I turned 45 today. Feels weird writing that.
I actually like getting older, though; I am a far more contented person now than even five years ago. Through a lovely turn of events, I was offered the opportunity to housesit for a friend in Montréal this week which feels like an amazing way to mark the transition from the first half of my life to the next. Or at least that is how I think of it… the midway mark. Neither of my parents made it even close to 90 but I guess I’m planning for it.
Leading up to my 40th birthday I composed a “40-in-40” list; basically a list of 40 things I wanted to experience or accomplish in my 40th year. Have you ever done something similar?
This morning it occurred to me to mark my birthday by writing a list of 45 lessons or truths about myself I have uncovered in the past 45 years. Perhaps you will relate to some of these and I’d love for you to share some of your own hard-fought nuggets of truth in the comments. Off we go…
- I am a kinder and far happier human being when well-rested. Sleep is important.
- Say sorry when I mess up. I need to own my own ‘crap’.
- Conflict can be healthy for relationships. A fight does not mean divorce.
- Joy and pain can coexist.
- Life is not always black & white and that is ok.
- I don’t have to see the full picture before taking that next step.
- I don’t believe I would be alive today if not for a belief in God’s compassionate, gentle love for me.
- My body is beautiful. As is.
- Life does not have to be perfect to be beautiful; same goes for people.
- I have a thing for brown babies. Fuzzy-haired brown babies get me every time.
- Joy is a choice. Choose JOY is my mantra for the year.
- Travel brings me joy – new languages, cultures, foods, experiences.
- I am possibly one of the chattiest introverts you will meet & love to chat with strangers.
- Solitude & calm & ample time to think are as essential to my well-being as dark chocolate.
- Marriage is hard work but worth it.
- Learning vulnerability is essential & painful & scary & beautiful. All at the same time.
- Mostly don’t judge a person by his cover. Except also listen to your gut.
- Fear of rejection & judgment are my kryptonite. I’m still working on this.
- My weaknesses are the flip-side of my greatest strengths.
- Perfectionism is an ugly, nasty slave-driver.
- We don’t have to agree to be kind or even to be friends.
- Everyone needs a four-year-old in their life.
- Self-awareness helps grow confidence.
- My kids are not mini-me’s and can teach me loads about life if I allow them to.
- There is incredible artistry in diversity.
- Compassion for other begins with compassion for self.
- Laughter really is one of life’s best medicines. I need more medicine.
- There is no one perfect way to eat or care for oneself and being open to change is healthy.
- Nourishing myself well is an act of self-care. Plus food is delicious.
- Words have power to heal and change lives.
- My body speaks to me all the time; it is important to get good at listening.
- Done is better than perfect.
- I don’t really care for music but NEED words in my life.
- I can face my fears and not drown in them.
- Sisters are important. If you don’t have any biological ones (I do!) you can adopt some.
- It is healthiest for me to ignore the mess in my kids’ rooms & simply shut the door.
- I want to spend time with people who are kind, smart, authentic and interested in discussing ideas.
- I fail sometimes but I am not a failure.
- Sex gets better, if less frequent, with age;)
- I desire a small, slow, simple life. What that looks like is up for interpretation I suppose.
- I hate being told what to do but function best with many self-imposed rules or limits.
- I am not a gardener, don’t want to be, and love supporting local farmers.
- I am a person of faith who wrestles hard, questions, and yet feels anchored in love.
- My primary love language is quality time. I crave connection. But then also time apart.
- I am a teacher.
This post of 45 important things I’ve learned may be a little self-indulgent but, again, I welcome your input in the comments. Here’s to another 45 years of purpose, health & JOY.
MY BIRTHDAY MANTRAS FROM PAST YEARS
2020 Mantra: Tell the Truth
2019 Mantra: Say yes to life: Dive in heart-first
2018 Mantra: Listen to Your Life Speak
2017 Mantra: Don’t try so hard; Just enjoy yourself
2016 Mantra: Choose Joy
2015 Mantra: Just offer your small gifts (I didn’t write for this birthday)