Sharon, 79, shared her lessons for living in a letter with advice for every stage of life.

The topic you asked us to write about intrigued me. Thinking about it, it almost seems appropriate to have life lessons related to life stages:

Childhood

  • Believe in yourself and try to be around people who believe in you.
  • It is in fact hard for children to actually do this as they are limited in terms of the power and control they have over their environment. This is one of the major advantages of growing up.
  • Express yourself and explore.
  • Find a friend or soul mate to do it with you.

Young Adulthood

  • Work at finding something you are passionate about and pursue it.
  • Always aim to do more than is asked of you.
  • If you feel isolated and lacking in support, do something about it and don’t believe others if they say that they never feel that way too.
  • Find a life partner based on intimacy. A good test is: “Is that someone you would want to play with in the playground if you both were 6 years old?”
  • Chose someone for the joy or their voice or how they move; not to look after you financially or for status. Be prepared to find those things for yourself if you need them.

Adulthood

  • Never take your partner for granted. Treat them as you would your best friend. Good manners towards each other are an important part of home life. (I wish I knew this from my family of origin. It is one I am still struggling with.)
  • Hopefully you will have found your life partner first time around, but if not recognize the mistake and leave the relationship. It serves no purpose to ruin two people’s lives and it is important to model a positive relationship for your children
  • Children feel safest when they are with adults they can trust.
  • Be a trustworthy adult by being authentic and recognizing your own needs, and seeing that these needs are met. Modeling being a martyr does no favors to your children. Give them permission to do the same.
  • Enjoy your parents while they are still around both mentally and physically.

Now – Whenever That is

  • Balance your life so that you have time to enjoy the roses.
  • Do not take your health and well being for granted. Keep up the exercise and you can no longer indulge in some of the excesses that you could get away with when you were younger.
  • If your parents have become dependent on you, you have children again but this time you have to respect them as adults.
  • If you have not yet had a serious illness, be grateful.
  • Live each day as if you have had a serious look at your own mortality – so that there will be no regrets.
  • Enjoy the comfort and intimacy of old and newfound friends.
  • Give something back to the community.
  • Be a tribal elder.
  • Enjoy a good bottle of red.