1. The absolute most important thing we can do in this world is love and care for children – yours, mine, and ours.

2. Forgiveness means that I have moved on, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to take you with me.

3. In every situation, there is always something for which to be grateful.

4. Love never ends, but sometimes it changes venues.

5. Intention is a matter of the heart but the effect of any action is felt in the soul regardless.

6. Lucy Ricardo knew how to make taking oneself seriously very funny.

7. You usually can’t plant new seeds without stirring up the soil.

8. A soft answer may turn away wrath, but I will get all up in your face if I see you pick on someone who is not your own size.

9. Sobriety allows me to see more clearly and love more dearly.

10. Making a judgment call requires courage. Being judgmental is cowardly.

11. Sometimes a swear word tastes as sweet as a cupcake, but too much of one will become a burden on the lips and too much of the other a burden on the hips. But still, I like swearing and cupcakes, which makes me a work in progress.

12. Happiness isn’t something you have to go looking for, it’s always right where you put it.

13. We don’t escape this life without hurting others from time to time; it’s what we do about it that matters.

14. If I’m uncertain, I can wait.

15. If there weren’t rough patches on the mountain, we’d have nothing to hang on to as we climb.

16. Explanations are often overvalued in the mind of the explainer. Words of comfort and acts of love are strong currency in any situation.

17. If we aren’t busy trying to bury them, we find that we can withstand the painful memories just as we have already withstood the pain itself.

18. I can feel compassion for someone without acting on it.

19. A mother of the bride’s role is to effectuate her daughter’s vision. The father of the bride’s role is to bring the mother of the bride coffee in the morning, give her foot rubs at night, and do some other stuff in between.

20. Freedom from the burden of blame means that while I may acknowledge that what you did was wrong, I take responsibility for how it affects me now.

21. The tools of avoidance are often far more painful than the pain itself.

22. When we pity someone else we look down into a pit from higher ground that insulates “us” from “them” and allows the illusion that we would never be faced with a similar challenge. When we feel compassion we are coming along side another human being with an engaged heart, to relate and interact with love and respect and empathy, even or especially when that is uncomfortable for us.

23. There are times that I cannot simultaneously set a healthy boundary and take care of the other person’s feelings.

24. Acceptance is the opposite of giving up.

25. The phone part of my iPhone totally sucks, but the awesomeness of the “i” part makes the suckage of the phone part sort of totally worth it, which means I’m fifty years into this life and I’m still involved in a dysfunctional relationship.

26. Diogenes said, “We have two ears and one tongue in order that we may hear more and speak less.” I would add that we also have two eyes that if kept open will allow us to see what others will show us, and a heart that will allow love and blood to flow out through the veins and in through the arteries if we stay away from hate and trans fats.

27. Humor is sometimes a gift and sometimes a burden. It is a source of pleasure, relaxation, and laughter. It can be harmful though when it is used to block the direct expression of feelings, thoughts, and ideas. But still, I will never believe that finding the humor and seeking the truth are mutually exclusive.

28. Love means being willing to say you’re sorry and mean it, whenever the person you love needs to hear it.

29. I used to think that sarcasm was a combination of wry insight and wit. I still think that sarcasm derives from legitimate frustration and pain, but I now see that its function is to diminish the other person.

30. The more you find yourself hurt by or annoyed with someone, the more that person has to teach you about yourself.

31. It is not my job to make my children happy. My job is to teach my children that they are responsible for their own happiness, to encourage them to follow their dreams, and to guide them to the tools that I think they will need to do it.

32. The little voice inside of you usually has something big to say.

33. Guilt trips require a lot of baggage.

34. It’s okay to say no, and repeat as necessary.

35. If you’re afraid to fly by the seat of your pants, find a best friend or two who does, put your arms around her, and enjoy the way the wind feels in your hair.

36. Problems are hard things, not bad things.

37. Doing right isn’t always good. Doing good is always right.

38. I’ve tried it both ways, and I can tell you for sure that it is easier to turn your best friend into a spouse than it is to turn your spouse into a best friend.

39. Soul mates are like ducks in a pond. They look so natural and peaceful as they glide along the water, and they’re paddling under the surface to keep moving along together.

40. A mother’s love is never divided when she has more than one child, it is multiplied.

41. If you dance like nobody’s watching, there is a greater chance it will end up on YouTube.

42. Try on the shoes before you buy them, but don’t waste your time on shoes that don’t fit even if you think they look good.

43. You can’t celebrate differences if you don’t recognize the universal oneness in all creatures.

44. Thoughts have power, but putting a little action behind our intentions goes a long way toward making shit happen.

45. I am blessed with the best friends in the world as evidenced by our ability to sit at the same wooden table listening, talking, eating, crying, laughing, drinking and not drinking, occasionally getting up to pee or negotiate a peace treaty between a couple of kids, and not realizing until it did that nine hours just went by.

46. At the age of fifty, I look back and realize that I had a good body when I was twenty-five, but I sure didn’t like it then. I’m going to try to start liking my fifty-year-old body now because waiting until I’m seventy-five seems like a big waste of time and energy.

47. I’ve never met a man in eyeliner I didn’t like.

48. All you need to know is in his kiss.

49. Heaven and Hell are real. Heaven is inside of each of us, and Hell is not knowing it.

50. Plain M&Ms are the best. Plain M&Ms with Adam Lambert’s and my picture on them make the best better.

Edited to add:
P.S. Some of these thoughts are original, some were borrowed and adopted, others were borrowed and amended, and many more were bought and paid for during years of therapy.

40 comments on “Fifty Things I Spent Fifty Years Figuring Out”

  1. Happy Birthday, Cheri! I’ve missed you. And I loved each and every one of these words of wisdom. You are a wise woman. Glad you’re back.

    P.S. I feel exactly the same way about my iPhone.

  2. Dearest Cheri- this is the MOST fabulous list I have seen to date! I, too, am going to print it and keep it close by. Fifty really is fabulous (I know 2 fabulouses in 1 comment). And YOU will make it even more fabulous!! Happy, happy birthday!

  3. I wish I’d read this before I sent that last email. Shoot. Laura definitely got her Mensa genes from you. Incredible list from an incredible woman. Thank you. Happy Birthday, Cheri 🙂

  4. Nothing short of brilliant. I love this! I too, will print this out and post. Already shared it with a bunch of friends. Love you, amazing birthday girl. I feel extremely lucky to call you my friend.

  5. Thanks to friends like you, I’m not so stressed about turning 50…you have done it with such grace and beauty…that wonderful sense of humor and all your insights help so much.
    Fifty schmifty.
    pffftttt.
    Happy Birthday, my friend.
    love, hugs and M&Ms to you!!

  6. Too much to digest in one reading! You’ve been saving up for us! I’ll have to come back later to review it again ~ I may have no choice but to print it out.

    Happy birthday, Cheri! Wishing you a healthy, joy-, love- and laughter-filled year ahead!

  7. Sigh, just when I think I can’t possibly love you more, you write stuff like this and, wham, there is goes again, exploding like the love of having multiple children (how does that multiplier thing work if they both come out at once?!). This speaks to my soul, convicts me on some, lifts me up on all of them. Like many others, it’s getting printed (don’t worry, I’ll add a copyright notice!).

    Dibs on the next husbandship…

    You Rock and Happy 50th!

  8. whew. i probably know 50 things, but i’m not sure i could express all 50 at one time like you can.

    “Intention is a matter of the heart but the effect of any action is felt in the soul regardless.”

    this one caught my eye because i’m always (well, not literally always but often enough) doing things with a pure heart that come back and bite me in the soul. i’m too am improving with age- the “secret” is to keep my mouth closed until i first think about what i’m going to say.
    which is ‘nigh impossible.

  9. The tools of avoidance are often far more painful than the pain itself.

    words obviously spoken by someone lucky enough not to have known constant, neverending pain.

    but i know what you mean. it’s like worry. i worry about much more than what really happens.

  10. I found your site from Pumpkin Delight. I love it. I’m going to poke around a little bit, but don’t worry I’ll put everything back where I found it!!

  11. #22 reminds me of when I asked you to write a post about my Dad especially the last 7 words … thank you, Cheri 🙂

    re: #23 & #24 – perfect for a friend who unfortunately will never understand #24

    Agree with you on #29…I’ve stopped using it.

    re: #45 – wish i lived closer to you

    re: #46 – hear, hear!!!

    #47: Keith Richards, Captain Jack Sparrow and your Adam jump to mind

    love you, Cheri!

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