I just turned forty years old today. How in the world did that happen? It seems like yesterday I was twenty and brought into this world my firstborn son. Do I feel any different? I am definitely feeling older. I have probably put on twenty pounds. My skin is not as vibrant as it once was. My knees ache in the morning. I find myself going to bed by 9PM. My kids say I am starting to dress like my mom. I do not have the confidence I once had when I was twenty-something, but I’ve heard that changes when you turn forty. I’ll update you and let you know if that is true. I usually don’t make a super big deal about my birthday. Tonight, we are going to have a nice dinner at Fogo de Chao and tomorrow I think my husband is surprising me with a spa day. Surprise, right? I already know about it.
“We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be. ” Lauren Hutton
This morning something really resonated with me. Turning 40 has made me look back and reflect on the last forty years of my life. I have run into quite a few bumps… but who hasn’t? I also have climbed over many mountains. These obstacles that we face throughout life are what help us learn life lessons. Birthdays are a day to reflect back on how far we have come and the lessons we have learned along the way. In the last 40 years of my life, I have learned and grown into the woman I am today. I could write a novel but since I don’t have time for that I will break it down to you in 40 short lessons. No particular order.
Here are 40 years of life lessons I have learned:
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
2. Each morning, always say goodbye and express to your loved ones how much they mean to you.
3. Never go to bed angry.
5. Support your children with their goals and dreams. Don’t make your goals and dreams theirs. Let them live their life and make that decision for themselves.
6. Travel more.
7. Don’t let material things take control over your life.
8. Don’t be jealous of others.
9. Don’t be afraid to admit you are wrong.
10. Learn to say no – don’t over commit to people or things.
11. Try to stay active, healthy, & fit. I’m working on this and have a long way to go.
12. Put your electronics down, unplug. Take time to just read a book instead.
13. Expect disappointments.
14. Pray with your children every night before they go to bed.
15. Don’t yell at your kids. Parent with grace.
16. Don’t be afraid of competition, as long as it is healthy and doesn’t ruin a friendship.
17. Be kind to everyone and never gossip.
18. Spend more time with your grandparents. They won’t be around forever.
19. Be careful what you say on social media or in emails. It may come back to haunt you.
20. When things don’t go your way, never get upset and pitch a fit. Things happen the way they do for a reason.
21. Don’t expect perfection from your kids. No one is perfect.
22. Forgive always and never bring up the past.
23. Be a good friend. I like to say I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to friendships.
24. Smile and laugh more. Studies show smiling is actually good for your brain.
25. Stay organized. Write down your goals and tasks daily. Have a journal and calendar handy.
26. Don’t focus so much on the future. Live in the now. You are never guaranteed tomorrow.
27. Save your money for those rainy days.
28. Don’t trust your children too much. Be a parent, not their friend.
29. Spend more time with your grandchildren. Their smiles and giggles can make a bad day, better.
30. Stop comparing yourself to others.
31. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.
32. Don’t let someone discourage you of your dreams.
33. Find a hobby that you can enjoy. For me, that’s my blog.
34. Find a hobby with your spouse that you both can enjoy together, like kayaking.
35. Be a good listener, not a talker.
36. Don’t share too much of your personal life with others.
37. You can’t make everyone happy, so stop trying to.
38. Dress your age. A halter top may not be a good idea.
39. Eat dinner together as a family at the kitchen table.
40. Celebrate life every day, not just on your birthday.
I celebrate today with all these lessons I have learned in life. I celebrate and open a new page in my book of life. I may have some gray hairs, fine lines, and wrinkles but these things are a daily reminder of my life story, my birth, and a day to celebrate.