Today is my birthday. My 42nd year. I have always loved celebrating and enjoying all the fun that comes with the special day- the cake (caterpillar, of course!), the presents (new books and skincare goodies, woohoo!), and especially the notes and calls from those near and far, in distance and in time. Of course, getting to and then past my 40th year feels like I’m on the other side of life. I’m not sure how I feel or am supposed to feel at this point. People often tell me ‘Wow, you don’t look 41 (ahem, 42 now, don’t forget!)’. And while I appreciate the compliment I am still a little confused. How did I get here? Where did my 22 year old body go, because I promise you, other than my early bedtime, I still have the maturity level of that age. And I often think to myself, when will people figure out I am a kid trapped in this aging body and have ZERO clue what I’m talking about (both at work, parenting, and life)? What do birthdays mean, anyway? Just a check in that yep, we’re still here, and we’re still fabulous? I don’t know about you, but I feel like that should be celebrated on a MUCH more regular basis. So, for those that are younger, here’s some wisdom (?) for you from your elder (yep, that feels like an old person word), and for those that are older, go on and nod in agreement, you know you want to.
In my 42 years, I’ve learned:
- Stop being overly critical of your body, your face, your hair, your voice, etc. You are YOU! No one is perfectly you BUT YOU! Also, your girls are listening closely, so just stop.
- Hearts break, sometimes much more often than you’d like, but they find their way to the right person. Always.
- You are much stronger than you think you are. Just keep going.
- After dinner walks with kids and spouses are worth it, no matter the weather
- After a while, you realize no one has 100% of life figured out. Just do your best.
- There is nothing that cannot be solved by quoting Friends, shopping online, or reading a good book
- Picking out the perfect outfit sets the tone for a good day
- Shut the news off, it’s not helping
- Be friendly, be kind, be helpful. Be the person you want your own kids to grow into.
- Appreciate what you have in your life instead of what you wish was there.
- Road Trips and DIY weekends make a strong marriage (and some memorable stories)
- Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, it’s not worthwhile.
I know there are a million and one other things that I am still working on or will continue to try and improve, but these are some of the highlights that I wish I would have known at 22, when it seemed I was in such a rush to get to that next stage of life. But let me tell you, it was quite the birthday celebration!