I really didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal. I mean, I didn’t feel forty, and in my warped sense of self, I didn’t think I looked forty. Maybe thirty-seven or even thirty-eight, but forty? Come on.
Nonetheless and according to my driver’s license and birth certificate, I have reached that magical age where I am now officially “over the hill”. And although I really don’t understand what that saying means other than from now on everything is downhill, it still (in a small way) bothered me. I started to really think about it this last week and knew I didn’t want to be over the hill, no matter what it meant. I didn’t want to be old. I wanted to be young again. Maybe twenty…not forty.
But when I think about my twenty-year-old self, I realized that we are two extremely different people. That the twenty-year-old version of me was not who I am now, even though she had a part getting me to where I am. From there to here, I have learned so many life lessons and been through the wonderful and awful things that have given me the life I have, that I cannot wish to be that person again. So for my birthday, and since I have been thinking about all the things I’ve learned up until this point, I thought I would share them with you.
- Trust in God. It has been an amazing ride from twenty to forty with many ups and downs, but throughout it all, God was there in the driver’s seat. It was hard to trust that He knew what He was doing and sometimes, I found myself trying to reach over and take the wheel from Him, but that only made things worse. Now, I just trust that He can handle it (because He can), buckle my seat belt and hang on.
- Love yourself. You may not look like (insert the name of any movie star), but you are the only you. God put you here for a purpose and wonderfully made you. No one has your sense of humor. No one laughs like you do. No one know to your certain talents exactly like you do. Love those things about yourself.
- Forgive others. This is a hard one for me. Especially when people make me mad or angry. I may not be able to forgive them in the midst of the argument or wrong-doing, but I do try to forgive them at some point.
- Forgive yourself. I think this one is sometimes harder than forgiving others.
- Try new things. This one is my favorite! Whenever a situation arises for me try something new (and it’s not dangerous or life threatening like sky diving or anything), I love to say yes. I try to remind myself that this is the only time I will be on this earth and that this particular event or activity may never present itself to me again, so I might as well go for it.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. I fail at things ALL THE TIME. One of my favorite new quotes is from a commencement speech from Jim Carrey who spoke to a graduating class about not settling and doing something you don’t want to do with you life. He said, “You can fail at something you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on something you love.” How true.
- Dream BIG. Enough said here.
- And then take action. You can’t just dream about things. You have to take steps toward that dream. Another favorite quote of mine is “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you’re still ahead of everyone not trying.” – Tony Robbins
- Make goals. This sounds cliche’ but it’s true. It’s not reaching the goal but the journey that is the amazing part. And don’t be afraid if you don’t attain your goals (see: don’t be afraid to fail). You’ve moved in the right direction and have grown from the experience.
- Have a variety of friends. I know this one sounds kind of like, “well, duh” but until a few years ago, I didn’t have many friends in different circles. There was a cluster of people I hung out with (and I still love them dearly), but I have now met some amazing women that I wouldn’t have otherwise by taking a chance and expanding my scope of friends.
- I’m going to make mistakes. Once I realized that, I quit being so hard on myself when it happened.
- Do what you love. Whether it’s photography, writing, poetry, moon-walking from your bedroom to the kitchen, whatever. Find what makes you happy and do it.
- Work hard. Enough said here.
- Enjoy what you have. Enough said here as well.
I know there are a bazillion other life-lessons I’ve learned, but this is all I can think of right now. And I still am not giving up on the whole I’m-forty-now battle. I’m just going to think of myself as a double twenty-year-old. That way I am still learning lessons and pushing up the hill rather than being over it. I’ve gotta go, I have a cupcake waiting for me.