The older you get, the younger you feel…

For some of us, birthdays become less important as the years go by, as if by ignoring them, time will stand still. On the other hand, some of us prefer to make a big deal out of birthdays, because, after all, you never really know which one may be your last. For me, I appreciate birthdays because they make me reflect, not just on the past year, but also on the future.

And while I don’t relish the passage of time (wrinkles and all that), I’m definitely happy to be here for another year — pandemic, Trump, Afghanistan, and climate change notwithstanding.  With that in mind, I thought it worth taking a moment to list a few valuable lessons I learned this year.

  1. Dare. In my case, I left a company I helped grow, wondering what life would be like on the other side.  Well, I can honestly say it’s been inspiring. I’ve been fortunate to join a dynamic young firm, ambitious, caring, and open-minded.  Taking the right risks really can pay off!
  2. Love your surroundings. While the pandemic continues to disrupt our lives, I’ve loved working from home every day.  Do I miss the personal interactions of an office?  Yes, sometimes, but the productivity and convenience make up for that.
  3. Appreciate what you have. It could blow up any second.
  4. Challenge assumptions. Don’t assume things need to be done the way they’ve always been done. In Quebec City, for example, pedestrians cross the street diagonally all the time. In fact, this is actually meant to be a safer way to cross the street!
  5. Try new things. I just tried riding an electric bike which (a) seemed scary (b) felt like cheating but it was fun, not scary, and after three hours, my legs hurt, so I guess it still provides a workout.
  6. Work hard. After a lifetime of experiences – some truly incredible in retrospect – the importance of work is invaluable in making you feel strong, smart and confident every day.
  7. Don’t foreclose your options and always keep something in reserve. At his 90th birthday dinner, following the opera flashmob, my dad shared these two important lessons from his own life and I’m finding that he couldn’t have been more right personally, financially and every other way.
  8. Break out of your comfort zone. Even at this stage – or maybe because of it – go for it. Whatever it is. Time is running out!
  9. Remember your friends. Especially now, as the years go by, relish your relationships, reboot and restore.  (Here we are, Michele, April and I, when we were 8. We’re still friends today.)
  10. Keep your head. I’m rarely proud of losing my cool. In fact, it usually makes me feel worse. So don’t do it.
  11. Embrace the new. Thinking differently about the world will open you up to new adventures. So go for it.

Feel free to reach out if you want to chat about birthdays, or if there’s anything you think is missing from this list! You can find me on LinkedIn or send me email.

P.S. And if you’re so inclined, here’s the real Birthday Paradox, algorithmically speaking ☺