Okay, folks. “F” day, as I like to call it, (or my 40th) is right around the bend. And as I’ve been sitting around being depressed about it lately, I’ve also been trying to think about if I’ve actually learned anything in my four decades. Overall I still think I’m pretty clueless but I do think I’ve figured out a few things about myself personally and also just about life. So go ahead and read carefully because my wisdom is pretty mind blowing (just kidding, I really don’t know shit). But here goes (in no particular order):
- Every once in a while it’s okay to treat yourself to a dinner that costs as much as a week’s worth of groceries. It may seem asinine and reckless, but there’s something unbelievably satisfying about eating not just a phenomenal meal but also having it served to you. And don’t forget not doing any of the cleaning up! I may be a meat and potatoes farm girl, but it is nice experiencing how the other half lives every once in awhile. Treat yourself.
- Some days are harder than others. Some days it takes every ounce of your being to peel yourself out of bed. And on those days if the most productive thing you’ve accomplished is simply taking a shower, than so be it. Give yourself a high-five and call it a win. Tomorrow is another day.
- To me, one of my favorite things ever is finding a great book that I just can’t put down. Even when it’s 11:00 pm and I know I should stop. And then when it’s suddenly 1:00 am and I still haven’t stopped. But you know what, screw it. I survived months on end of barely a few hours of interrupted sleep. So when I find a book that I just can’t put down, I’m going to relish it. I may regret it when I have to wake up in a few hours but I’ll always appreciate the enjoyment it brings me in the long run.
- Stay off the scale. No, seriously. All it does is mess with your head, and the only thing that matters is a) if your pants fit and b) that you’re healthy.
- Along those lines, I’ve also discovered I’ll never do any form of a diet. I just can’t. I’ll exercise for an extra two hours a day (well not really because who has two entire hours to work out in a day?!) before anyone can make me give up alcohol, pizza or my seasonal candy corn.
- As a lifetime resident (to date) of Illinois, death, insanely ridiculous taxes and asshole toddlers are the three guarantees of life.
- I’ve started to accept the fact that I’ll always hear phantom crying or someone calling “Mommy” every damn time I take a shower. I’ve finally accepted these delusional noises and have stopped actually turning off the shower to check. But they’re never going away.
- My dad was right.
- Despite whatever crazy article one might find on the Internet, kids can definitely survive on peanut butter and mac-n-cheese daily. And it doesn’t even have to be organic.
- There is no such thing as a miracle face cream. Over the past 10 years I have personally tried a countless number of prescription and over-the-counter products, all in the hopes of reversing the signs of aging. But let me tell you, whether something costs $10 or $200 these “smile lines” are coming in fast and furious, and unfortunately no product is going to make me look 21 again.
- At the end of the day, stuff will always just be stuff. But if that stuff makes you happy then who cares. Buy the stuff.
- A person should never be too old for an impromptu dance party. Music makes the world go round, and it does wonders for livening the soul. Just make sure it’s loud enough.
- Don’t ignore the small stuff. Oftentimes it’s just as important, if not more, than the big stuff. (Remember from my previous post?!)
- It doesn’t matter if you’re 14 or 40, the drama never leaves you.
- It’s okay to “Waste a Moment.” Thanks, Kings of Leon for that wonderful life lesson. Not every second of every day needs to be filled with something productive. It doesn’t matter that your to-do list is a mile long. Take five minutes every day and fill it however you want. Watch the birds. Read a blog. Pet your dog. Sometimes nothing is everything.
- Kids can go way longer without bathing than adults.
- The older I get, the more I want to move back home… with or without my family depends on the day.
In reality this list could go on forever because obviously the past 40 years is not solely limited to the 17 bullet points here. But I hope this list is a gentle reminder to everyone that we’ll always continue to learn no matter how old we get. Hopefully through what we learn, we’ll continually improve ourselves and most importantly never stop having fun. Forty is a big year. I’m no longer in the reckless crazy years but nor am I in the era of being more concerned with how others perceive me than how I perceive myself. So here’s to 40. I’ll raise my glass, shed a few tears, probably drink too much and dive head first into the next four decades.