I can’t believe I volunteered to be a regular writer on this blog. What was I thinking? This started out as a way to encourage my oldest students to write, write, write but before I knew it I actually agreed to practice what I preach and put up my own posts along with theirs.
Of course, now that I’ve agreed to do it, I’m going to work hard to fulfill my commitment. You see, that’s something I’ve learned over the last thirty years – it’s important to follow through when you agree to do something. It’s not something that I do perfectly (or even very well) but a lot of life is like that – learning and trying, and learning to keep learning and trying even when you mess it all up.
So here you go, Jerry. Here are thirty things I’ve learned in the last thirty years. Thirty things I that I mess up regularly, and that I’m learning to keep trying with, over and over and over again.
- Tell the truth. Even when it’s hard.
- Hug your parents. You are never too old to do this.
- Don’t pick your nose. Seriously, it’s so gross.
- Feed and play with your pets. It’s a good measure of your responsibility how well you care for an animal that depends on you.
- Take your medications. Especially in Florida. Especially if you are allergic to dust.
- Brush your teeth. I’m thirty and I have no cavities. Brush your teeth.
- Try new things. Try fish-head soup. Try rollerblading. Try sewing. You never know what new talent or favorite thing you might discover.
- Try things that scare you. Try parasailing. Try crossing a mountain gorge in a rickety wooden cable car. Try speaking in front of a crowd.
- Get back up. Every time you mess up or get knocked down. Cry, get mad, take a second to wipe off the blood – whatever. Just get back up.
- Keep your commitments. Even when it inconveniences you. Especially when it inconveniences you.
- Get a job. Learn to work under someone else’s authority. Learn the value of hard work. Discover the pleasure of your first paycheck.
- Hang out with your siblings. Spend time doing things together.
- Be crazy sometimes. Play leapfrog in the rain. Have an impromptu dance party. Dress in character for a midnight movie premier.
- Read. Read, read, read, read, read, read, read. READ!
- Study the Bible. Really work hard to understand God’s Word. Ask questions. Dig deeper. Learn about the most important Being and what He has done for sinners.
- Make your bed. It’s way easier to keep your room clean if your bed is made.
- Laugh at yourself. Don’t be that person who can’t take a joke.
- Invest in a nice outfit. Ladies, have a go-to little black dress. Dudes, own a suit. And please, buy the proper shoes to go with them.
- Attempt to complete some big writing project every year. Never, ever stop writing.
- Go to church. Make worship with God’s people in God’s house the most important thing on your weekly schedule. Go when you don’t feel like it. Go when it’s inconvenient. Go when it’s hard.
- Learn to shoot a gun. Be aware of your surroundings. Take a self-defense class. Be prepared to protect yourself and others.
- Travel. Travel the world. Travel to beautiful places. Travel to hard places. Try not to act like a stuck-up American.
- Pray. Communicate with God daily, hourly. Do not be afraid to tell Him the truth about your feelings and fears. Do not be embarrassed to burst out in praise for the awesome things He’s done. Do not hesitate to confess your sin. Do not doubt that He is able to do all and more than you can ever ask or even think.
- Learn to eat anything. Even red beans and rice. Even homemade pickled carrots. Even things you’d rather not actually know the names of.
- Write letters. Real ones. With paper and pen. Put a stamp on them and mail them.
- Play sports. Play sports you may not be good at. Play sports you have to work at. Learn to stay humble and don’t quit.
- Make friends wisely. Choose to spend time with the people who will build you up. Hang out with the folks who encourage and challenge you. Don’t give up on a friendship easily, but be willing to walk away if you must. Also – guys and girls can never be just best friends. Take my word for it.
- Repent and apologize when you sin. Be a quick repenter. Don’t let pride get in the way of making things right.
- Forgive those who have sinned against you. Even when it’s almost impossibly hard. Even when they never say they’re sorry. Don’t let bitterness grow.
- Look to Jesus and live. There is no other hope for thirty-year-olds (or anyone else) but in Him. He is willing and able to rescue sinners, so don’t ever stop turning to Him for forgiveness and help. And that’s the most important thing I’ve learned in thirty years – the most important thing I’ll ever learn – no matter how many more milestone birthdays I see.
~ Miss Sarah