I think forty must be the age of epiphany. I’ve only been 40 for eight months but I kind of feel like a whole new person. I’m sure the change started happening before I hit forty. I actually think it had a lot more to do with being single for two years than it had to do with turning 40, but I could be wrong. The last few months have just been truly eye opening for me. I’m sure when I was 20, I had some random 40 year old woman trying to give me advice that I refused to listen to and I’m kicking myself for not listening.
If I could go back and give my 20 year old self some advice, it would be this:
- Stay in touch with those amazing young women you befriended in high school, and while working at McDonald’s and in college. They turn in to amazing older women who will empower you and keep you on track and your life will be empty without them.
- Travel even if you can’t afford it. Even if you can only afford to travel 2 hours away, do it. And if you can afford to travel further, don’t forget to make memories and take pictures.
- Keep a journal. Not sporadically either. Keep a journal every single day because one day you will look back on your memories and find that you either have learned a great deal or still need to.
- Don’t ever give anyone the power to make you feel bad about yourself or your choices….not your boyfriend, not your friends, not even your own mother.
- Stop stressing. It will not ever get you out of that mess you got yourself into. If you could pay your bills with stress, then it might be worth it, but stress does nothing but take years off your life and still has never managed to keep the lights on.
- Say “I love you” often. Tell your friends you love them, tell your parents, tell your kids, tell children that don’t even belong to you. Everyone should feel loved once in their lives.
- Make friends with at least four people from four different countries. Ask them about their culture and share with them about yours. Stop being afraid of what you don’t know and learn about it instead.
- Don’t be so sensitive about everything. Sometimes people are just dicks and it has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you.
- Look in the mirror more often and remember all the reasons you love yourself.
- Be nice, but not naïve. Don’t let people take advantage of your kindness, but don’t harden yourself to the world either.
- Put that idea of your “perfect” mate out of your head or you may miss him when he’s standing right in front of you.
I’m sure by time I’m 50 that list will be doubled. It may be doubled by time I turn 41. I’m learning more about myself every day. And I’m learning more about life. I’m finally at a place where I am content. I don’t worry about what kind of job I have, because that does not define me. I’m not worried about what neighborhood I live in, it does not define me. I’m not worried about whether I have a car or not, it doesn’t matter to me anymore. My only concern at this point in my life is that I wake up tomorrow thankful for something. Thankful that I have friends that I adore and who adore me. Thankful that I have someone who loves me and sees me for exactly who I am. Thankful that my children turned out to be good human beings. Thankful that even though I’ve made my fair share mistakes, they do not define me. Thankful that I have a job to go to every day. Thankful that I can pay my bills even if I can’t do much more than that. Thankful that I have something to be thankful for. And I do. Every single day.