There are so many things we can learn in this life, from textbook lessons to matters of the heart. We cannot experience the journey without picking something up along the way, nor can we walk away without leaving something behind.
May some of these lessons go with you as you begin this new chapter of your life, and may you learn new things that will enhance and enrich the lovely person that you are.
1. No work is beneath you. Whether you're the president of a company or behind a fast-food counter, do your job with grace, a smile and the conviction that no matter what it is, it's worth doing.
2. Watch your words. The old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me", is a great falsehood. Remember the Indian proverb: "Before you speak, think: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true? Does it improve on the silence?" And ponder that before you speak. Never underestimate the power that words hold. They can be used for goodness or hurt, but either way, once said they are out there forever.
3. Forgive others, including yourself. Life is too short to harbor grudges, and resentment is like a poison. Forgiving someone doesn't necessarily let them 'off the hook' for a wrongdoing, but it allows each person to find peace and move on. Don't beat yourself up too much for making a mistake. We are human. When we falter it teaches us humility and allows us to seek guidance from above.
4. Don't judge others too harshly. We don't always know what's going on behind the scenes and often we are wrong in our assessments. Open up your hearts and leave the judging to God.
5. Be yourself and stay true to that. What you claim to be, be really. No matter where you go in life, you will always take "you" with you. Don't spend your time trying to be someone that others expect or want you to be. Simply be the best "you". You're not one in a million. You are the only 'you' there is at all.
6. Follow the Golden Rule...and beyond. Don't just treat people the way you want to be treated. Some people are more tolerant to bad behavior and expect no more for themselves. As I've always told my own kids: "You won't like everyone in this world and I don't expect you to befriend everyone. But I do expect you to be kind to them."
7. Be a true friend. Don't repeat hurtful gossip. Listen. Help. Laugh. Be trusting and trustworthy. Be kind, faithful and true. One of the best definitions I've heard for friendship is this: "A true friend is he who comes in when the rest of the world goes out."
8. Money isn't wealth. Family, friends, health, values, love and faith are. Keep material things in perspective and don't allow them to define who you are. The amount of money you have in your bank account has nothing to do with your riches.
9. Grow up, but don't grow old. At 80 years of age, my mother is the youngest person I know. Though she is responsible, level-headed and kind she is also light-hearted, fun-loving and adventurous. You can be child-like without being childish.
10. Learn how to say, "I'm sorry", for you will need those words often in life. You are never above an apology and it shows that you have both grace and wisdom. They are as important to say - and hear - as the words, "I Love You", and can be the bridge that rebuilds a broken heart.
Good Luck and God's Blessings to you! May the path we shared come together again one day.