One thing interesting about middle age? You never round up. My stepson will be 8 in a month. If I say he is 7 he reminds me "ALMOST 8". Since October I've had to say 7 AND A HALF for fear of a melt down. No one ever says they are 41 and a half. We wince as we say 43. Sometimes it comes out as 43? No. Seriously. Between 36 and 39, I could never remember my actually age and I always answered in a form of a question. But you ask a 6 year old? Oh, they know how old they are. To the day. And don't get it wrong. They are proud of their age.
But honestly, so far it's been good to be 40. Or at least interesting. In two months, I have:
Tried pole dancing
Signed up for a triathlon in September
Saw the Long Island Medium in person
Planned a trip to NYC and NOLA
People tell me the feel their 40s are their best years yet. Really? Better than my 20s when I could eat a whole cake EVERY DAY without gaining a pound? Or get only 3 hours sleep and be fully functional?
So I started thinking, what have I learned by 40 that I wish I had known sooner or I wish others would grasp? Things that would make life easier if understood?
I came up with 10 things.
- I used to walk into a room and hope people liked me. Now? I hope I like them. Life is too short to spend it trying to impress sucky people.
- It is better to have a small circle of close friends with good values, who are loyal and genuinely care than 100 acquaintances that will meet you at the bar on Fridays and make you feel popular but won't stop you from making dumb choices that night.
- People are thinking about you or talking about you less than you think. Don't be so egotistical. And even if they are, it's still about their own issues and not about you.
- When someone pops into your mind let them know. Don't let the moment pass. Tell them. It doesn't need to be an hour call. A text. A Facebook message will do. Just tell them. Life is too short and you could change their day.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. How do you know it's small? Ask yourself if you will care a month from now, a year from now or 5 years from now and react accordingly.
- Making friends after college is hard. But it can be done. It just takes EFFORT.
- Forgiveness is not for the person that did (or you think did) something wrong. It's not about forgetting or accepting bad behavior. It is for you. Let go of the grudge. It will just eat at you while the other person is more often than not oblivious and going along their merry way. If it's still to hard for you to forgive them, just tell yourself you forgive them for doing the best they could at the time. It probably wasn't really about you as much as their own shortcomings! And if it was all about you? They can't help being an asshole. Take solace in the fact is they were an asshole before you, they will be one after you. That is their cross to bear, not yours. Trust me. They know they are assholes, even if they act like they don't around you.
- You can't get around eating right. This is hard for me. I love good food. But you can't jog 3 miles and then eat a juicy gourmet hamburger with sweet potato fries, a good drink and a rich dessert and expect to lose weight or be healthy. Health starts in the kitchen and continues in the gym. Just because the girl beside you is 100lbs and eating chicken wings, doesn't mean she's healthy. And although I know this, I struggle. Every. Single. Day. In fact I want a doughnut right now.
- Listen more. Talk less. Judge no one. Always remember, "There goes I but for the grace of God".
- If you learn to TRULY love yourself, others will love you too. The rest of your life will just fall into place. And if it doesn't or they don't? Screw them! You love yourself.
I was going to wrap up the post here but realized many of them I only came to realize when I admitted I was making myself crazy over thinking things and needed help. So #11 would be: It's OK to ask for help. It doesn't make you weak. Pushing your ego aside and putting everything out there makes you strong. So whether it is asking for help with emotions, at work or directions ---- ask. You won't regret it.