41. Think twice before you say someone “beat cancer.” For one thing, it can imply that people who die of it are somehow losers who didn’t fight hard enough. And for another, no survivor is ever quite sure the disease is actually beaten, and having had certain cancers makes it more likely you will develop certain other types.
42. Sometimes surviving just means you were lucky.
43. And, sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good.
44. If you can be both lucky and good, it’s even better.
45. Gratitude has a powerful effect on mental health.
46. Deep love is not the fizzy, exciting feeling you experience when you first click with someone. It’s the warmth you feel inside when you look at your partner or friend or family member with new appreciation or old affection for a trait they possess.
47. Love isn’t selfish. Sometimes it requires sacrifice. But if you find you are sacrificing everything that makes you uniquely you, then it’s not love.
48. On that note, not all sociopaths are serial killers. There are plenty of them around, devoid of empathy and willing to do whatever it takes — without shame or remorse — to get what they want. They will gaslight you, lie, and make you think you’re crazy, all while professing to love you or be your friend. Yes, I speak from experience.
49. People have different ways of saying they love you, not all of them verbal. The Engineer is not one for unprompted compliments or cards and flowers, but if I break something, he usually fixes it, often without me even asking. And he lets me sip his beer when I don’t want a whole one, even though I know it annoys him. That’s love.
50. When someone does something for you, or makes your life easier in some way just because they can, try to appreciate it.
51. Likewise, try to be that person. Especially, when you can do someone a favor at no great cost to yourself, do it.
52. To quote the song, “say please, say thank you.”
53. If you can afford to, overtip. If you can’t afford even a decent tip, don’t go to full-serve restaurants. In some ways, this is not an issue during COVID-19 since carryout and delivery are the rule. But tipping delivery people is more important now than ever.
54. There’s a difference between surrounding yourself with things you love and being smothered by them. I’m at the point in my life where I’m trying to learn to discern between the two.
55. Every day above ground is a good day. I’m “happy to be here, happy to have hair,” and the second is still optional.
56. Sometimes I think the Golden Rule shouldn’t be “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them” because what makes me happy may not make someone else happy.
57. It’s important to find joy in little things because in the end, that’s what you will remember.
58. Referring back to #49, find a way to express love so the ones you love know you love them.
59. “When you’re going through hell, keep going.” Supposedly Winston Churchill said that, and it makes sense. When you’re in hell, that’s not a place to break down and stay.
60. Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules” = words to live — or at least eat — by.
Bonus: #61. And because it bears repeating, this is my reminder to myself for my 61st year: Try to be kind.
Happy Birthday to me!