Jennifer Brozek | 50 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years, Part 3

50 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years, Part 3

Being in my fifties now, I thought it would be a good thing to think about some thoughts I’ve learned that I’ve incorporated into my life—or try to. I’m not perfect. I’ve broken these 50 things in to five groups: Emotions, Habits, Love, Career, and Perspective. I will post one section a week for five weeks. This week’s section is: Love.

Love, in all its myriad forms, is complex, messy, beautiful, life-giving, soul-rending, and a thousand-thousand other adjectives, metaphors, and thoughts. I think, in essence, love is what makes us human. Family love, platonic love, ardent love, self-love (can’t forget that last one even though so many of us do for so much of our lives). I think love is one of the most important things we can recognize. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

  1. Love: Love that one thing. I mean, really love it. Unabashedly. Wholeheartedly. That hobby, that fandom, that sport, that craft. Love it with all of yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not okay.
  2. Love: Tell your beloveds that you love them. Use your words and your actions.
  3. Love: Love does not solve all problems, but it does help facilitate patience, empathy, compassion, understanding, and a host of other emotions and feelings between people.
  4. Love: In all relationships, manners matter. Especially with those closest to you, the ones you love the most. “Please.” and “Thank you.” go a long way.
  5. Love: Learning to declutter what you do not absolutely love/want in your life is such a valuable skill. I mean this physically, emotionally, and mentally. That way you surround yourself with only those things you appreciate.
  6. Love: Sometimes the best way to love someone is to listen to them with an open heart and a closed mouth.
  7. Love: When you are comfortable enough to discuss body fluid issues with someone, that is love—be it platonic, familial, or eros. Love includes all the disgusting stuff we go through, too. It’s part of what makes us human.
  8. Love: Loving yourself in all shapes, sizes, and ages is an act of rebellion tempered with the need to keep yourself healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally in a culture designed to gaslight you into buying things you don’t really want or need so that corporations can turn a profit.
  9. Love: If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself. You are worth that much love.
  10. Love: Use pet names for yourself (Dearheart, Sweetie, Hunkaluv, etc…) and not insults. Especially when self-correcting. “No, Dearheart, today is Tuesday, not Friday.”
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