Wisdom//

70 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner

Age-old wisdom on love, death, growth, and life.

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By SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock
By SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock

Dear Younger Me:

I know that many folks make you feel scared to pursue your dreams. They whisper doubts and spread fear and make you question everything, don’t they? Do you know why they do that? Because they’re scared to pursue their dreams, not because you should be scared to pursue yours!

Truth is, sharing your gifts and passions with the world is what we’re all meant to do. But not everyone has the same courage you do. We’re all capable, but we don’t all believe it.

Belief. That’s what this is really all about. Believing in yourself, believing in your vision, and believing that you can help make the world a little brighter and a little better along the way.

And I know you can do just that. I’ve seen what year after year of hard work spent sharing your gifts with the world looks like. Because I am you. With a few more years, a few more wrinkles, and a few more lessons learned.

Speaking of lessons, we wrote an entire eBook filled with ‘em! Yes, that’s right—a digital book! That dream of ours has finally become a reality. So don’t fret so much. Keep working hard and learning—and treating others with kindness and compassion, too. They need all the compassion they can get in order to tackle their fear head-on. And you have a way with words that can help them do just that.

It’s about time you let yourself wield it.

With all my heart,

Ever-So-Slightly-Older Me

See below for the description for and excerpts from my first eBook, 70 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner. My biggest wish is that it saves you from hurt, helps you heal, and casts out your fear. Turns out, we need all three more than ever.

70 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner eBook Description

The debut eBook from celebrated personal development blogger, Chris Rackliffe, 70 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner is the follow-up to Chris’ viral online story, 16 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner, which reached hundreds of thousands online. A deep-dive into dozens of life-changing lessons, 70 Life Lessons imparts all of the unavoidable truths and practical advice Chris learned the hard way. From the death of his mother to the missteps he made in his dating life, and from a decade spent living in New York City to the wisdom that only comes through living boldly and bravely, 70 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner will have you taking notes, pondering your experiences, and approaching your life with a whole new outlook.

70 Life Lessons is packed with tips and tricks that will save you heartbreak, help you cope, and hasten your healing. The eBook imparts all of those pieces of eternal wisdom both big and small Chris wishes had been gifted to him sooner. Consider them his gifts to you. Written in Chris’ conversational style and painted with the colorful detail of his signature storytelling, 70 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner will leave you feeling a little wiser, a little lighter, and a little braver—and wanting to tell your friends about it, too.

6 Life Lessons Excerpted from 70 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner

Life Lessons I Would Tell My Younger Self

10. Vulnerability is bravery.

You may think that telling the truth about what you’ve been through and the pain and heartbreak you’ve experienced is weak and unwise. But that’s just a lie we tell ourselves. 

The real act of courage is showing up—wounds and all—and baring your soul anyway. Because we all have been hurt by something. That’s what makes us human. And talking about it is what brings us together in a deep and meaningful way.

Your past only has power over you if you keep it locked away in the dark. But it’s no match for the light of the truth. Watch as folks gravitate towards this light like bugs to a bulb. 

Vulnerability is magic. And that magic is magnetic. And healing.

Life Lessons in Truth

24. Life goes on.

Robert Frost once said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”

John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Heraclitus once said, “There is nothing permanent except change.

You get the point. Life itself is in a perpetual state of flux—of ebb and flow.

Look no further than to your local river or lake to observe the tides going in and out. When it seems like life is flooding you with more than you can handle, know that the tide will eventually go back out. This too shall pass.

Everything has a finite end. The worst storms, the longest winters, the biggest stars—they will all diminish with time.

And so will you. But life goes on.

Life Lessons in Love

42. Love is in the details.

Love is a hug after a hard day at work. Love is reaching for your partner’s hand when he’s struggling to find the words. Love is a kiss on the forehead in the backseat of a cab. Love is being held when you’re crying. Love is “we’ve got this.” Love is the thoughtful text out of the blue. Love is flowers for no reason. Love is in all of the everyday, mundane moments just as much as it is in the big, celebratory ones.

John Green said it best in The Fault in Our Stars: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

Try your best to take it all in. Slowly, and then all at once.

Life Lessons in Death

45. Express love with every chance you get.

Even though my father raised me as a single parent and my mom lived over 1,000 miles away for most of my life, she never missed an opportunity to convey just how much she loved me.

I recently rediscovered one of the hundreds of cards she sent me in the mail over the years. This one was from the fall of 2004. “I’m very proud of you, honey,” she wrote. “You’re such a good person. I’m very proud to be your mom. You only have seven months to go before graduation and I will be there if I have to save up money now. I would not miss it for the world. Be good, honey. I always think about you—always. Three months until your 18th birthday! Hugs and kisses. Love, Mom.”

My mom absolutely adored me. And she made sure I knew it. She was really special in that way. I guess on some level she understood she wasn’t going to be around forever. And so she left me with thousands of little reminders that reassure me even to this day.

The love she gave away so freely to others is what inspires me to write. It’s what inspires me to motivate you. It’s what inspires me to wear my heart on my sleeve. Her gift to me has become my gift to the world. I guess that’s the true power of love: It multiplies.

Thanks, mom, for showing me that love is the gift that keeps on giving. May it continue to ripple out long after I’m gone. And may it never, ever stop.

New York Life Lessons

51. Take your opportunities like your trains—as they come.

Opportunities are like trains. Some are perfect and right on time. Others are late and make you wait. And still others will feel like unrequited love slipping through your fingertips.

But no matter how long it takes or how painful the wait, there is always another train; another opportunity will always present itself.

Your time will come. All you have to do is offer up your talents, push yourself beyond your fears, and let the Universe do the rest. And, while you never know how long things will take, rest assured that everything happens as it should—and in due time. After all, you can never be late to your life; you can only be late to realize that you’re right where you’re meant to be.

Have faith.

Life Lessons from Self-Help and Personal Development Gurus

61. Never close your heart.

Life can be tough. Each time we experience heartbreak and loss, obstacles and setbacks, it is tempting to shut down, clam up, and close off—to disconnect from despair. But when we close ourselves off, we actually do more damage in the process. Marianne Williamson addresses this in A Return to Love: “Closing our hearts destroys our peace because it’s alien to our nature. It warps us and turns us into people we’re not meant to be.” The only true way out of pain is through. Only then can we restore a sense of peace in our lives by learning to sit with the discomfort of change. Michael A. Singer underscores the significance of an open heart in The Untethered Soul when he says, “Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it.”

Refuse to let life harden you. Stay soft but strong. Be resilient but reverent. Stay open no matter what happens and you’ll experience the fullness of what it means to be human.

Chris Rackliffe’s debut eBook, 70 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner, is available now on Amazon.

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