I turned 41 last month, which I actually greeted with a fair amount of enthusiasm and hope. I’m still here; I’m still going strong. And not to go all pop princess on you, but I still gotta lotta fight left in me. There was a time when I had none, so I am grateful and celebrate that these old bones of mine still have some pep and verve in them.
I felt very differently when I turned 40. Last year, I was pretty depressed, literally and figuratively. I had accomplished so few of the dreams and goals packed inside of me, wanting to come out, but they were wedged so tight in-between my doubt and fear and wilted into nothing. I am determined to prevent this from happening when I turn 50. Instead, I want to look back and forward with a huge smile on my face and joy in my heart. This is my to-do for tomorrow and every day after, but today I want to share 41 pearls of wisdom, insight, triumphs and yes, even mistakes with you.
I Got 41 Lessons and Beyonce Ain’t One of Them
Bonus points to those who get the reference. 🙂
- You are stronger than you realize.
- Beauty evolves and changes over time.
- The only person who can truly hold you back is yourself. Don’t let fear own you. Own your fears instead.
- Cats rule. I know this to be true because my cat, Max, told me.
- Stop seeking approval of others. The only approval you need is your own.
- You are enough.
- Getting both a perm and highlights is probably too much.
- Skinny pants are not meant for everyone. Deal with it.
- Love is love.
- I have been afraid of my dreams. But now I fear a boring life with no dreams even more.
- Social media is fun. But it doesn’t take the place of real connection either. Put down your phone and actually talk and be present with the people you are with.
- Strength is not bullying.
- What you think does affect your reality. It’s not as simplistic (or easy) as thinking about a million dollars and it falling from the sky, but your thoughts and energy affect how you react and see the world and most importantly — the actions you take.
- Gratitude is everything. Don’t give it lip-service though. Be genuine.
- Snuggling with your cat (or dog) fixes most problems.
- You are not the same person you were when you were 20. You won’t be the same person when you’re 60. Or 80. This is okay.
- Don’t wait to live or be happy until you achieve XYZ. There is no guarantee XYZ will ever happen. Be happy and live now.
- Live a deliberate, mindful life. #YOLO may sound great but it’s just mindless living, which is ultimately unsatisfying because you too often live as the herd expects versus how you want to live.
- Depression sucks.
- It’s okay if you’re 40+ years old and can’t parallel park. Cars can do it for you these days.
- Stretchy pants are comfortable, but they also help you get fat without noticing.
- Sometimes people come into your life for a short period and leave. That’s okay. Not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever.
- Get rid of your energy vampires. Or at least minimize your time with them.
- You can’t save everyone.
- Look for beauty everywhere you go. It exists.
- Put yourself first. No matter what anyone tells you — it’s not a sin or narcissistic to take care of yourself and know what you want.
- Read. And read some more.
- Elsa was right: Let it go.
- Do something unexpected and unplanned every once in awhile.
- Set goals. Otherwise you’re just a hamster spinning its wheel, going nowhere.
- Enjoy the moment.
- Don’t let people walk over you. Be firm and stand your ground.
- Treat yourself.
- Say thanks. A lot. Same goes for I love you.
- Don’t take everything personally or seriously. Laugh it off.
- Celebrate your success. Don’t be shy. Give yourself a big ‘ol pat on the back.
- Never be ashamed of who you are, the color of your skin, your sexual orientation or your religious affiliation.
- The Goonies is the best movie ever made. And I am a Goonie!
- Everyone should, on occasion, eat dessert first.
- You can’t do it alone. Everyone needs help. And it’s not weak to ask for or receive help from others.
- And finally, in the immortal words of the great Hannah Montana, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock!” Amen.
To What’s Next
I’m older, wiser and stronger mentally. These are all very, very good things. The world is my oyster and it’s up to me to decide where I want to put my energy. This excites and scares me. For a long time, possibilities didn’t exist in my world. But I see them again and it is on.
What lessons have you learned in your lifetime?