25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years – Part 4

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16. Have a signature recipe.
I love to entertain, but sometimes when the day rolls around I just don’t feel like getting creative in the kitchen. It’s great to have a standby recipe that I know very well when I’m in a pinch, feeling lazy, or am just out of ideas.
Memorize something easy and delicious that you can turn out for two people or ten. Choose a recipe based on its broader appeal (no escargot or bone marrow), and preferably something that can be altered for folks with allergies or dietary preferences. A few of my go-to meals are pork roast done in the slow cooker with mushrooms, spaghetti with oil and garlic, and crostini with bruschetta and goat’s cheese.

17. Learn how to be alone.
You are stuck with you for the rest of your life. Learning how to spend time with yourself as you would a friend can be hard, but it’s incredibly rewarding. If the thought of being alone makes you really uncomfortable, try picking up a solitary hobby like weaving or running. Once you feel confident in solitude, the world opens up to you. You don’t have to wait for someone to be free to hang out in order to try that restaurant or see that new movie. You can take a country drive alone, go on a hike alone, even travel alone. Spending time alone without distractions is very good for the soul. When you’re face to face with yourself, you can learn a lot about who you are.

18. Look for beauty in humble places.
Take a look around you and revel in the everyday beauty of your life. Learn to love the morning light seeping in from your bedroom window, the sound of birdsong on your way to work, the smell of your neighbor’s barbeque firing up in the evening. Learn to see dandelions as lovely little bright flowers rather than weeds. Instead of griping when it rains, head outside with an umbrella and breathe in the earthy smell it brings, see how green it makes everything look. Let beauty in.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleanora Duse

19. Don’t save things for special occasions.
Crack open that expensive bottle of wine tonight and drink it while watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Netflix. Wear your French perfume to work, your diamond earrings to class, your fanciest duds for supper at home. Use up that stash of Himalayan pink sea salt you impulsively picked up. Turn in that massage gift certificate you got last Christmas. Throw a party for no reason. Life is short, stop waiting for special occasions and live in the moment.

20. Stay passionately curious.
Not every piece of knowledge has to be ‘useful’. I think there’s a myth out there that unless it benefits you socially or economically, learning is a waste of time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been teased (good-naturedly, of course) about my fascination with primate cognition. The subject doesn’t really interest anyone else in my social circles, it doesn’t further my career, it doesn’t have anything to do with my hobbies, but what it does do is capture my attention and imagination, and that’s enough for me. Go learn about something that genuinely interests you, and ignore those who tell you it’s a waste of time.