this is the month. both heather and i jumped over into a new decade. i thought i'd be upset by this milestone but i'm surprisingly confident. i've learned a few things in my first four decades. here are my top 40.
1) 40 is young. really, truly young.
2) it's okay to say "no." it's also okay to say "no" without explaining your reasons.
3) jobs, chores, checklists will all still be there tomorrow. people need you to invest in them today. you can tell your priorities by how you choose to spend your time.
4) videos of your parents and grandparents as well as your kids as babies are among the things you will grab if there is ever a fire in your house. make sure you have them.
5) i will never regret getting an education, whether it be college or grad school, it's always worth while...even if just to shock all the people who think stay at home moms are stupid but telling them you have more education than they do.
6) "you can dance if you want to, you can leave this world behind" is just what you'll need to do some days. dancing it out is some of the best therapy you can find.
7) there is no modesty after childbirth. it's like a circus side show and everyone is invited.
8) you can actually choose to be joyful. feelings are followers. they will usually go where you tell them to go.
9) judgmental people are not worth your time. they are also some of the most insecure people you will ever meet. it's best to avoid them and their opinions of you and others.
10) a dirty house can mean that you take time to spend with your kids. it can also mean that you sat around in your pajamas all day and watched tv. no one but your kids will know the difference.
11) God is real.
12) you will never live up to all the expectations of others. you can choose to wear those expectations like a chain around your neck or you can shake those expectations off (thank you, taylor swift) and just be.
13) marriages require work. period. anyone who believes in the fairy tales and a simple "happily ever after" is setting themselves up for failure. a good marriage takes work.
14) a good marriage is worth the work.
15) nobody wants to go out to eat with someone who only eats a side salad. no one. order something delicious and say "mmmmm" with every bite. people will love going out to eat with you.
16) compliments make people's days. compliment strangers. compliment friends. compliment your spouse. compliment your kids. compliment yourself.
17) styles change. i don't care how cool you think you are right now, one day you will look back at pictures of yourself and cringe at your style choices while also saying, "dang...i was hot back then."
18) i don't feel much older than 25. my outsides look older but my insides feel young and free. it's the inside age that matters.
19) laundry will never be done. the house will never be completely clean. the to-do list will never be finished. embrace it. it's a beautiful mess.
20) surround yourself with people who make you laugh, really laugh. laughter is good for the soul.
21) there are some friendships that will grow apart as years go by but your siblings will be with you until you die. it's good to invest in those relationships too.
22) your spouse was never meant to meet all your emotional needs.
23) perfection is unattainable. grace is not.
24) a good book is like escaping into another world. it is a way to disappear into something altogether different if only for a few moments.
25) we are our own worst critics. we need to be more kind to ourselves, to be brave enough to get in the pictures with our kids, and have a tough enough skin to laugh at our mistakes.
26) smart phones and computers do not meet emotional needs.
27) there is something special about those friends who have known you forever. they know your history and your story that would take years to retell. those friendships are worth keeping alive.
28) there is a wealth of wisdom in countless disney movies. "let it go" and "just keep swimming" are honestly profound words to live by.
29) learning how to manage the money you have is one of the greatest lessons you will ever learn. (the money that you have does not include your credit limit).
30) the world is so, so small. see as much of it as you possibly can.
31) too many women complain about sex with their spouses. sex is awesome. orgasms are awesome. connecting with your spouse is awesome (and necessary). it's time wives give sex a better reputation.
32) i will always be glad i learned to type, speak a foreign language and play a musical instrument. those three things have opened entire worlds for me.
33) your kids will both do what you do and say what you say. it's best to watch both.
34) hair dye is a gift from the heavens above.
35) a cup of tea and an hour of quiet can make you a better person.
36) i'm a good parent. i'm not a perfect parent...but i'm a good parent. learn to say that to yourself.
37) girlfriends are an absolutely essential commodity. they are more precious than gold.
38) no one wants to be around a complainer.
39) you cannot put a price on experiences. put money in exploring and not in things. things break. experiences last a lifetime.
40) you are uniquely created for this time and this place and your specific purpose. your life does not need to look like anyone else's. there is only one you. we are supposed to look and be different. embrace being different.