Edging Up On 40: What I’ve Learned
I’m going to turn 40 this year. A few years ago, even a few months ago, I wanted to deny it. I felt like 40 was going over a cliff somehow. A cliff of not being hip (not that I have ever been cool), not being young and free (not that I’ve felt that since having children), too old for my career (I’ve changed professional directions more times than I’ll admit), and no longer respected, because I’d be an “old” person.
I have since realized that none of those things are true. I am who I am, Yes, I have faults. Yes, I have pieces of my personality I want to tweak, mistakes and words I’d like to take back and moments of my life I’d rather skip over. But all of these things make up who I am today.
I’m the age I am and am proud of the knowledge and experience that comes with that. I’m also very, very lucky to have some amazing 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80-something women in my life. They have showed me that age is just a number. Life doesn’t end at 40, it gets more enjoyable, more relaxed and more real. You don’t have to prove yourself to the world as much anymore. You’ve had failures and you’ve had successes. It’s all life and it’s yours.
I’ve spent the first half of my 39th year reflecting on my life, what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced. Some are cliché’, some are quotes but all are true. I can’t say I’m a master of any of them. I’m still a work in progress, but at least I know what I need to work on. Here are some of the things I’ve learned in no particular order –
- Health and life is nothing to take for granted. Ever.
- Although it sometimes feels like an eternity, my children will be children for a very short time. I must savor every minute I can with them and cherish their childhood. A friend of mine once said, “A career is lifelong, children only grace your home for a very short time.”
- Appreciate, love and adore everyone in your life. Be grateful for what they give to you and what you can share with them.
- Change is a huge part of life. Life doesn’t stagnate and if yours does, it’s time to shake things up.
- Never stop trying and don’t be afraid of mistakes. They are learning opportunities.
- I’m an evolving person – always growing, always learning, always changing. I am not the person I was yesterday or the person I will be tomorrow.
- If your child comes to your bed at night, ask if they need to throw up BEFORE you let them in.”
- It’s ok to change direction, even if it’s at the last minute
- If a man says “Don’t go in there.” Listen to him.
- You don’t need to keep toxic or caustic people in your life. I once saw a quote that said something about “people coming into your life, some stay, some leave, but they all come through for a reason.” I’ve reflected on this a lot, realizing that I’ve had some not-so-fab people come through my life. But I’ve learned something about myself and the world from each one of them. If I hadn’t crossed paths with each one of them, I would be without a gem of knowledge.
- Little girls do not always smell like sugar and spice. Little boys, even less so.
- MacKenzie Philips recently said “if someone drops you like a hot potato when things get tough, maybe the relationship wasn’t what you thought it was.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the picture. I’ve been struggling through some hurt and heartache and trying to find the why in it all. I’ve come to the conclusion the relationship was never what I thought it was, and I’ll take it as a life lesson and move on. Being cast off or dropped when things get tough shows the person wasn’t really there for you in the first place.
- “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Unknown
- Everyone is a potential friend, not enemy. Welcome people into your life, but be wary of their intentions.
- Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something. – Proverb
- Family is so very important, but not the foundation of everything. Sometimes it’s okay to walk away for awhile.
- You don’t need to be involved in every lunch date, meeting at work or event to be valued, loved and cherished. It’s ok to sit on the sidelines sometimes.
- Use your turn signals, unless your destination is a matter of national security.
- I’m comfortable with who I am. I don’t need to pretend. Some people like me. Some don’t. Find the people you connect with, draw strength from them and let the rest go.
- Be true to yourself.
- Honor the past, but don’t look back. Enjoy the now. My favorite movie quote of all time comes from Edna Mode in The Incredibles…”I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.”
Susan Wells is a native Colorado mom to two girls, ages 6 and 9. She loves to find the learning in everything. In past lives, Susan has been a symphony bassist, sound engineer, news web producer and web developer. She currently works for Steve Spangler Science in web marketing, social media and blogging.