40 things I’ve learned by 40

40 blocks

So my 40th birthday occurs later this week. That just seems like a big milestone of a birthday to me. Instead of hiding behind it, I decided to share a few of the things I’ve learned in my almost 40 years. In no particular order…

1) No one is perfect. You shouldn’t expect it of yourself or others.
2) The days are long, but the years are short. We’ve all sat at work, a red light, or a waiting room and felt like things were taking for-ever. Yet when we look at our children, or the seasons, or our high school photos (yikes!), we wonder how time passed so quickly.
3) Negativity is poison. Need I say more? Don’t be a Negative Nancy or spend much time with one. Surround yourself with positive people and choose to be one. Attitudes are contagious.
4) Good girlfriends are priceless. Seriously. They get me. We can laugh together, cry together, and talk for hours on end. My husband is even thankful for my girlfriends, I get a lot from them.
5) Sometimes the little things are the big things. When someone opens the door for you as you are entering a store, you notice. Please and thank you mean a lot. Kindness is awesome. Mean people aren’t awesome.
6) Choose your battles. Sometimes trying to make your point is just not as important as it seems in the moment. Value your relationships over winning an argument.
7) Feeling comfortable in your own skin feels really good. Why did it take me so long to figure this out? I hope it doesn’t/didn’t take as long for you.
8) Life is precious. Make sure the people you care about know that you do.
9) You can do more than you think you can. I ran my first half marathon at 39, with the encouragement of my husband. You can always do more than you think you can. Take one step and then another and then another…
10) Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so. It’s as true now as it was when you sang this song as a child.
11) Prayer works. God cares. And listens. And intervenes on your behalf.
12) Taking responsibility and wearing your big girl pants isn’t always fun. But IS the right thing to do.
13) No one has it all together. Those who seem like they do are often the ones falling apart the most on the inside.
14) Doing something for someone else always makes you feel better.
15) Taking the time to take care of yourself is important. When you don’t, it affects not only you but the others around you. Being the best version of yourself includes self-care.
16) Family really is everything.
17) Leaders are readers. Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” What are you reading?
18) You’re never too old to learn.
19) God is my number 1. My husband is my number 2. If I ever get that mixed up, it causes problems.
20) Holding a sleeping baby makes everything in the world seem right. Skeptical of this one? Try it. I dare you.
21) Comparison is the enemy of contentment. Being thankful for what you do have makes what you quit worrying about what you don’t have.
22) Being present in the moment increases joyfulness. It is a gift to yourself and those you are sharing the moment with.
23) If you think something nice about someone, you should say it.
24) Heartbreak happens. You can choose for it to make you a bitter person or a better person.
25) You should take time to be creative. Whether it is capturing just the right angle for a beautiful picture of a sunset, painting a pattern onto a canvas, or rearranging furniture to attain a pleasing look, creating produces something that wasn’t there before and that is just stinkin’ cool. It also unleashes something satisfying and beautiful within yourself.
26) You can make a difference. People are watching and listening. What are you saying?
27) Being a part of something greater than yourself is truly amazing and truly possible. What cause do you support, volunteer for, give time to?
28) You don’t have to do everything you are asked to do. This is a hard lesson for people pleasers like myself, but praying about which opportunities to accept will actually help you be more effective AND less likely to wear out.
29) Rolling down the windows in the car on a beautiful day really does make the songs on the car radio sound better. Once again, if you think I am mistaken, just try it.
30) We were meant to do life together. Who do you do life with? Your parents? Your husband? Your kids? Another family or two from your church? A mentor? A best friend? We need each other. Be there for others and let them be there for you.
31) Authenticity trumps cool every time.
32) Being aware of your personality traits and the personality traits of others will make relationships less frustrating. Self-awareness is important and necessary. Knowing that your spouse (or mom, or kids, or co-workers) are not wired the same way you are is important, too.
33) Being a parent is an honor and a joy. Are you treating it as such?
34) If you are married to your best friend, that’s priceless.
35) There are two things you can control: your attitude and your effort.
36) You should leave an environment better than the condition you found it in. Whether it’s helping pick up at a friend’s house after visiting with your children, making sure trash in front of your workplace makes it into a trash can, or improving conditions of a friend’s hospital room, taking the extra effort to make things look nicer than when you came is a beautiful thing.
37) Love is worth fighting for.
38) God’s love changes people.His love for you, at this very moment, is insanely strong and yet so real. Get to know Him and see what happens.
39) Taking time to rest is vital.
40) “And if you find a love that’s tender, if you find someone who’s true, thank the Lord, for He’s been doubly good to you.”
(as recorded by Amy Grant on her album Straight Ahead)

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