Instead of year-end reviews and new-year resolutions, I’d like to share important lessons I have learned.

Most came the hard way. That’s the first lesson: the easy way rarely leads anywhere worth going.

Here are other lessons.

  • Make your bed and wash the dishes. Take pride in doing the basics well.

  • If you make a mess, clean it up.

  • Trust your gut.

  • Don’t seek revenge, seek justice.

  • Tell the truth, even when it’s inconvenient.

  • If the cashier gives you too much change, give back what isn’t yours.

  • Embrace your uniqueness, don’t rush to conform.

  • Be as beautiful, handsome, successful and skilled as you can be, and don’t listen when others set standards and boundaries that only serve them.

  • Listen first, speak second.

  • Don’t tell anyone to “shut up,” especially a child.

  • Love your partner and be as loyal, steadfast, patient and generous as you can be. Trust your partner to fill in the missing pieces.

  • Don’t let someone pay you less than you are worth. Don’t demand more than you are worth.

  • Enjoy work.

  • Don’t go along with the crowd.

  • Not every argument is worth having. Look up facts, and be kind toward opinions.

  • Being right counts for little. Getting your way counts for little. Being generous counts for everything.

  • Dream unceasingly. What you see in front of you is never all that can be.

  • Change isn’t your enemy. People who resist change to protect their privileges are the enemy.

  • Light and darkness are always at war. Your life is what they fight over.

  • When a preacher tells you what you want to hear, stop listening.

  • Politicians and cowards aren’t to be trusted.

  • Eat simply, live simply, love extravagantly.

  • Soldiers fight wars that politicians declare. Respect and support the troops. Choose better leaders.

  • When teachers and bankers earn what they truly contribute to society, it will be a better world.

  • A healthy society protects the vulnerable. A corrupt society allows dark forces to prey on the vulnerable. We live in the latter. Time to fix it.

  • Praying to God is wise. Scripting God’s response is foolish.

  • When people quote Scripture and the US Constitution in pursuit of power, your freedom is at risk.

  • People want jobs, not handouts. People want respect, not pity. People want freedom, not comfort.

  • Owning a black robe doesn’t confer wisdom on judge or preacher. Look at the Supreme Court.

  • If someone criticizes you for voicing an opinion that they don’t like, voice it again. And again. The sky won’t fall on either of you.

  • The greatest rock and roll songs of all time are those that made your heart sing.

  • Always be reinventing the wheel. Always pursue change for the sake of change.

  • Be curious about what lies around the next corner.

  • Read stories to children. Then buy them books.

Happy New Year! What important lessons have you learned?

Photo: View from the headland at Bodega Bay, California.