunset.
  30. Be you and don’t let anyone force you into their mold.
  31. Position gives you power but doesn’t create influence. Live for influence.
  32. Take time to get to know older people. They are the best source of wisdom.
  33. People who say, “I know the truth” seldom do.
  34. You can always find an expert that will confirm your prejudice.
  35. Take time to listen to and read pieces that you don’t agree with. It will keep you balanced.
  36. Money is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.
  37. Life is an experiment. Don’t expect perfect results, just new challenges.
  38. Time is life…if you squander the first, you waste the second.
  39. Take time to play with children. It’s one of the few sources of joy in life.
  40. Remember your regrets but don’t let them control you.
  41. Forgive. It is easier on your soul and mind than keeping score.
  42. The bad you see in others is a reflection of what you hate in yourself.
  43. Don’t diet. Eat right.
  44. Events are worthless but process is everything.
  45. The little things you do every day are more important than the big things you do sometimes.
  46. Technology is a necessary evil. It helps us but we have lived without it. Use it cautiously.
  47. Plan each day so you don’t get lost in trivialities. (And most things are trivialities.)
  48. Learn history. It is the genetics of your life.
  49. All people love their own illusions rather than what is true.
  50. Tell stories. It is the only source of real truth available. Remember, the Bible is a story.
  51. Santayana was wrong when he said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We repeat it even when we remember it.
  52. The kitty cat does not walk across a hot stove or a cold stove. Bad experiences linger.
  53. Blessed are the flexible for they shall never be bent out of shape.
  54. Grow more every year. There is nothing sadder than a 60-year-old who acts like a teenager.
  55. You cannot change the past but you can change the future by what you do today.
  56. Find your niche in life and pour yourself into it. You will never regret it.
  57. The tool you will need when you are under the sink with water spewing is always in the garage.
  58. Never judge people by what they were when younger. We all were stupid once.
  59. Learn the difference between needs and wants. They seldom are the same.
  60. Read. It is the portal into people and life that someone has.
  61. If you have authority, don’t use it to get your way. And beware, you will seek your way disguised in the excuse for “this is what is best.”
  62. Take time to daydream. It’s where the brain rests and the soul soars.
  63. You are not your teenage self. Don’t live with the old baggage of life.
  64. You can’t predict the future so stop doing it.
  65. Putting labels on people are ways to dehumanize them. The only thing pigeonholes are good for are pigeons.

What have you learned in your life?