“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

~Abraham Lincoln

There are so many lessons we learn as we grow older.

We find we concentrated on the wrong things, went after the wrong goals, or wasted our time with things that don’t really matter to us in the end.

As you live your life, you want to know that what you are doing is the “right” choice, in the end.

And since that is something we can’t know just yet for ourselves, we have to listen to the advice of others.

Others who have lived, who have loved, and who have lost.

Here we have compiled for you a list of lessons those people would like us to know before its too late.

1. Always swallow your pride to say you’re sorry. Being too proud to apologize is never worth it — your relationship suffers for no good benefit.

2. Possessions are worse than worthless — they’re harmful. They add no value to your life, and cost you everything. Not just the money required to buy them, but the time and money spent shopping for them, maintaining them, worrying about them, insuring them, fixing them, etc.

3. Slow down. Rushing is rarely worth it. Life is better enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

4. The moment is all there is. All our worries and plans about the future, all our replaying of things that happened in the past — it’s all in our heads, and it just distracts us from fully living right now. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment.

5. When your child asks for your attention, always grant it. Give your child your full attention, and instead of being annoyed at the interruption, be grateful for the reminder to spend time with someone you love.

6. Do less. Most people try to do too much. They fill life with checklists, and try to crank out tasks as if they were widget machines. Throw out the checklists and just figure out what’s important. Stop being a machine and focus on what you love.

7. Don’t be a follower. If you find yourself swimming with all the other fish, go the other way. They don’t know where they’re going either.

8. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Don’t be afraid to make them. Try not to repeat the same ones too often.

9. Failures are the stepping stones to success. Without failure, we’ll never learn how to succeed. So try to fail, instead of trying to avoid failure through fear.

10. Rest is more important than you think. People work too hard, forget to rest, and then begin to hate their jobs. Same goes for fitness routines, and social obligations. Don’t burn yourself out.

11. Life is about the simple pleasures. There are few joys that equal a good book, a good walk, a good hug, or a good friend.

12. A good walk cures most problems. Want to lose weight and get fit? Walk. Want to enjoy life but spend less? Walk. Want to cure stress and clear your head? Walk. Want to meditate and live in the moment? Walk. Having trouble with a life or work problem? Walk, and your head gets clear.

13. Let go of expectations. When you have expectations of something — a person, an experience, a vacation, a job, a book — you put it in a predetermined box that has little to do with reality. You set up an idealized version of the thing (or person) and then try to fit the reality into this ideal, and are often disappointed. Instead, try to experience reality as it is, appreciate it for what it is, and be happy that it is.

14. Giving is so much better than getting. Give with no expectation of getting something in return, and it becomes a purer, more beautiful act. Too often we give something and expect to get an equal measure in return — at least get some gratitude or recognition for our efforts. Try to let go of that need, and just give.

15. Gratitude is one of the best ways to find contentment. We are often discontent in our lives, desire more, because we don’t realize how much we have. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, be grateful for the amazing gifts you’ve been given: of loved ones and simple pleasures, of health and sight and the gift of music and books, of nature and beauty and the ability to create, and everything in between. Be grateful every day.

16. Create. The world is full of distractions, but very few are as important as creating. Creating is your time to express yourself, to be mindful of yourself.

17. Get some perspective. Usually when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. In the larger picture, this one problem means almost nothing. This fight we’re having with someone else — it’s over something that matters naught. Let it go, and move on.

18. Don’t sit too much. It kills you. Move, dance, run, play.

19. Learn the art of empathy. Too often we judge people on too little information. We must try to understand what they do instead, put ourselves in their shoes, start with the assumption that what others do has a good reason if we understand what they’re going through. Life becomes much better if you learn this art.

20. Life is exceedingly brief. You might feel like there’s a huge mass of time ahead of you, but it passes much faster than you think. Your kids grow up so fast you get whiplash. You get gray hairs before you’re done getting your bearings on life. Appreciate every moment.

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And last but not least, secret lesson #21 :

21. There is still a lot left to learn. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that we know almost nothing. Life has many lessons left to teach us, and we should be looking forward to them all.