2013/09/12

So this is forty...

Yesterday was the day.

40

A new decade.

30 was the year for starting over. Learning how to survive in a new paradigm. Somehow, we all survived.

At 40, it feels like I am starting over in a different way.

Not in the "pick up all the pieces and figure out how to regroup" kind of way like I did in my 30's, but more of in an "oh crap, what the heck am I supposed to do now" kind of way.

It's a bit daunting, but I think I am ready.


As I drew closer to "the day that we shall not name", I reflected on what I would tell my 20 year old self. My girls are on the cusp of reaching that milestone - so I guess, these are really the things I would tell them if I thought that they were readt to listen.

First of all, things are going to change. All the time. And probably faster than you want them to. Learn to roll with it. You'll be much happier that way.

Screw ups. You are guaranteed to have at least one royal screw up in your life. If you are lucky - it's only one. You will survive - I promise. You are allowed to hide under the covers for a couple of days, but eventually you just need to pick up the pieces and move forward - one step at a time.

And speaking of screw ups... people are always going to have opinions about what you are doing - right or wrong. Learn when to listen (and who to listen to) and when to ignore, ignore, ignore.

Family is family and because they are family, you have to cut them some slack. Because some day, you will want them to cut you some slack too. (See "screw ups"...)

Learn what hills to die on. Sometimes, it's just not worth the fight.

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Go outside of your comfort zone once in a while. You may find your new favorite hobby or your next best meal.

Eat breakfast. It makes a difference.

Keep your brain engaged. Read a book. Go to a museum. Watch the news. (The real news, not ET).

Understand what is going on in the world around you. History is happening today.

Recycle. Be kind to the earth. It matters.

Be kind to veterans. Respect the elderly. Say "please" and "thank you".

Vote. Because you can.

Always give your momma a hug.

Floss your teeth. Don't waste those years of wearing braces...

Try to do at least one kind thing a day. The other person doesn't even have to know you did it and you will feel better for it.

Know basic car maintenance. Be able to check your oil. Learn how to change a tire. Pay attention to the warning lights - trust me on this one.

Learn how to cook. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it needs to be yours.

It's okay to cry once in a while.

It is also okay to ask for help.

Find someone who makes you laugh.

Don't settle.

Yes, you are worth it.

No one loves you like your momma loves you.

I promise, in 10 years, you really won't have much to do with most of the people you went to high school with.

Get your college degree while you are young. Yes, you can go back - but the older you get, the more life takes over. Treat school like its your job - because someday, it will be....

And last but not least, don't forget to smile.

What would you tell your 20-year old self?

Peace out.
XOXO

Side note: this year's birthday cake selection was a Maple-Walnut Cake from the book, Sky High (one of my absolute favorite cake books). The maple syrup used in the cake and frosting (well over two cups) was tapped in the Adirondacks.

8 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Cher! 40 isn't as big of a deal as I once thought... I celebrated mine in 2012. I love your advice - so true. Have a marvelous day eating that delicious cake!

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  2. Hope you had a lovely day Cher :) Sadly I am well over 40 though I honestly still just feel like I am 30. Your life lessons are fabulous and I wish I had known all that back then. What would I have told my 20 year old self? Not sure but I do know that sometimes the hardest decisions you make will end up being the best for you. Hugs XO

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  3. Happy Birthday!!! The first few years of my 40's have been good to me, I hope yours are good to you too!

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  4. Hmm...I would probably tell my 20-year-old self to rethink whether she really wanted to stay a political science major! Happy 40th!

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  5. Girl, happy birthday! Some say the best age of a woman is between 40 and 50... SO many things to tell my 20 years old self. Don't judge, don't be self righteous, don't criticize yourself so much!

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  6. Happy Birthday Cher!! Great post.

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  7. Oh. Cher, you brought tears to my eyes! This is so lovely! And I so wish someone had told me this when I was 20!

    40 was the hardest birhtday for me so far, but it's also liberating because you have so much more experience and know what's really important. I let go of a lot of toxic relationships in my early 40s - of course, being in a doctoral program helped me be unavailable.

    I wish you much love & happiness! Can't wait til Friday - one week!

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  8. Happy Belated Birthday Cher! Your cake looks delicious! Did you make it yourself? My husband thinks I'm weird because I like to make my own cake. As empty nesters its rare that we have cake and I like to make something I've been yearning for. Aging is such a mixed bag, isn't it? 40 wasn't hard for me but 30 was the WORST and 60 was no picnic! I love your advice for your girls or your 20 year old self. Its actually good advice for all of us at any age! We'll have so much FUN in Seattle and toast our 20 year old selfs and our older versions too!

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