September 27 2016

40 Life Lessons from a 40-Year-Old

About a month ago, I turned the big 4-0. Lots of people have asked me how that’s affected me, I guess it’s technically time for a mid-life crisis. But it came and went without much fanfare. I have been thinking about writing this post, however, after seeing this: 50 best practices for living a well-designed life. I agree with some of the items on that list like #2, I’m all about drinking water, and #26 is a gem, practice gratitude daily, even it’s simply for the air you breathe.

I’ve challenged myself to come up with 40 things I wish someone had told me before I turned 40. Since I’m married with two kids, I’ve sprinkled in some advice that pertain to those who are in similar circumstances. I’m also an introvert at heart, so if you are too, some of these items may hit home. Now, in no particular order, here they are. (Guess this could double as a letter to my boys.)

1. Try not to judge others. Most of the time, you’re just pointing out your own weaknesses.
2. Life’s too short to not use nice, fluffy towels.
3. Speaking of towels, make sure your significant other has a fresh one after his or her shower. It’s a sweet gesture. (Bonus points for giving him or her a cold glass of water, too.)
4. It’s ok for your children to be bored in the car, that’s when their imagination flows.
5. Don’t multitask. Do one item well and then move on to another.
6. Browse the internet, scour magazines but read books.
7. Get outside. It’s fun being online or on your phone but being in nature gives your overstressed brain a break.
8. Smile at strangers.
9. You may not want to go on that trip but just go. You’ll make a ton of great memories.
10. Foster a good relationship between your children and your parents. That grandmother/grandfather bond is strong and both parties benefit from the close relationship.
11. Forget the gym, put on some running shoes and just go. There’s nothing quite like listening to your favorite music and breathing in fresh air.
12. If you have children, you don’t need the whole diaper bag. In your large purse, just bring plastic bags (to wrap up the poop), diapers, and wipes.
13. It’s never too late to change careers. It’s typically only fear that’s holding you back.
14. If you do change careers, listen to the feedback of others but develop a quiet confidence within yourself.
15. Instead of saying how smart your child is, tell them how proud you are that they’re trying. (Develop the growth mind-set.)
16. One of the best gifts you can give your spouse is 30 minutes of pure, kid-free sleep.
17. Celebrate every tiny victory – that’s includes every birthday, engagement, wedding, holiday, etc. Life’s too short not to celebrate the good times.
18. Tell the ones you love how much they mean to you, when they’re alive. That can be through a text, email or letter.
19. When you’re feeling depressed, remember that “this too shall pass.”
20. Don’t scold your child in front of others. Take them away to a quiet place and, in a calm tone of voice, talk to them.
21. Foster good relationships with your friends. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, there are different levels of friendship one can have.
22. Learn how to cook at least a few good, healthy dishes for your kids. If you’re up for the challenge, try cooking a new dish every week.
23. Involve your kids in the process, whether that means in cooking, gardening, or handiwork around the house.
24. When negotiating with children, if they go up a number, go down a few numbers. Usually, you’ll end up in the middle (or where you started).
25. A Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things.” Usually this means two disparate things. Practice that.
26. Develop strong relationships with your siblings. Friends come and go but sisters/brothers are forever.
27. We all make mistakes, but it’s how we deal with them that shows our true character.
28. Don’t make death scary for kids. Explain to them that it’s a part of life.
29. Some days, take a break from Instagram and Facebook. It’ll make you happier.
30. Try to not create too many rules in the house. Instead, teach your kid values.
31. Praise your kid when he or she does something right, especially if they’ve conquered a fear.
32. Let ideas percolate. Don’t rush into projects, let your subliminal brain work on it.
33. Meditate. Even if that means just sitting quietly for a few minutes and listening to your breathing.
34. Trust (selectively). Develop a close circle of friends who will encourage you in your life and who only want the best for you.
35. Don’t wait till you are your goal weight to buy clothes. You can feel stylish and confident at any weight.
36. You may not like to being in pictures but suck it up and be in them. Later in life, your children will want to see their mom in their pictures.
37. Take a road trip across America. You’ll appreciate the grandeur of this country even more.
38. Travel abroad. Be open to new cultures and learn about their customs.
39. Lift others up, don’t tear people down.
40. Persistence and drive will get you farther in life than just being smart.

Finally, be nice.


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