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Essential Lessons to Learn for a Meaningful Life

Are there any essential and universal lessons we must all learn to make life meaningful? It’s possible – and they may not be quite what you’d expect!

A few days ago, my mother forwarded me one of those chain emails that have been going around a lot lately. This one included a collection of life lessons for every day, which was said to be written by Andy Rooney. You may remember him as the lovable, curmudgeonly commentator who for many years closed the CBS show “60 Minutes”.

The idea of the email was that you read and enjoy it, and then pass it along to your friends (including resending it to the person who sent it to you) in honor of National Friendship Week. These chains were common a few years ago, and they seem to be making a resurgence recently.

Read about Mental self-care for women Over 50

Who Wrote These Wise Words?

As it turns out, this essay was NOT written by Mr. Rooney, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 92. Rather, it was a collection of statements from many different people, compiled and published in the book Live and Learn and Pass It On, Volume II in 1995.

Even if Andy Rooney did not write them, these are all wonderful lessons to learn and share, and certainly worth a bit of reflection.

I didn’t pass on the email (I don’t do chain emails of any sort) but I’ve chosen to share the wisdom within the compilation with you for today’s Friday Favorites.

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have.

Woman holding flowers, life lessons for everyday

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Life Lessons for Everyday: Things I’ve Learned…

I’ve learned….That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned….That when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned….That just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my day!” makes my day.

I’ve learned….That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I’ve learned….That being kind is more important than being right.

things I've learned, little girl handing dandelion to someone

I’ve learned….That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned….That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned….That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned….That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned….That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned….That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve learned….That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

I’ve learned….That money doesn’t buy class.

things I've learned, older couple in park sitting on bench gazing at water

I’ve learned….That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I’ve learned….That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I’ve learned….That the Lord didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

I’ve learned….That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I’ve learned….That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned….That love, not time, heals all wounds.

life lessons, including adults in computer class

I’ve learned….That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I’ve learned….That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’ve learned….That there’s nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their breath on your cheeks.

I’ve learned….That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I’ve learned….That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

I’ve learned….That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I’ve learned….That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

things I've learned, adult and baby fists pump

I’ve learned….That I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time before he passed away.

I’ve learned….That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I’ve learned….That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I’ve learned….That I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

I’ve learned….That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you’re hooked for life.

Life Lessons, gravelly path through forest of trees

I’ve learned….That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

I’ve learned….That it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.

I’ve learned….That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

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Final Thoughts on Essential Lessons to Learn for a Meaningful Life

I hope you’ve found some wisdom in this collection…I know I have.

And while I didn’t love debunking the common belief that Andy Rooney was the author of these lines, I do recognize that wisdom can come from anyone, credited or not. I think this collection proves that.

Still, I can’t decide which of these “things I’ve learned” that is strongest for me – there is so much profound wisdom in this collection. I know I’ll be referring back to this list often.

Get the book: Live and Learn and Pass It on: People Ages 5 to 95 Share What They’Ve Discovered About Life, Love, and Other Good Stuff

What among these words has spoken to you? What have you learned today?

little girl in pink polka dot dress offering up huge yellow flower, life lessons for everyday

12 thoughts on “Essential Lessons to Learn for a Meaningful Life”

  1. I LOVED this post! Thanks for sharing its something I’ve bookmarked to come back too. There are some really good ones in here!

    Stephanie | SPV Living

  2. Some great life lessons here and a lot of things to think about. My favourite one was “I’ve learned….That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.”

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Ellie. Yes, revenge is a tricky topic, and can easily do more harm to you than the other person. Letting go of that desire can be hard though! I’m glad you enjoyed these wisdoms.

  3. This is so great! I love it when my little ones fall asleep in my arms, so I can definitely relate to that one. They look so sweet when they’re asleep! (They’re 5 and 3)

  4. Cate (

    This is such a wise and heartfelt list of lessons! A lot of them spoke to me, but especially “everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” This one really hit home for me, as a relatively new blogger. Thank you for sharing these!

    1. Thank you so much, Cate! That’s actually the same one that jumped out at me, as well! It is all about the journey! Especially as bloggers, it never really ends, but the growth is such a wonderful experience! I’m glad you enjoyed this.

  5. This is such a valuable post with so many great life lessons! Thank you for sharing your new found knowledge. My favorite one was learning from your elders, I’ve always spent time with my elders growing up and ty most valuable lessons were taught by them- not by tv, not by teachers, not by internet (especially cuz we didn’t have it back then) but by the strong women who raised me

    1. Thank you for your kind comments, Lisa Marie! I love hearing that you were raised by strong women – it’s the gift we can all give to future generations. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and hope you had a chance to poke around my blog a bit – I have many similar posts! thanks for reading!

  6. Wow, there are so many great life lessons here. I loved reading all of them. I resonated with some and learned from others – definitely some eye opening lessons here! Thank you for sharing this with us. I think, now more than ever, it’s important to value life, people, and the lessons we have learned.

    Much love always,
    GABBY |

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Gabby. I felt the same when I first read them all! I do hope people will move forward from the current crisis with more love, compassion, and thoughtfulness towards others. Thanks for reading!

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