I turn 40 this week. In this very moment I want to slow down time because as I am 13 days into this month, I do not think I have had much time to slow down. From planning a 40th birthday celebration, preparing for my daughter to have surgery next week (Not freaking out at all. OK, just a little!) and hosting Christmas at my house, insanely busy in my corporate life and putting the final touches on my second book that is now being birthed as my first book. I am indeed a hot mess. Yet I tell myself, you only turn 40 once. In this life at least. So enjoy it. Drink all the whisky and eat that last Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
What have I learned? More than 40 but you get the point…
Saying no is just as important as saying yes. In all the ways we want to please people and provide comfort to those we care about. It is often those we care about who take us for granted the most. So saying no when you are at capacity is perfectly OK. That applies to any and all who you engage with.
Don’t sell yourself short. Ask for what you want. Negotiate on your behalf and command what you are worth. As a woman it is often we take less because we are just happy to get in front of the right person for the job, role or seat. However your voice should not be silenced by settling. It has taken many years for me to realize that it is my commitment to myself to say and stand firm in what I am worth. No one can determine your worth but you.
Dance a lot. In the kitchen. It does something magical for your spirit. The day I stop having kitchen dance parties, it’s lights out. Therefore I pray I’ll be dancing for many more years to come. As a mom I have to find humor and happy in the midst of chaos and worry. My daughter is now 18 but that does not stop me from worrying. Life just brings on another set of worry and questions at this age. So in order to get through some of the hardest moments as a parent, I dance. I listen to music that makes my soul come alive because teenagers will make you feel like your losing your mind more often than not ;).
Confront your fears. The awkward moment of having to say the hard thing will pass. Just like a heartbreak, it gets better with time. The beauty is reflecting back knowing you stood in your truth. Fear is only as powerful as the energy you give it. Kick that shit to the curb. You have beautiful work to do in this world.
Have great sex. Life is too short not to know what you want in the bedroom. Let’s get real, we all have needs and those needs should not go into a closet of “I wish”.
Stand up for what you believe in. No one can take that from you regardless if they agree with you or not. Now let’s not confuse this with righteousness. Standing up for what you believe in allows you to know who you are, what you will tolerate and not tolerate.
Forgive. That shit just eats at you and only you. Don’t walk around holding grudges because someone has done you wrong. Forgive them, pray for them or do whatever it is that brings you closure and keep moving. Holding on to baggage is only weighing you down. You can never fully be present in things you do when your soul is harboring so much anger. Now, don’t confuse this with forgiving and being best friends with a person. You can forgive and reserve the right to not have someone in your life. Doesn’t mean you hate or have ill feelings. You just are in a different place in your life and have set parameters for what you expect.
There is never an end for opportunities to learn. I have learned so much about change. As life changes, you evolve. Be a sponge. Absorb as much as you can because you are never too old to learn. It builds character.
You can set boundaries without being an asshole. Being mean is not sexy. Set important and healthy boundaries for yourself. Never let someone dictate what your boundaries consist of. Boy I have had to learn a very hard and painful lesson in boundary setting.
Inspect what you expect. I have learned you need to have a clear understanding of what it is you need before you expect someone to read your mind. COMMUNICATE! That shit does wonders. It may not always turn out to be the outcome you hoped for, but when you communicate clearly it does wonders for your own personal growth.
Stop inviting people who don’t show up. I have learned that, be it the party you throw or just needing a friend to be there. Stop inviting people into your life, your personal space and land of vulnerability who continue to disappoint. I could go on but I will just leave this right here…
You can do hard things. I have found that I can do very hard things. Just when you think you can’t have the tough conversation or feel you’ve hit a road block at every turn. You find more and more of what you can withstand when you face the hard things head on.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. I have learned not to back peddle. Just be upfront.
Let go and let God. I have learned that my faith is surely bigger than any obstacle. God does not give us anymore than we can handle. I know it seems cliche but it’s so true. I am a walking testament. That would require another blog post. Pray and release it. You cannot control everything. There is a bigger plan for all of us and we do not have all the answers. The stress and the worry will pass.
Embrace the skin you are in. This has been a struggle over the years. Today, I embrace the hell out the skin I am in. My flaws and all. I am perfectly imperfect and owning every moment of it. I have learned to love myself first before allowing someone else to determine the level in which I should love myself by their attention or treatment towards me. We have to love the hell out of ourselves. Sure it takes time and a lot of work, but it is possible.
It’s OK to fail. I have tried and failed. In life, love and business. Had I not failed at those things, I would not have grown. I would not be open and I would not be able to laugh at myself. I am thankful for the failures. They have in turn given me bigger success than I could have imagined.
Love. Love big and love hard. I have learned it is OK to love deep and big. As a matter of fact, it’s beautiful when you are aware of the depth of your ability to love.
It’s OK to have a bad day. If I were perfect it would be so annoying. I think I would get on my own nerves. Well I do even with my flaws. What I have learned is it ok to cry, to have a bad day, to say “I just cannot do today” and try again the next. Especially us moms. We want to be perfect and never have a bad day. Those June Cleaver days are for the birds. You are entitled to throw the fucking pans at the wall, drink the entire bottle of good wine, spend an hour in the bathtub crying if you so choose. Just remember it is ok to have a bad day. Be a boss the next day.
You don’t need a lot of friends. Thanks, Mom for that lesson at an early age. As I get older and older, I realize more and more the importance of a few good friends is better than a million fake friends. Friendship is earned, it is honest, it is consistent and it real. If you don’t have that, they are probably filed in the dictionary under acquaintances.
Parenting is hard. I have learned that parenting will not stop at 18. It is a lifetime of being there side by side and their number one ride or die. It is pushing them to their limits even if pisses them off. I struggle with sounding like a broken record daily. All in the name of love and motherhood.
FOE. Family over everything. Chosen family or blood family. They are not perfect and they are sometimes bat shit crazy, but they will love you through your greatest or darkest times.
Change is good. Just like the seasons change, we need change. Believe me it’s good and very necessary.
Shake hands with the haters. Well maybe not literally. Let them sit and flounder while you do you. You can’t make every one happy and the comments will not always be pleasant. As long as you know your truth, smile and wave.
Say no to your kids. I am so guilty of wanting to give my daughter everything. You know we want to do more for our kids than we had. Knock it off. That is killing them slowly from being able to operate in life with anything other than a smart phone. I have learned she’ll get over the shock of being told no. Or the disappointment that she cannot have a 10th pair of Air Force 1’s.
Give back. We never know where we will be. Giving back to the community should be done in the spirit of genuineness.
Travel. Travel and do it well. Embrace every aspect of your travel. Savor even the plane or car rides. They to have lasting memories.
Apologize. Own your shit.
Eat healthy. Your body will thank you for it. Treat your body like a goddess. I have been struggling with an autoimmune issue for the last few years and I have learned first hand what putting in my body does for me. I have suffered in silence for a long time. Now knowing what I can do to eliminate certain pain, food has played a big part in the game of take care of your body or else.
Try new things. Yep, that simple. Just try.
It’s OK to be silly. Actually it’s fantastic. If you can’t laugh at yourself or the people your with, you’re not living. A little funny goes a long way.
Let your kids know you are not a super hero. Apparently when my daughter was little she thought I had special powers and could do anything because I wore heels. True story. And, so damn funny! She also thought I was very tall. Just sitting here at 5’6 with no heels on and her now 5’10 I have been found out. Really what I am getting at is, let your kids see your weakness and be transparent with them about the reality of life.
Therapists are good. In the pursuit of figuring your shit out and everything in between, therapists are not bad people. You may have to try a few before you find a good match. It’s worth it. Your friends can’t solve all your problems and you can’t solve theirs.
Buy yourself a good pair of shoes. Because shoes make the outfit and every shoe has a story.
Self care is the best care. Only when done right. A massage, mani/pedi and all the those things are often pure bliss. However the internal self care is the self-care that cannot be trumped by the external care. Work from within and outward.
Drink lots of water. Especially as you get older and after a night out. Your body doesn’t bounce back the same after 30 so hydrate like Niagara Falls.
Send thank you cards. That never goes out of style and people should be thanked. That simple.
Get outside more often. Exploring creates stimulation to motivate you into proceeding forward with goals and dreams. At least it has for me. :)
Don’t put all your business on social media. I have learned from watching other people, what not to do. I still for the life of me cannot understand why this happens. We do not need to know when you went to the bathroom, what color the wall paper was, the piece of chicken you ate or if you hate your long lost sister. Share the good times, the drinks, the friends and some reality every now and again. Get back to work.
Listen. I have learned that listening is so important. Be a good listener and be open to truly hearing what people are saying. Listening requires paying attention.
Live. Your. Best. Life! I have learned that it is important for me to live my best life every single day. Tomorrow is surely not guaranteed and each day my feet hit the floor, I am thankful for another day. So I live, laugh, love, embrace the messy and strive to continue evolving. There’s more life left in this 5’6 body of mine.
XO ~ L