I’m not 40 yet, but soon and very soon I will be! Oh yes, that milestone birthday has crept up and will be here in a few short weeks. How do I feel about it? Well, I’m really not quite sure. I don’t feel almost-40, whatever that is supposed to feel like. No mid-life crisis here yet or anything, but it does make me think about life and what I’ve learned in these almost 4 decades.
So buckle up, here are my random streams of consciousness and things I’d tell those in their 20’s-30’s about life at 40:
Family is precious. They might drive you crazy at times, but they are such a wonderful gift. Don’t take a single one of them for granted because they might not always be around. That goes for your parents, spouse, kiddos, and so on.
You know who you are…for the most part at least. All the pretty sides of you and the not-so-pretty ones that surface sometimes (or often). By 40 you have a decent handle on what you’re good at, what you’re terrible at, what you will forever need to work on, spiritual gifts you have, sins that trip you up, etc. Things have come to my attention in my 30’s that I probably wouldn’t have been able to totally pinpoint 10 or 20 years ago.
You can’t eat just anything you want. Well, you can, but in your later 30’s there begin to be repercussions for eating whatever the heck you want, whether it be heartburn or digestive issues or jeans that suddenly seem smaller. I’m not sure about men, but for women (or at least ones I’ve talked to), the metabolism starts to not be quite so hot in the mid to later 30’s. (Unless you have a seriously active job or are a workout fiend.) Sad but true, my friends! Sad but true…
I value real, genuine people. I have developed a low tolerance for flakiness and fakey-ness. Instead I definitely take a shine to those who are just flat-out real and genuine with me and aren’t putting on a false front. I love down-to-earth folks and hope to heavens that I am that way. Feel free to slap me if I’m not! While I’m on the subject of personal pet peeves, I also can’t stand the whole entitlement mentality that seems rampant these days.
Experiences totally trump stuff. By this point I would much, much rather travel to somewhere new or experience something cool than buy a new wardrobe or drive a fancy car. I’d also rather my kids get experience gifts than junk. Things that we get to experience as a family are the very best of all.
Keep on learning new things. Just because you’re out of college or have a houseful of kids vying for your attention doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning. Check out things that interest you and go for it. I had a hankering to learn how to sew and bought myself a sewing machine for my 30th birthday. Since then I’ve learned how to use it, but I’ve also taught myself lots of other skills just in the past decade. I don’t plan on stopping either!
You hopefully have gained more wisdom by this point. By 40 most of us have had a whole host of ups and downs in every aspect of our lives–and hopefully we’ve learned a thing or two from those ups and downs that we can apply to future stuff! By the way, this is not to say that 20 or 30 year olds can’t be wise–I know plenty that are, I just believe it can increase with age and experiences.
Be content. Easy to say, sometimes hard to truly do.
You’re never going to please everyone. Trust me. I know this one well. Just do your absolute best and focus on pleasing the Lord, not so-and-so.
It’s okay to not check everything off your to-do list. I am an avid list person and make myself one of these pretty much every day. I have given myself permission to not complete the whole thing and leave one or two things undone. They usually get carried over until the next day.
Every day is a gift. Don’t squander it. It’s easy to take our health for granted when we’re young, but you never know when that could be taken away from you. My husband was a vibrant 37 year old when he had a stroke. I could have easily died from a rare and severe pregnancy complication when I was barely 23, fresh out of college, and delivering my firstborn child 6 weeks early. Praise God we are all healthy and fine, but it might have gone the other way. Those experiences definitely put things in perspective for me.
And the most important one I saved for last:
God is always faithful. Always. Don’t ever forget it, no matter what may be happening in your life. Trust Him. He loves you more than you could ever imagine!