The best we can hope for in life is that we have laughed often and loved much, and that at the end of our days we can honestly say we have lived a life of integrity, have few, if any, regrets, and that we have told the people who matter how very much they made our hearts sing.
As I reflect upon a life well lived, I think to myself, "what advice would I give others?". It seems so obvious to me but I've come to realize that perhaps it's only so because I find myself in a position to be reflective, to take stock and to judge how successful I've been in the areas that really count. So here goes:
Have a sense of humor. Face life with a smile on your face. And, for the love of God, never, ever take yourself too seriously.
When it's important, tell people how you feel no matter how difficult it is to express, how uncomfortable it may feel in the moment, or how much of yourself you have to expose. You alone are accountable to and for yourself and you must be your own advocate.
Make sure your actions exemplify your words. For they speak far louder than tiny utterances ever will.
Deal with anger, frustration or general crankiness in constructive ways... don't take things out on people who have no control of your world or did not contribute to the problem at hand.
Support others' efforts to live their best lives, whatever that means to them, even if it's not the path you would choose for yourself or have them choose for themselves. Express concerns if you have them and be honest, but ultimately, it's their choice... and often choice, not chance, determines destiny.
Appreciate even the smallest acts of kindness. Practice your own random and specific, planned acts of kindness on a daily basis.
Know who you are when no one is looking.
Apologize when you need to... and even when you're not sure you need to. No one will ever fault you for apologizing... but a lack thereof is ultimately egotistical.
Pick your battles, and never, ever pick petty things, for they are seldom worth the fight.
Give people choices. No one wants to be backed into a corner and you can't control other people's words or actions anyway.
Carefully consider your options so that the choices you make do not lead to regret.
Be spontaneous but never reckless in words or actions.
Remember that life is short and experience as much as you can, journey as often as possible... and take the road less traveled when you do.