Reading Fr. Martin's list (below) got me thinking about my own life. I, too, reached a milestone this year. I'm just a little older (cough!) than Father and my life certainly took a different path than his.
When I was twenty-five I was somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist depending on the day. I was born in the early 50's, my early teens and teenage years were spent in the crazy era of the 60's. By the 70's, I was wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life. In 1979 I met my husband and that's when everything changed.
Sometimes, I look back and think, "I wish I knew this at 25!" One thing about looking back on your life (especially when you reach a milestone birthday) is that you can get caught up in the "would have, should have, could have" way of thinking which leads to nowhere.
I'm going to apply Father's list for the New Year. I'm not one to make resolutions because I always break them, but I think I can handle this list:
Twelve things I wish I knew at 25: Spiritual Learnings on my 50th Birthday by Rev. James Martin. S.J.
1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It's useless. (i.e. Jesus was right.)
2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.
3. There's no right way to pray, any more than there's a right way to be a friend. What's "best" is what works best for you.
4. Remember three things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You're not God. This ain't heaven. Don't act like a jerk.
5. Your deepest, most heartfelt desires are God's desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.
6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God's grace.
7. Don't worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.
8. You can't force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.
9. When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else's life falsely. So our real-life loses out. I.e. Compare and despair.
10. Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.
11. Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I'm so happy for you! Why not? Yes.
12. Peace and joy come after asking God to free you -- from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate.
The original article can be read here.