November 18, 2022

40 Lessons in 40 Years.

Today marks my 40th trip around the sun.

The past 40 years haven’t always been easy, but they have taught me so much about myself and life. I thought I would reflect and write down some thoughts and lessons I have had over the last 40 years.

I would be honored for you to read them and hope some resonate with you.

1. Gratitude is powerful and life-changing.

2. Treating others the same way you would want to be treated is so important.

3. Time really does fly by as you get older. Savor every second of every day. Learn how to sit in quiet, to think, to breathe. Learn how to be alone with yourself and be with your feelings and thoughts.

4. Things aren’t always going to be easy. In fact, things will get extremely difficult at times. Remember that all feelings are fluid and temporary.

5. Life really does laugh when you make plans for the future. The reality is, the majority of what you envision or plan for your future won’t happen or won’t pan out the way you thought it would. Sometimes it works out for the better, maybe most times. Other times, it isn’t always for the better and it’s okay to be pissed off and upset at what life may have thrown at you.

6. Being authentic and finding your voice is one of the bravest, most important things you can try to do as you get older. Finding your core values and learning them is going to help you show up authentically in life.

7. What you were worried about in your 20s won’t matter when you reach 40.

8. Status isn’t the key to happiness. You don’t need a degree from that school, a career at that organization, a car in that brand, or a house in that neighborhood. Chasing external status is going to leave you on an endless hunt for personal joy and satisfaction.

9. Self-love isn’t about always liking yourself every second of the day. Self-love is showing up for yourself time and time again, when you are at your best and when you are beaten down and at your worst.

10. Self-compassion is the foundational pillar of any self-love. Self-compassion is the key to holding yourself up when life is horrible and celebrating yourself when life is going well.

11. People aren’t always going to like you. Release people pleasing. You can’t please everyone. Once you release trying to please every single human you are then set free. Learn how to say no and not have an excuse or reason to back it every time.

12. Impostor syndrome is real. Learn to recognize when it comes up for you and learn tools on how to soothe it when it’s looming large and taking over your brain.

13. Learn to really embrace your body. I spent years in my 20s and early 30s disliking how I looked, hating my body shape, and trying to fit into “norms” of what social media tells us is “pretty.” One of the great things about turning 40 is you most likely will have started to embrace your body and respect all it does for you every single day.

14. Your family doesn’t need to be your friends and your friends don’t need to be at the close level of family.

15. It’s okay to not like everyone in your family and not feel forced to do so just “because they are family.”

16. Finding a few friends who bring out the best in you and support you in hard times and good is such a key element to life. You don’t need 40 friends, you don’t need 10. Just a handful of great people in your life makes a huge difference in your mental health.

17. You control your emotions. They don’t control you. Once you get the hang of that, you will surprise yourself with how much time you used to spend in an emotional state when you could have worked yourself out of that state sooner.

18. No romantic partner is worth losing yourself for. I don’t care if it’s the “love you have never felt before” kind of partner. Never lose who you are for any person. Never depend fully on your romantic partner to fulfill your happiness, security, self-esteem. You are the CEO of your life and your feelings, so you need to own them and don’t give anyone else your power.

19. Getting married and finding a life partner is not the end-all-be-all goal in life. We are taught from a young age we have to find this person, this soul mate, and once we do, life is perfect and you are complete. I can’t believe the amount of years I spent worrying if the person I was dating was “the one.” Having a life partner is wonderful. It’s wonderful to have that companionship. But that’s not the end-all goal of life. Having a relationship with yourself and becoming your own best friend…now that’s a goal we should all strive for.

20. Question everything you have learned as you get older. So much of what we have internalized comes from our upbringing, from the media, and from history taught through a lens of privilege. Start to get into the habit of questioning every single thing you believe in. Learn to reflect on why you may feel that way and how you can unlearn it if it no longer sits with your value system.

21. Learn how your privilege has shown up in your life and how it has helped you to become who you are. Spend time unlearning any unconscious biases you have toward other groups of people and spend time learning as much as you can about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

22. Find activities that bring you joy and that bring you into a state of mindful flow.

23. Treat yourself. Eat the damn cookie.

24. Giving back is more rewarding than receiving.

25. Fall in love. Let yourself get carried away.

26. You are going to have your heart broken multiple times. It’s going to feel horrible. You are going to feel like the feeling won’t ever end. I am going to promise you that eventually, the feeling lifts.

27. Grief is all-encompassing. It will take over your life. You will not be able to function normally. And it can last a long time. You don’t get over grief—you grow with it and learn to live in a new normal.

28. Let yourself be cared for. Ask for help. It doesn’t make you look weak.

29. Cry. Cry whenever you feel like crying and never apologize for it.

30. Wear what you want, like what you want, watch what you want, listen to what you want, do what you want.  Don’t try to be into things you don’t like just to fit in.

31. There is no such thing as normal. Every person is carrying something and working through something in their lives. Approach people with empathy and compassion.

32. Learn how to communicate and learn what style you receive communication best.

33. Travel. Explore. Try new things. Say yes.

34. Speak kindly to yourself.

35. Invest in going to therapy for your mental health. Yes, we all need it.

36. Save your money and try to avoid going into credit card debt.

37. Keep learning, keep educating yourself, keep reading, and keep using your brain.

38. It’s okay and normal to not want what society makes you feel you must want at certain ages. Listen to your own heart and create your own journey.

39. Look at yourself daily in the mirror and learn to say I love you to yourself.

40. Your next chapter is always just beginning. You can change your mind, change your career, change your story. You can always choose again and press start.

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Diana Cusumano  |  Contribution: 520

author: Diana Cusumano

Image: Lisa Fotios/Pexels

Editor: Juliana Otis