Life Lessons from a Forty-Something

The older I get, the more I think about aging. I know that there are plenty of people out there who hate it, who fight the whole process tooth and nail. Now, while I don’t exactly enjoy those growing morning aches and pains, and the thought of death rushing headlong toward me, I have realized that for the most part, I have actually been enjoying growing older. Lets fact it — it’s way better than the alternative – there are plenty of people denied the privilege of growing old. I feel like every year I spend on this planet are a gift, not to be wasted.

(Or, maybe wasted a little bit, like when the new season of OITNB comes out on Neflix. Y’know….priorities and all that.)

For the most part, I realize that life is only getting better as I get older. There’s something to be said for being a forty-something woman who knows herself, over being a twenty-something woman who doesn’t really have a clue. I’m still a work in progress and hopefully will be for a good long time to come.

Here are some things I know at forty-something that I certainly didn’t twenty years ago.

  1. I can’t control other people’s reactions to me. All I can do is my best to communicate clearly to others, and then let them take it from there. Some people will get it, and some people won’t. But trying to control their choices is only an exercise in crazy-making.
  2. My own self-care is the greatest gift I can give to others. Although I’m not perfect at it, I’ve certainly gotten a whole lot better at this whole self-care thing over the years. And gone are the days when I allow myself to feel guilty for it. No freakin way. I’m a better mother, wife, friend, employee and general human being when I make the effort to take care of myself properly. You’re welcome.
  3. Not everyone likes me – and that’s okay. When I was younger, I really scrambled to try and make everyone like me. All that did was leave me exhausted. It also meant that I was constantly trying to be someone and something that I wasn’t. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that hey, guess what? I’m not everyone’s cup of tea….and there’s nothing wrong with that. The only person I really have to make sure likes me is me – and if I focus on that, on being an integral and likable person to myself, then those closest to me, those who “get” me, will feel the same.
  4. So much more can be accomplished with self-love than with self-loathing. I used to try so hard to change myself out of hatred. I would see something about myself that I disliked intensely, and would work to try and make myself better. I’ve come to realize that attempting to change for those reasons just doesn’t work. The best way (and the only way to make it stick) is to change yourself out of self-love, because you know, deep down, that you deserve better. Loving change is always the best.
  5. Mistakes are the best learning tools. I will be the first to admit that I am far from perfect. I have made a great number of mistakes in my 42 years on this earth, and I know that before it’s all said and done, I will make many more. But as cheesy at it sounds, those mistakes have been great learning tools for me. I have been able to learn something valuable each time I’ve screwed up. I can’t say that would be the case if I’d always done everything perfectly my whole life.

Instead of being sad that I’m getting older like some people, I choose to be happy about it. Because really? We all only get better with age. 🙂

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