I turned 40 on Saturday.
Even though I’m ready and excited for a new chapter in my life, it still feels a little weird saying it.
Like everyone, I spent most of my early life not being able to picture turning the big 4-0, to more recently assuming by the time it came around I’d have life figure out.
Of course, here I am, and I most certainly do not have life figured out, at all, but what’s nice now is that I don’t feel the need to. I’m very content to just see where things go and don’t have that overwhelming need to control everything.
For years, I heard from friends that once they entered their 40s, they noticed they became more confident in themselves and their choices.
I’ve noticed I cannot hang like I use to, which was evident when I found myself falling asleep at 12:15 the night of my birthday party. I’m pretty sure I need readers, and all the serum in the world can’t give me back the skin of my youth.
BUT! I have felt my confidence increase over the last few months. I also feel so much more comfortable in my skin both physically and emotionally; I like what I like, I’m less likely to people please or do something out of obligation, and my priorities are just where they need to be.
So, today I thought I’d kick off December and a brand new decade for me, by sharing a few lessons I’ve learned on my way to 40 and hope you share your own in the comments below.
What I Learned When I Turned Forty
1. No is a full sentence, but so is Yes.
I threw myself into my career in my early 30s, thinking I had to sacrifice my personal life and time with my family to reach my goals. I ultimately ended up saying “no” to the wrong things and spent the last few years realigning my priorities. Looking back, I wish I said yes to the things I said no to, and no to the things I said yes to.
2. You are NEVER too good for a dive bar.
I use to chase a fancy life, incorrectly associating fancy things with success. Then, a few years back, I was standing in a dive bar at the Jersey shore, drinking white wine out of a plastic cup, surrounded by friends and family, dancing to 90s hiphop and I thought, I’m so happy! That’s when it dawned on me that my happiness wasn’t scaling with what I had access to. So while I can like nice things, and strive to live well, happiness is found in simple things and staying true to yourself.
3. Don’t follow the advice of people whose lives don’t reflect your goals.
This is a big, more recent realization. Why in the world would you listen to someone living a life that doesn’t look like your end goal? Beats me, but I did it for years.
4. You’re not too emotional. You’re full of compassion and empathy.
Growing up in the 80s was pretty much awesome, except girls still lived with the stereotype of being too emotional. Now that I am a mother to three daughters, I am adamant to never, ever make them feel bad for having feelings and expressing them. Instead, I tell them it’s like having a superpower. You might need to learn to control it, but your empathy is a powerful gift that can change the world.
5. Don’t take things personally.
When you’re sensitive, this is hard and takes a lot of discipline. I don’t always succeed here. Still, when I look at things objectively and remove my personal attachment, I’m able to react to adverse situations in a much calmer, healthier manner.
6. Hustle, not talent, equal success.
I’ve never been the most talented, but I can outwork anyone.
7. Ignore the Critics
Brene Brown’s take on Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena Speech” shaped the way I look at and operate in the world.
When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.
8. Being right gets you nowhere.
This is the best advice my brother ever gave me. Proving your “rightness” isn’t worth the fight because most people don’t care, so skip the drama and move on.
9. Not everyone will like you.
And that’s ok. But, more people like you than you think.
10. Family is everything.
My greatest source of abundance, by far my biggest blessing is the family God gave me. My husband, our girls, my parents, brothers and sister-in-law (who I love like my own sister), our good friends who we have build our own little community, or tribe or whatever you call it these days, they are worth finding time for, they are worth the effort, the fight, the figuring out. Don’t put anything ahead of that, because they are the fuel that keeps us going.
I am excited for everything this new decade will bring, including how our content will evolve. I’m heavily focused on organizing the site for 2020 to curate style content for women in their 40s. I feel fortunate to know many of you from when I was a 28 year old, networking and building our personal shopping business.
What a gift to be able to grow up together! The best is yet to come!