Home » Celebrations! » I am 40.

I am 40.

photo courtesy of Zuzu

photo courtesy of Zuzu

I am 40 today. To be honest, I think I’ve always been a little bit 40, even from way back when a very young me mostly dressed in orthopedic Doc Martins and gray woolen cardigans with Kleenex tucked up the sleeve while sipping tea from the perch of my 1940’s solid maple Ethan Allen swivel rocker listening to Prairie Home Companion. Really the only “funny” feeling I have with this technical change in decade is the discombobulation that is coming with being officially older than the age my mother perpetually resides at in my head (It’s 37 if you are curious). I’m arriving to my 40’s in a pretty happy and contented state of being. One where “I’m good” would be the answer to most questions about the state of my life, and the changes I still feel I’d like to make one day. One where my daily boiled egg, cup of yogurt and coffee leave me feeling perky. Sound in the knowledge that it’s ok that I haven’t slept more than 5 hours at a stretch in over 6 years rather than finding it insomnia inducing.  

Which isn’t to say that I don’t see room for improvement (like maybe increase that hours of sleep a night number for starters). What exactly would I like to change in this coming decade? I’d like to yell less. I want to be more patient. I’d like to read more by myself and with my family. I’d like to increase my technical knowledge of photography. I’d like to declutter my home, my brain and my email folders. I’d like to have a seasonal, familial, daily rhythm to the food my family and I eat and the time we spend together.  I’d like to have a weekly pattern of walking, gardening and yoga. I’d like to completely rid my brain of the guilt that piles up when I don’t meet my own expectations in life so that I can move on more quickly to trying again. I’d like to write a book.   I’d like to make a yearly book of our family’s life and one of our families recipes. I’d like to use more of what I already own more regularly. I’d like to go back to seeing more live music shows and traveling regularly. I want to continue to see the magic in the ordinary of our days.
What have I learned in the last 40 years? Here are the highlights- and yes- I know there are many contradictions in here. A little secret- there are many in life as well:
  1. What other people think of me is none of my business.
  2. It is ok to feel happy, angry and sad. They are my feelings and I don’t need to apologize for them. That said I am responsible to create my own happiness, control my own anger and curb my own crying.
  3. Ruminating over things that aren’t going well only makes ME unhappy.
  4. I prefer to find the good in my day and document it. And I prefer to let the rest go at days end.
  5. I prefer my chocolates mixed, my jewelry sentimental, my coffee strong with milk and my flowers colorful.
  6. When the next day comes, I’ll try again.
  7. Not only do I need the ability to try again, but it’s good to give the people in your life another chance as well. We all make mistakes.
  8. Listen to other people’s opinions about life, but remember they are only opinions.
  9. When someone compliments you, say thank you and smile.
  10. Share what you have.
  11. It is important to say sorry when someone is hurt by you, even if you didn’t mean to.
  12. It is possible to enjoy variety- McDonald’s McRib and High Tea.
  13. Not everyone needs a detailed explanation of what you mean.
  14. Not every situation needs resolution; sometimes the best course of action is to just let it go.
  15. If I didn’t photograph or write about it, it’s hard to remember that it happened for me.
  16. Daily structure, rules and routine help me to look outside of those for inspiration.
  17. When people offer help, if it really would be helpful- say yes and thank you.
  18. I feel better when I eat my fruit and veggies, get lots of sleep, take a walk, go outside, floss my teeth and drink lots of water.
  19. When something is bothering you, try to think about how you could fix it. When something is bothering someone else, just listen.
  20. In parenting my children, I understand and appreciate my own parents so very much.
  21. When I can’t stop ruminating on something, walk on it, photograph it or write about it. There is freedom in taking control of your thoughts so you can move on.
  22. Your experience in life is yours alone.
  23. Don’t try to control other people’s actions. It doesn’t work.
  24. Everything passes in life- the good and the bad.
  25. Expectations should be in flux- lowered when you become overwhelmed and raised when you could do better.
  26. When you can’t change your situation, change your perspective and attitude.
  27. I like to be cooked for, read to and invited over.
  28. In the moment, I am much more capable than I think I am in the preparation.
  29. A daily family meal is defined as us being together for the meal. It doesn’t matter who serves it, what it is or what time of the day it happens.
  30. I enjoy the feeling of a good melt-up (think opposite of a melt-down)
  31. Trying something new is just as great as returning to our old favorites (food, vacations, friends, activities).
  32. I’d rather have an ongoing list of things I want to do than have that list neatly checked off.
  33. When people tell me they see something good in me, I start to see it in myself and I live up to that expectation.
  34. Being able to laugh about the daily awfuls helps me to get over them.
  35. It is so very important to be kind. To others and yourself. Whether deserved or not.
  36. I learn a lot in a quiet moment.
  37. I’m inspired by images, words and food others make.
  38. I’d rather ask a question than assume I’m right or understand all that I need to.
  39. You can learn just as much from those younger than you as those older than you- if you want to.
  40. I am crystal clear how lucky I am to have the family, friends, community, health and teeth that I do.

Bless you all.

5 thoughts on “I am 40.

  1. Birthday Blessings, Dear Nicole! #35 is especially ringing out to me as I was just talking with a neighbor about the importance of kindness. Oh, that we could be kind to ourselves and others. XOXO!

  2. Pingback: When you turn 40…. | Ordinary Afters...

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