This weekend I will celebrate my last birthday of my 40s. While most of my 30s was consumed with the craziness of raising our 2 children and coaching gymnastics at an international level, my 40s have given me more time for personal growth and even a little reflection. I’ve probably learned more about life in my 40s than at any other time. I’ve had some major wins and suffered some devastating losses. I’ve started writing again. Part of me has always wanted to be a writer. These days, I guess I am.
So, what wisdom and observations do I wish I could give to my younger self? Here are 50 things I’ve learned in my 40s. Thank you LIFE for the lessons. Thank you to my family for putting up with me. Thank you to my friends Rob and Becky for always making me laugh. Thank you all who have helped me. Thank you for reading.
1. It’s OK to say no as long as you learn the art of doing so graciously.
2. Don’t waste time worrying and moaning about stuff you have no control over. Let it go.
3. Everything you see depends on how you look at it.
4. Listening to someone — really listening — is one of the most important, respectful and rewarding things you can do.
5. It’s awesome to collect people throughout life, but you’re truly lucky if you have even ONE best friend who will always, always have your back. Even if you don’t speak to them all that often, you know they’re there and that on your demise will completely delete your Google search history.
6. The morning after is rarely — if ever — worth the night before.
7. I really don’t give a crap if you go to the supermarket in sweats without makeup and your unwashed hair in a ponytail on top of your head. Shopping is a necessity. BUT please do not wear pajamas.
8. Experiences are infinitely more memorable than stuff.
9. Confidence is beautiful and powerful.
10. Laugh lines are worth it.
11. It will always boggle your mind how some people will exceed the lowest imaginable depth of stupidity, incompetence and nastiness, while others will exceed the highest imaginable pinnacle of kindness, compassion and helpfulness.
12. Don’t live your life by anyone else’s expectations, taste, hopes or dreams.
13. If you rely on others for joy, you will never be joyful yourself. My mentor, Dr Massimo, gave me this quote, “If it is to be- it’s up to me”
14. Grudges aren’t worth it.
15. You’ll never regret going out of your way to brighten someone’s day.
16. “Please” and “thank you” are always appreciated and appropriate.
17. Tell the little self-sabotaging voice in your head to bug off.
18. The food doesn’t matter. The table settings don’t matter. All that matters is the company.
19. Being super-busy is not a badge of honor, importance, popularity or success. It’s perfectly OK — and actually healthier and preferable — to be not so busy.
20. Despite your delusions, you have absolutely no idea what’s happening behind other people’s doors.
21. Most bad behavior and bitterness is rooted in jealousy.
22. What makes you happy isn’t the elixir that will make someone else happy.
23. It’s not always someone else’s fault. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror.
24. You can disagree with someone’s opinions and beliefs, but it doesn’t make them wrong. And it’s probably best just not to go there when it has to do with religion, politics or love (or gun rights)
25. Friendships change over time. Sometimes they have an expiration date and they dissolve into fuzziness. And that’s OK. Tastes change.
26. Face cream is your friend.
27. Stop waxing poetic about how good it used to be. Stop fantasizing about how good it might be in the future. Savor how good it is right now. Make your moments matter.
28. It’s nice to be thought of and remembered.
29. Sometimes you’ve gotta do stuff just because it’s the right thing to do. Often it’s uncomfortable. Usually it’s inconvenient. But it’s almost always worth it.
30. Elephants don’t belong in the room. Having the tough conversation is ultimately better than living with the energy-sapping misery of resentment or misunderstanding.
31. Some stuff just isn’t meant to be. The sooner you accept it and stop trying to force it to happen, the better off you’ll be.
32. The solution to someone else’s problem that seems so obvious to you is likely something they’ve already tried and it hasn’t worked.
33. A good night’s sleep is a gift from the heavens and can change everything.
34. People will make time for you if you’re important to them. And they pretty much won’t if you’re not.
35. Sometimes you need to suck it up hard in the name of love, peace and harmony.
36. Don’t let angry people get to you; instead, try to muster some compassion for them.
37. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. Stop wasting energy on stuff that isn’t your business. You just do you.
38. Accept, embrace and celebrate change. CHANGE is the only CONSTANT
39. Being polite and smiling genuinely can make a big difference.
40. Stillness is restorative and healing.
41. Take one day at a time, one step at a time. Break down challenges into small, do-able chunks. It will all get done.
42. Life is what happens while you’re waiting expectantly for the next big thing on the horizon to come to fruition. Savor the everyday.
“One should count each day as a separate life” Seneca
43. If you push yourself and focus on what’s good rather than wallowing selfishly in the negative, things will almost always improve.
44. Do NOT that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes things just suck and sometimes things are great. It is your outlook and if you learn that matter.
45. No matter how much you wish, you can’t will things to happen. But often, there’s a better and “righter” path that reveals itself if you keep your eyes and mind open.
46. Take a risk and have the guts to seize the opportunity, because it may not present itself again.
47. Don’t Take Yourself too seriously. You need to be able to laugh at yourself.
49. Growth Happens at the Edge of Your Comfort Zone. Do the same thing, and get the same results. If you want to get stronger, you have to slowly increase the amount of weights you’re using.
I see too many people settle for average because, basically, they like being comfortable. Our brain and body are designed to be comfortable.
Growth requires you going into the unknown, and that could create a sense of danger. Growing means you have to make a conscious decision to go against your natural instincts.
50 Get rid of Bucket List and Get a F*ck It List
What are some things you’d tell your younger self?
Some of my favorite photos from this last year
some people should not ride the escalator
This was a really great weekend
Near Grotta in Iceland with Maddie
Maddie meeting my best friend from college in Iceland
Maddie made cookies. My brother and I got to lick the bowl!
Gulfoss in Iceland
A great day in Perth, Australia