1. Be kind (a rule to live by).
Henry James said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” You become the most beautiful person in the room if you are kind to everyone.
2. Life is short.
Don’t wait until you have enough time or enough money to do something. Tomorrow is promised to no one. There will never be “enough.”
3. Time flies (whether you’re having fun or not).
Whether you do what you want to do or not, next week, next month, and next year will arrive anyway (if you’re lucky). Why not enjoy the journey?
4. Never take your health for granted.
It is how you treat your body in the early years that will manifest in the later years. Treat it kindly. It is a temple where your spirit resides and it should be worshipped accordingly.
5. You are who you are.
Leopards don’t change their spots, and neither do people. If you are irritable and unhappy now, you will be irritable and unhappy times ten when you’re 90. So choose who you want to be now, knowing that it will affect who you will be in the future.
6. Remember people’s names.
Everyone wants to be acknowledged and know that they matter, they exist, and they are worth remembering. We all matter.
7. Practice service with a smile.
Service is the key to happiness. Service with a genuine smile and a desire to serve is priceless and appreciated more than you know.
8. Live by the “Golden Rule.”
Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Always. Period.
9. A sense of humor is mandatory.
If you can laugh at your situation or yourself, you are way ahead of the game. You will also probably live longer, and those around you will be happier too. One of my residents left me a joke every day in my mailbox, and he always put a smile on my face.
10. Be at peace with your past.
Regrets are a waste of time. You cannot change your past, so accept it and be grateful for the present.
11. Tell people you love them while you have the chance.
After coming back from a few days off to find out one of my favorite residents had passed away at 93, I promised myself to tell those I love what they mean to me, every time I have the chance.
12. A hug a day keeps the doctor away.
It has been proven that if a baby is not held and hugged, it will perish. We all need physical touch. I made a point to hug as many of my residents as I could. A hug says, “you matter to me.”
13. Karma is real.
Someone is keeping score. You get away with nothing, and it will follow you even if it doesn’t seem that way now. Be the person that people are happy to see arrive and sad to see go.
14. There are two things none of us can escape: death and taxes.
Be at peace with both. When you fight the inevitable, you will suffer the most pain.
15. Be grateful.
Have gratitude for what you have. There is always someone worse off than you.
16. Everyone has a story.
Listen. You just might learn something!