57 Things I've Learned in 57 Years

Birthdays have a way of causing you to reflect, especially as that number starts getting higher. You know, like eligible for AARP.

I actually enjoy each birthday and thankful for each one. Am I taking the high road? Nope, I for really don't mind sharing my age (see the title) mainly because I know so many who have not been able to celebrate this many.

As I begin year 57, this morning I was reflecting on all the life lived over the past 56. And it's been a lot. Good years, bad years, hard times, good times, loss, grief, success and failure, birth and joy. It's all been there and thankfully lived with a covering of God's grace.

There have been so many things learned over those years, and many things yet still to learn. I can say that now knocking on 60's door, as opposed to when I was 20 and already knew it all.

I'm sure I could make a list, much longer but for your encouragement or entertainment or just so I have it written down somewhere, here are 57 Things I've Learned in 57ish Years.

57 Things I've Learned in 57 Years

1.  Forgive. Period. Forgive others and move on.

2.  Listen to your kids when they are little. This tells them they are important and then when they are older they will still want to talk to you.

3.  Set boundaries and keep them. Everyone is not God ordained to be part of your life.

4.  Accept the changing seasons of life. Find the joy and beauty in each one.

5.  Hold on to the good memories but leave the bad ones in the past.

6.  Be thankful. This alone will change your life.

7.  Friendships take work. Be willing and do the work.

8.  That career will never love you like your family does. Prioritize wisely.

9.  Pay attention to the red flags in life, your intuition (spirit) is more perceptive than your heart.

10.  It's ok to start over. More than once.

11.  Say "I'm sorry." The people you love are more important than your pride.

12.  Take the vacation, even if it's just a staycation.

13.  Live in a house with a front porch. Always. Preferably with a swing or rocking chairs.

14.  Say please and thank you. They are easy words and pay respect to others.

15.  Help others. In all your life seasons, don't wait until you have "extra".

16.  Hug your people. Tell them you love them. Often. We tell them when they are 4, why do we stop when they are 24?

17.  Blood doesn't make you family, love does.

18.  Not everyone who wants to be part of your life has good intentions, be willing to close the door or walk away.

19.  Don't try to blend in. You are unique. On purpose. Embrace what God has created uniquely in you.

20.  Spend time doing what you are passionate about.

21.  Let it go. Holding on to bitterness, anger, unforgiveness steals your happiness and peace.

22. Go to the game, recital, concert, exposition. Your kids only play for a short time. Give them the memory of knowing you were there supporting them.

23.  Be the person God inserts into someone else's life. When He says go, go. Be a blessing.

24.  Volunteer. Serve. Give of yourself to help out. At work, at church, at school, in the community. They say 10% of the people do 90% of the work. Be part of the 10%.

25.  Learn to be content. More isn't always better, often times, more just becomes a burden instead of a blessing.

26.  Get outside. Walk barefoot. Soak up some sun (with appropriate sun screen, of course)

27.  Talk to God every day. Hourly most days. Keep a constant connection.

28.  Cultivate patience.

29.  Do your best.

30.  Learn something new every day. Always keep a teachable spirit.

31.  Say no to credit cards.

32.  Consider the other person's point of view.

33.  Plant something and watch it grow. It teaches you nurturing and patience.

34.  Not everyone will like you and that's ok. Read this one repeatedly.

35. Pray for others. All the time.  

36.  Consequences often outlive momentary choices. Choose wisely.

37.  Mend your relationships with loved ones.

38.  Forgive your parents, they were just kids trying to figure out how to parent.

39.  Stop waiting until everything is perfect to do the thing. Everything will never be perfect.

40.  Send the card. Write the letter. Make the call. When someone comes to mind, connect. Don't put it off. (see #23)

41. Write it down. No, you won't remember it later.

42.  Play with the grandkids. Don't just watch them playing, get in there and play too.

43.  Don't wish for someone else's life. You are where you are on purpose. Find that purpose.

44.  Use your gifts to bless others and find joy in it.

45.  Do what you can with what you've got. You don't have to do everything.

46.  Don't worry about the acceptance or approval of people you don't even know.

47.  Laugh. Often and especially at yourself. Be joyful.

48.  Stop complaining. If you can help, then help. If not, then pray.

49.  Be an encourager. Pour love into those around you. Every one.

50.  Don't burden others with the weight of conformity to your opinions.

51.  Sugar is not your friend.

52.  Stress and anxiety are real. Find genuine solutions and not momentary comfort.

53.  Read more. More books, magazines and especially the Bible. Just read more.

54.  Be truthful.

55. Enjoy every day. Notice the blessings. Look for the miracles of God. Sometimes they are big but often they are small and silent.

56.  Live without malice.

57.  Jesus really does love me. And you too.

Oh the lessons, many hard learned, contained in this list. But isn't that the way though? Difficult times, poor choices, regret, missed opportunities can lead all of us to wisdom with the help of God's grace. I must admit, some I am still learning and many I have to be reminded of frequently.

In the end, everything comes down to #57 which really should be #1.

  • Do any of these resound with you? Are you in a season which aligns with something mentioned above? I would love to hear from you.

  • Anything on this list surprise you? I mean, it's all kind of telling. I have to admit, if I listed it above, at some time or another I was struggling with the concept, or something happened in my life which brought home the lesson. 

  • What has been something you have learned in your years traveling around the sun? Sharing our personal experiences can be a great comfort to someone traveling through similar circumstances or even caution signs for others.

Dear Lord, thank you for every birthday and all the days in-between. Thank you that each new day is full of Your mercies. Thank you for each person You have brought into my life, whether for a moment, a season or forever. It is hard to thank you for the circumstances surrounding some of these lessons learned, but thank You for always being there, for never giving up on me and always delivering me through. Forgive the moments, times and years when I have sinned and failed others. I thank You for their forgiveness because I know that only You make that possible. Be with the one reading this today, who may be struggling. I pray they are encouraged by this thin testimony, and they are reminded of Your goodness and grace. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Blessings Soul Friends,


Soul friends thank you for visiting on my birthday. I would love for you to have this free color page of Proverbs 18:24. Download and print a copy to color and share with your friends.
Jana Kennedy Spicer is a wife, mom and Nana.  A born and raised Texas-girl who loves boots, sunflowers, and sweet tea.  She has a heart for studying God's Word and is passionate about encouraging women to do the same.  Connect with Jana at SweetToTheSoul.com


Sandra Rodriguez - August 3rd, 2022 at 6:11pm

Thank you! I read all 57 and some hit home. My family is going through some division and I have decided to use some of these to help me in an attempt to help out my family. Hopefully be in a more positive place. Thank you! I also enjoy your free printables.

Wish me luck!

skinnielinnie82much - October 15th, 2022 at 12:37pm

@Sandra Rodriguez I wish you a blessed family. Using some of these tips to help out your family is great but one thing I've found being very involved in my own family is that I tend to focus on them and help them out and not myself.

I'm working on getting myself to the place emotionally where I can be of real assistance. And I think that foundation pivots on being God-centered which I moved away from to give my all to them.

If I had any advice to give it would be to give your all to God. God will supply you where family can simply drain you. Sometimes we center on them and they also center on themselves. Other times we try to help them be we are centered on us and our vision of what they need or should want.

I have failed in the last 2 decades to show up for myself like I want others to show up for me and I sometimes end up being alone and feeling abandoned. I got into a ministry situation that involved a lot of constant giving in and giving up and I realize I let myself go untended. I need to be strong for me to be solid for others. I can't give out of nothing. Though I've worked remarkably hard at it and the needs of the people in my family are changing a lot due to aging. So, just when you think you have the knots untangled; life upends and throws another curve. People who used to give all the time are now totally self-absorbed with health needs. But through these times, God is the only sustenance we may have. And the only source of wisdom. If we lose our connection to the Holy Spirit we simply whisper our own limited understanding to ourselves and that can lead to destructive places.

Just a thought. Grab your Life Application Bible or other study aid filled Bible and spend time in prayer praying for yourself and those people. Ask God to reveal the source of brokenness and healing. That will really help them and you and provide guidance. Family isn't everything. They may leave. They may be unavailable. They may be self absorbed or have world views so divergent you can't bridge them. God is a refuge and help in times of trouble. Often the only one.