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45 Things I Have Learned In My 40’s…

In celebration of my 45th birthday, I have decided to share with you 45 things that I have learned in my 40’s.

  1. Life is short. Eat the doughnut, take the trip, buy the bag. Waiting for the right time or depriving  yourself while you wait for the right time to do something is nonsense. If it feels right, do it!
  2. You get what you ask for, not what you deserve. If you arrive at a hotel and you really are hoping for an upgrade, sitting back and waiting for the front desk clerk to read your mind is not the best strategy. If you don’t ask for things, you probably won’t get it. Just be polite.
  3. Take naps. Pushing through the day like a super hero is totally under rated. Take an hour for yourself. Carve out the time. You’re worth it.
  4. Parenting is a never ending game of second guessing yourself. I always thought that once my kids could bathe and feed themselves that I’d be in the clear. Wow was I wrong. It’s a challenge at every age and phase.
  5. Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides. We all portray an image of some level of perfection. We are all human. None of us are perfect. We are all fighting the same battles. Just because someone looks graceful, it doesn’t mean that they are skating through life.
  6. I’m not that important. No one is looking at me. We are all totally self absorbed. I’m so worried about how I look following along in a Zumba class that I have zero energy or capacity to look at what you are doing. Dance like no one is watching. They aren’t. They are too busy watching their own reflection.
  7. There’s nothing like sleeping on clean sheets. I once heard Oprah say that she washed her sheets 2-3 times a week. I was FLOORED. Guess who’s a twice a week sheet washer now? Yup. This girl.
  8. Invest in experiences, not things. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is time with the people we love. It all goes back to #1. Take the trip. Go to the concert. Buy tickets to the game. Go with people you love.
  9. There is no such thing as luck. I used to look at women and wonder how they got so lucky. How did this job just land in their lap? How are their kids so cool? None of it is luck. You create the environment you live in. Luck is just hard work and vigilance in disguise.
  10. Folded laundry is over rated. After 16 years of trying to fold and put away my kids’ laundry, I have created a system of clean laundry bins. I wash it and chuck the clean laundry in the appropriate bins. The kids pick out their clean clothes. Freedom!
  11. I am only responsible for myself and my own kids. While your kids are at my house, they are also my responsibility. I need to make sure they are safe. How you parent your kids is none of my business. We are all doing our best!
  12. You never know how you will handle a situation as a parent until you are faced with it. I always laugh when I hear parents say, “If my kid ever did x, I would do y.” It’s so much easier to not worry about how we will handle things until we get there. What seems like the right reaction to a kid coming home after a night of drinking when your oldest is 10, is 100% not going to be how actually handle the situation. So when your friends’ kids are crossing those bridges and your kids aren’t there yet, it’s best to reserve judgement. Trust me.
  13. Teaching kids to drive is one of the most terrifying and freeing things all wrapped up in one big package. There is always one parent who is better suited to teach a particular child – and that parent can vary from child to child – even within your own family.
  14. Don’t obsess over things that you can’t control. That list gets longer and longer as our kids get older. It’s so freeing just to let it go. It will all work out the way it is supposed to.
  15. Parenting is not a one size fits all situation. I am constantly tweaking how I handle situations. It’s a very fluid relationship that is always evolving and totally varies from child to child.
  16. When your teen decides that they want to talk, drop everything and listen. These moments can be few and far in-between. Don’t miss them because you are too busy. Whatever you are doing can wait.
  17. The car is the best place to talk to your teens. It’s also a great place to listen to them talk among themselves. I get my best intel in the car.
  18. Kindness is everything. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That goes for Facebook, Instagram, face to face or behind someone’s back. If you have a negative thought, keep it to yourself. Kindness is beautiful and there is nothing better than the look on a stranger’s face when you compliment them out of the blue. Try it.
  19. Keep your expectations low, but your hopes high. Imposing your own expectations upon others is a sure way to get let down. If you expect someone to behave in a certain way and they don’t, you are bound to be disappointed. For example….your birthday is coming up. You really really want a nice meaningful gift from your spouse and kids. If you expect this, and they don’t deliver, you will be beside yourself. If you think, wouldn’t it be nice if they got me x, but expect that they would really only get you a card, you will be ok with either outcome, because you have not imposed your own expectations upon them. Try it. It’s life changing.
  20. You are never too old to reinvent yourself. You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. If you want to switch gears and try a different path, you never know if it’s a possibility if you don’t try.
  21. Ask for help. It’s one of the hardest things for moms to do, but asking for help is a sign of strength. Life is hectic and hard. No shame in the asking for help game. Can be for something as small as asking a friend to pick up your kid at school when you can’t be 10 places at once. Ask for help and then don’t feel guilty about it. That’s the trick.
  22. It’s ok to purge friends who no longer serve you. People evolve and change. People come in and out of our lives. It’s ok.
  23. Practice restraint of tongue and pen. Don’t react to every situation you come across. Most of the time it’s best not to react in the moment. Just sit on it. Most of the time I forget about it. I don’t even remember what got me all hot and bothered in the first place. Firing off a text or an email to every person that pisses me off is totally the wrong thing to do.
  24. The best way to rise is by lifting others. Find your tribe and support one another.
  25. There is no better Diet Coke than that from a drive through. This took me moving to understand the lure of the drive through fountain soda. It’s a real thing and one of the small pleasures in life.
  26. You do not owe anyone an explanation for anything. Do what works for you and your family. You do not need to explain your choices to anyone.
  27. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, apologize, and move on. Admitting our faults is hard, but living with them is even harder. If your side of the street is clean, you can go through life with a lightness that is second to none.
  28. Sometimes we have to do things that we don’t want to do. Don’t deliberate. You know what the right thing to do is. Just do it. It’s like ripping off a bandaid. If you do the right thing, even when you don’t want to, it’s far more painless than doing what you want and then paying the price later.
  29. There is nothing more beautiful than happiness. What’s the point of being thin and miserable? It’s never a good look.
  30. Letting others in is the greatest gift. When we show our vulnerabilities, speak our truth and let people really get to know us (the good, the bad & the ugly), that’s where the magic happens.
  31. You never know who you might help by speaking your truth. We all believe that we are so unique, but really we are more similar than we are different.
  32. There is no such thing as the perfect parent. None of us know what we are doing and we are all doing our best.
  33. Don’t take a month off from working out – that month will most likely turn into 5 years and getting back in shape is 100x more miserable at 44 than it was at 34. If it ever sounds like a good idea, call me. I’ll talk you out of it.
  34. There are several things that you should never pay someone else to do. Changing out a light fixture is one of those things. YouTube it. It’s so easy that you will be furious with all the time and money spent on an electrician.
  35. Never leave the house without sunblock. Ever. Even on the rainiest of days.
  36. Invest in your skin. Find products that work and use them. Nothing better than glowing skin.
  37. Feeling down? Get a spray tan. It’s cheaper than therapy and it will turn that mood right around. It’s magic.
  38. Learn how to apply makeup. It’s fun. There are so many resources out there. It’s easy to learn. Just a swipe of mascara, a pinch of blush and a little gloss goes a long way. You will feel taller and more accomplished.
  39. If you see someone in need, offer them help. It can be the smallest gesture like holding the door open for a mom with her hands full of babies and toddlers to helping a friend or acquaintance who is having a hard time. You always get more than you give.
  40. If there is something you are interested in and have never learned, take a class. Dancing, ballet, tennis, painting, pottery, history, photography. There are so many great resources out there. You are never too old for a new hobby!
  41. Do things with your kids. You may not like fishing, but if they love it, go with them! There is nothing better than being with someone when they are doing something they love.
  42. Jump off the bridge. Just do it. You aren’t too old. If you can flip off it, even better. Your kids will never forget the day you jumped the bridge with them!
  43. Travel is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your family. Make time to explore. Try all the food. Eat where the locals eat.
  44. Eat late night snacks with your teens. If you hear them in the kitchen after 10pm, go down. Hang out with them. There’s something about hanging out in a dark kitchen on a school night over ice-cream that makes my heart happy. Try it.
  45. Age is only a number. You are never too old to do any of the things I have listed above. Especially the bridge jumping!