Monday, April 23, 2012

Caryl lists: 17 Things I've Learned in the Last 5 Years (about life at this age)

That's me in the hat celebrating a milestone birthday at the Taj Mahal.
Birthdays, like reunions, are occasions for looking back--and since my birthday is tomorrow, I thought I'd share with you as I promised in my last post what I learned in the past half decade. I was surprised how much more of life has come into focus. I was shooting for 5 things but stopped at 17 because I know your time is precious.

By the way, this is neither the format nor the tone of Harvard's Red Book because if there is one thing we have all learned in our second life,  it's that we can do what we want now (and we really don't give a damn what other people think).  Clarity, in fact,  may be the prize for being this age (see #16).  So here's what I've learned--from the trivial to the imperial--and in no particular order:

1. Beauty at this age requires lots of maintenance

2. Housework is largely repetition. (I am pretty sure I have loaded—and unloaded-- the dishwasher 5, 475 times in past half-decade.)

3. Never wear a white whiter than your teeth. (Okay, I wrote this one when I was in my 20s for a Glamour article but it is truer than ever.)

4. If you want to do something, do it now

5. Money helps.

6. No one asks to be born but no one asks to die either.

7. I love my family but I need my friends.

8. There is no such thing as a empty nest. (Yes, I stole this from Ronnie.)

9. It is better to be loved than to have loved and lost.

10. Later middle age has a lot in common with prolonged adolescence. (Hint: In both stages you are trying to figure out your next life.)

11.  You can’t pick your genes but you can pick healthy habits.. 

12. Travel in your second life is as important as education in your first.  Both enlarge your worldview.

13. Appreciation of the arts --unlike most other things-- improves with age.

14. Technology is sometimes friend, sometimes foe and but mostly frustrating.

15. It’s okay to run away. Distance provides perspective.

16. Wisdom may be a consolation prize.

17. Life is hard but also good. Jump for joy everyday while you can.

Let me know if you too have discovered one of the items on this list.  Or,  maybe you can share 
you own epiphanies for a second life.  We need all the help we can get to "make the best of the rest".  


  1. Great list! Hope your birthday rocks!

    College roomie.

    1. Come out behind the curtain. I had many college roommates--and
      a wonderful birthday. Hope you will continue stopping by but first I want
      to know who you are so I can thank you for following us.

  2. Let go.....of middle to big size dogs if they begin to pull you

    1. I am adding this to the list. Love, love, love this maxim.
      Don't know who are but you are funny and wise.

  3. Happy Birthday!! What a great time for me to discover you.
    Jumping for joy seems to be the right thing to do no matter what age. And, girlfriends RULE !!

    1. Hi Splenderosa,

      Thanks for the birthday wishes. The celebrating lasted almost two works so
      I am just getting to reply now. I love your blog too. Can't remember how
      I found your site. Was it Tish? Slim? PVE? No matter, I am glad to be part
      of your (blogging) world now.. And, web-girlfriends rule too.

  4. Happy Birthday, Caryl. I love the photo!

    1. It was an amazing moment. My daughter was with me that morning (and next
      to me in the picture), and we ran into two of her friends from the semester abroad program. The photographer said" "Jump!". And we did. Not so surprising for them but more so for me who is almost 40 years older than those airborne young things.