Reflections on turning 40

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I have spent some time lately reflecting on my life up to this point. Turning 40 does that to a person. My thirties were my favorite decade thus far and I think that my forties will be even better. This is a free-form list of important lessons that I don't want to forget. Things that have helped me grow as a person and to find my way in the world.

turning 40

My reflections on life up to 40:
  1. Don't wait for moments that are special to live the moment. 
  2. Don't over-savor. Put the camera down and just take memories. Don't freak out about the possibility that you'll forget something important. The best stuff always sticks.
  3. Happiness is cumulative. Doing something that makes you happy every day makes you a better human.
  4. Some days will make you smile so big that you laugh out loud. Some days will break your heart. The days in the middle, the seemingly boring ones, are the currency of life. We spend them in our routines. They go by unnoticed. They are the place and the time we are living. They are Mondays and Thursdays and laundry days and grocery days. The repetition of them keeps us comfortable. Spend them all well because they matter more than special occasions. 
  5. Sometimes the wishes that go un-granted and the prayers that are not answered are the greatest of blessings.
  6. You can't go wrong with Grandma's butterscotch brownie recipe.
  7. I need to hold space in my mind for the possibility that even things that seem absurd now might make perfect sense with some added wisdom.
  8. I am and always have been a dreamer. I easily get overwhelmed by myself. Running helps.
  9. Cozy is a big deal for me. Homemade things, soft things, warmth and comfort. All big loves.
  10. Creative release, like writing and hands-on creating, is as necessary as food and water.
  11. When we grow up, we have mortgages to pay and tax documents to file. Our blood pressure is high, our stomachs hurt. We own big decisions and cars that need maintenance. Life and its living take away a lot of our magic. I believe that magic, like happiness (see #3), is cumulative. We store it up and, when we have a lot, it bubbles up and sheds its sparkly light on everything that we do. When you're looking for magic, you can find it anywhere.
  12. Good, connected conversation with friends and loved ones is deeply nourishing.
  13. Exploration, adventures, and novel experiences are like air to me. Without them I get stuck in a suffocating rut. It doesn't take much to shake that loose. 
  14. People who are unkind are acting on something inside of themselves. It isn't about me. People also get addicted to finding bad news. Stay on the high road.
  15. Spending time camping or otherwise removed from creature comforts makes the simple things in life, like being dry and clean and sitting on a soft couch, seem like incredible luxuries. Get out of your comfortable places (physical and emotional) often to stay focussed on gratitude.  

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