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I’m turning 39 soon.
Thirty-nine is not that old. Or, thirty-nine is ancient. It’s all a matter of perspective.
For whatever reason, I remember my dad’s 39th birthday. I remember the yellow light in the kitchen, the German Chocolate cake my mom baked from scratch, my brother and sister and parents gathered around the table, and me feeling melancholy, worried, and sad about the fact that my dad was “so old”!
Now I’m turning 39 and we all know what number comes after that—the dreaded 40. And just 10 years later, 50!
It’s true, life is short. My daughter, somehow, is already six. In 10 short years, she’ll be 16.
My first three years here, living and teaching at a school in Guatemala City, seem like another lifetime. As do other chapters in other cities, with other careers. Austin, advertising agency. San Francisco Bay area, yoga teaching fiend. I feel like a cat on her seventh life.
The current chapter: living in the woods with three cats, a vagabond dog, a tree-planting husband, and a delightful child. The choices I have made in my life have led me to be sitting in a small wooden cabin overlooking a pristine lake, starting my day with a cup of tea and a black cat on my lap. A meditation on birdsong. A quiet moment on the balcony. Paying attention to the music of each moment and the silence between the sounds.
My life is not stress-free; whose is? Not everyone shares their stresses on social media but we all have them. Work. Mental overload. Too much screen time.
But I am grateful for all the lessons of my life, and my 30s. I am looking forward to becoming older, wiser, fitter, happier, and more productive in my 40s.
Not “over the hill” just yet. However, I realize that death is approaching, every day, every year, the older we get the closer it comes. I’d like to think I’m not afraid to die. I’m glad to see death as a transformation to another realm, a shift of energy, a return to the light, yet I am attached to life and want to keep living it.
Here are some essential life lessons I strive to live by:
Love your life. Follow your heart. Be present in each moment.
Smile. Don’t take it personally.
Do what makes you feel most alive.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Make plans but let go of attachments to them.
Giggle at the cosmic joke.
Accept the impermanence of life.
Buy less stuff. Invest in experiences.
Learn to embrace death as a natural part of life, rather than something to be feared.
Serve. Be of benefit to others. By letting our light shine, we inspire others to do the same.
Choose your battles. Speak mindfully.
Travel. Learn a new language. Find a new favorite band. Break out of your comfort zone. Make a hard decision.
Release regrets. Forgive. Love. Be kind. Be grateful. Allow. Keep an open mind.
Keep on keepin’ on. The only way is forward.
Accept new ways of being. Upgrade yourself, with practice, over time.
And, remember that you and this moment are perfect just as they are.