First 50 Years

I am on my way to meet my best friend of 47 years. We are celebrating our common fiftieth birthdays. Debbie turned 50 in February, while my birthday is around the corner in March. We have hit many life milestones together and look forward to many more. Debbie and our husbands celebrated our 40th birthdays on the Big Island in Hawaii ten years ago. We will begin this decade together in Cabo San Lucas.

Debbie and I met when we were 3 years old. We lived in Troy, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. My friend, Andrea, was a year older than me and lived across the street. Her backyard met up with Debbie’s. I met Debbie through Andrea. At the advanced age of 3, I was invited to Debbie’s house to play. My mom pinned a note to my shirt with my name and phone number, watched me cross the street, and let me go. When I arrived at Debbie’s, her mom, Lori, asked about my mom. I told her my mom was named Trudie, and she was sick that day. When questioned further, I astutely noted that, “My mommy has the rose flu.” Lori responded, “I think I need to meet your mommy.” From that innocent comment began a life-long friendship for our parents, Debbie and me.

As I begin my second fifty years, I have gratitude for the lessons I have learned. I know I will continue to learn more, but here is what I have learned in my first 50 years…

  1. Love your family
  2. Embrace the suck
  3. Work hard every day except on the days you choose to do nothing 
  4. Wear sunscreen
  5. Exercise even though it is hard
  6. Go to church
  7. Make time for vacations 
  8. Create a routine
  9. Be kind

We all have families – those we come by naturally and those that we create. These people love us completely. They have our backs and love us -- warts and all. Love and appreciate them, too. Celebrate joy and forgive flaws – your own and your family’s.

“Embrace the suck” is a mantra in Marine training. Too often we wish away the challenges and struggles in life. Know that these make us who we are. Challenge creates change. Do hard things. You have survived every hard thing you have faced so far. Remember you can thrive through adversity.

Work hard. We create our own successes in life. While there is luck and chance in life, there is no substitute for hard work. Make the most of every day. Do not fear opportunity. Growth is worth the grit. At the same time, rest when you need it. Enjoy your time off, and let it recharge your soul.

Wear sunscreen. You know I had to add this! Sunscreen is the best thing you can do to protect your skin, to keep you healthy, and to look your best forever. Enough said. Continuing on the health theme, exercise. I know; it is not always fun. Flip the script. Remember, you get to move your body. If you don’t take care of your body, no one else will. I have never been a super athlete, but I have always exercised. Peloton is my best exercise routine. I love my bike, my treadmill, yoga, strength, and meditation. Find what motivates you and invest your time and energy. Your return on investment is immeasurable.

Go to church, go to synagogue, meditate. Reflect on the world outside your selfish view. Receive strength knowing there is a greater power.

Make time for vacations. Go places. Be curious. See the world. Ask questions. Know your history.

The world is disorderly and chaotic. Create a routine. We all do better when we know what to expect. Routine creates good habits.

Finally, be kind. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your family. Be kind to your friends. Be kind to strangers. There are enough unhappy people in this world. Happiness is a moral obligation.

Here’s looking at you, fifty. I am so grateful to meet you. I wonder what amazing adventures Debbie and I will have in this amazing decade.

Jane Lisko, MD Dr. Lisko is a board-certified dermatologist. She has practiced at Associated Skin Care Specialists, PA in Eden Prairie, MN, and Fridley, MN, since 2001. Dr. Lisko specializes in skin cancer diagnosis and surgery, cosmetic dermatology, and laser surgery. She is married to Dr. Jeff Lisko, a gastroenterologist. Together they have four sons. When not working or spending time with her family, Dr. Lisko enjoys traveling, reading, exercising on her Peloton bike, and playing golf (poorly but with a smile!)

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