New Perspectives

A 50-Year-Old Shared 15 Life Lessons For Her Younger Self

Dark Dwarf - Flickr

Turning 50 is a cause for celebration - or at least it should be.

While people are living longer than ever these days, many young people still look down on those over 50, and say they're "over the hill."

But with age comes wisdom (hopefully), and there's a lot we can learn from our elders.

One woman's advice to her younger self, inspired by her "half century on this planet," had proven to be so thoughtful that people can't stop sharing it.

"Life is better after 50."

50th birthday
What have you learned after 50 years (or more)?Silvia Corradin - Pexels

The inspiration for the good advice was a question posed on Quora, an online question-and-answer forum.

"What do 50-year-olds know that 20-year-olds often don't?" one user asked, inspiring a flurry of creative replies.

"Family matters more than anything," one user answered. "Don't sacrifice your family happiness for wealth or career. They aren't mutually exclusive but family is the one that matters most."

"Don't lie," answered someone else.

"Just don't do it. Even if it makes someone feel better. Getting trapped in lies is never good, and it's never worth the work it takes to get into it."

But one of the replies that got the most attention from readers came from lawyer Phyl Bean, who shared some pearls of wisdom that people in their 20s would never realize.

Since they were posted last year, Bean's 15 life lessons have been shared far and wide, so obviously plenty of people can relate to them.

If you're still young, maybe this is advice you need to hear. And if you're in your 50s (or beyond) maybe you can relate to these hard-earned life lesson.

Here are Bean's 15 life lessons that 50-year-olds know, and 20-year-olds don't:

1. Be Kind

Be kind. The benefits of being kind - or at the very least courteous - far outweigh the effort you put in. Do random acts of kindness. Compliment someone. If a retail or food-service worker makes a mistake, be understanding and patient. Kind people live longer than unkind people.

2. Trust Yourself

I know myself better than anyone else. I don't let anyone else's opinions control what I do, what I wear, or what I say. Other people's opinions are suggestions - take them or leave them.

3. Don't Doubt Yourself

Everyone else is as worried and insecure as you are. Some people just hide it better. It doesn't mean that they are any smarter or better than you.

4. Give Yourself A Break

Laugh it off. If you make a mistake, fall down, or do something dumb, just laugh it off. Other people (and you) will forget it a lot faster if you just let it roll off your back. EVERYONE makes dumb mistakes. Everyone. You aren't alone, and you aren't the biggest idiot in the world. Give yourself a break.

5. Be Confident

"Fitting in" is highly overrated. Be you. Confidence is sexy. Besides, great leaders didn't get where they are by following the crowd.

6. Don't Stay In A Bad Relationship

Don't stay in a bad relationship, even if it's "for the kids." Oftentimes, kids really thrive outside the bounds of a toxic relationship.

(Bean is a family law attorney, so trust her on this one!)

7. Don't Get Attached To "Stuff"

It's just stuff. Sure, stuff gets broken - oftentimes accidentally by people you love - and that's annoying. But your stuff can be replaced. You can never erase the hurtful words you say to the person you love, because they broke your stuff. Stuff is never, ever as important as those you love.

8. Trust Your Intelligence

You're probably a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for being.

9. Don't Judge

Don't judge. You don't know all the facts. That lady speeding down the road with her toddler unbuckled in the back seat may be panicked, heading for the hospital for an emergency that you can't see.

That "big kid" having a "tantrum" in the store may be on the autism spectrum, and is having a melt down, which he/she hates as much as you do.

The fat lady in the bikini may have lost 100lbs so far, and she's pretty darn proud of what she's done.

Don't shame people for smoking, drinking, or being fat. We all have our faults and bad habits. As a pretty famous guy is alleged to have said, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

10. Treat Your Inner Child

Never lose your inner child. Dance. Sing. Skip. Tell poop jokes (not to strangers, though). Go down the slide. Bounce at the bouncy house, if the attendant says adults are welcome.

This is an advantage to being older. When you're 20, people often think you're "too old" to do these things, but when a 50-something does them, it's charming. And if people think it's dumb, screw them. See #2 above.

11. Follow Your Own Path

Don't make major life decisions to please other people. Maybe your parents expect you to go to college, but you just want to go to trade school and become an auto mechanic, because that's where your heart is.

Or maybe (as in my case) your parents don't want you to go to college, but you really want to be an attorney. Live life for YOU. The world needs good auto mechanics and good attorneys. It'll all work out.

12. Let Go, Move On

Don't beat yourself up about stuff. Do what you can to fix your mistakes, then move on. Guilt is only good for pushing you toward making things right again. After that, it becomes shame, and shame is a toxic substance which will eat you up inside. Same for worry.

13. Enjoy Life

Enjoy life. Literally, stop to smell and admire the flowers. Wonder. Smile at strangers and see how many you can get to smile back. Have fun.

14. Live Each Day To The Fullest

Life goes by really, really fast. Live each day so that, at the end, you're reveling in how amazing your life was, not regretting all the things you did or didn't do.

15. Look Forward To The Future

Life is better after 50.

Did Bean's advice ring true for you? Do you have your own lessons from turning 50?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories.