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July 12, 2020

This is 43: Lessons about Time & what Truly Matters.

Time doesn’t care whether you want more of it or not.

It just keeps moving on.

One day, you’re seven. From sunrise to street lights, to nightlights and back again, you are seven. The next day, followed by another next, and another—this is life. And now I am 43.

This is 43.

Twenty-five years ago, I graduated from high school: New Castle Senior High School, home of the Red Hurricanes, class of 1995.

Twenty-five years ago, I entered college: The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. Some of those experiences trail in the distance. Others are just a short walk to recall the smiles of classmates, the laughter of friends, the rolling sound of cadence, and the roar of a lion. Time marches on, and the great lesson is to cherish every minute of it at every stage along the journey.

This is 43.

I have a husband, a career, a mortgage, a car, a craft, a community, a small business, and a financial planner. I’m adulting every day.

Over time, we work to construct our lives, pursue our passions, and secure our futures. I don’t know about you, but I grew up with the goal of getting older—wearing mom’s heels, playing with lipstick, admiring the beautiful grown-ups in fashion magazines.

Now that I’ve arrived, I’m glad for it. There is work to be done, but the rewards are plentiful. With time comes investment, and the fruits of our labor. But the lesson, here and now, lies in finding and maintaining that childlike wonder. We must not forget to allow ourselves a bit of freedom and enjoyment in a world of higher stakes.

This is 43.

Preventative health visits. Hormone imbalances. An arsenal of vitamins and supplements. Caffeine-free. Dairy-free. Hypoallergenic.

Good news, bad news. Problems you fix versus those you simply manage.

Yoga-travel-meditation is my new gym-tan-laundry. My body is my temple. My mind is my control center. My heart is the most important organ in my body.

Time is precious, and so is protecting my peace. What’s done is done and the past has passed, yet some of us will have lifelong scars to remind us of the consequences of our daring youth. (Read: use eco-friendly sunscreen!)

The biggest lesson here is to create and commit to a no-nonsense, non-negotiable, daily self-care regimen. I have officially made that promise to myself, together with a promise to not make promises that I don’t intend to keep.

This is 43.

Today is the youngest that I will ever be—young enough to remember what it felt like at quarter-life, while acutely aware that 50 is just around the corner.

These days, my wishes on stars, birthday candles, and conversations with heavenly hosts, all center on the hope and prayer that my loved ones will be safe and healthy.

Those things that I collect—designer handbags, books, antiques, wooden spoons, global trinkets—are happy treasures that I use and reflect upon every now and again. But it’s those intangible treasures that hold the biggest space in my heart: loyal friends. The warmth and love of family. The bonds of a community. The sweet memories of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who’ve become my guardian angels.

Time is the bridge that we create from our string of yesterdays. And while it can seem infinite, time has a way of teaching us that all we really have is today, and the mere chance at a tomorrow.

This is 43.

It comes with no apologies, and many apologies.

It comes with righting the course while taking the road less traveled; building strength while daring to be vulnerable; and setting boundaries while breaking down old beliefs.

It comes with the courage to be authentic, purposeful, imaginative, and happy. It comes with no regrets, and yet some—because let’s face it, regrets are a funny thing.

If we have ever hurt another person, I believe that regret serves as a very important compass for the behavior that we will repeat, accept, and forgive. Everything we do makes us who we are, and for that, I could not feel more grateful. The trouble is, we think we have time. Right. Well.

Time doesn’t care whether you want more of it or not. It just keeps moving on.

I see time as an educator, an experience, an energy, an awakening. Something to be embraced, revered, celebrated, remembered. Time is a gift with no guarantees. It is a non-transferable ticket to everywhere you care to go and everything you care to be.

For me, this is 43.

Thank you, time—for today, for yesterday, and for showing me what truly matters.

What’s your 43? May it be your very finest version, your special path, your most appreciative moment. I wish you 43, 53, 63, and 103.

In fact, I wish for you the best of all time.

~

For you, dear reader, a relephant gem about aging gracefully: The 3 Things we Should Know by the Time we’re 40.

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