Dear 20-somethings: Reflections On Turning 40 and What I Wish I Knew Then - Your Kick-Ass Life

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40bday

Today is my 40th birthday. Holy shit, y’all. I really have nothing against turning 40, it just feels really weird to say that. Like I’m expecting it to come out of someone else’s mouth, but certainly not mine. 40 feels so grown up. And that I am not.

I've been thinking about what I wish I would have known at 20 and compiled a list. Not that I think anyone at 20 will actually follow the advice of a 40 year old (Lord knows I wouldn't have), but if nothing else, all of us 40 year-olds can nod our heads in agreement with each other as we complain about incontinence and give each other high fives about how much we've learned in 20 years. So, here we go:

  1. Surround yourself with wise people that are older than you. If you know someone that gives really smart advice, and you love the way they live their life, do everything you can bordering on stalking to spend time with them. They are a goldmine.
  2. The best time to work on your marriage is now, before you're married. I’m convinced that some of the time people spend in couple’s counseling could be better served in individual therapy working on their own shit that is bleeding over into their relationship. So in other words, work on your own shit.
  3. Travel as much as you can. I didn’t do this and I regret it.
  4. Get smart about money now and start saving. I know this sounds really cliché, but seriously you guys. Being an adult is a big responsibility (or so I hear). Having to worry about money is one of those things if you get a head start, you’ll thank yourself a million times over later.
  5. You are wired for struggling and pain. You don’t have to do everything in your power to avoid feeling your feelings. And if you do numb out to avoid it all, trust me when I tell you there will be a lot of effort, possibly lost of money spent, and possibly 12-step programs later to learn how to feel your feelings.
  6. Everyone really isn’t silently judging and criticizing you as much as you think they are. They’re too busy looking at their phones anyway.
  7. Wear sunscreen every day. Face, neck, and chest. Trust me, ladies.
  8. Keep up the habit of calling your parents once a week. It’s a habit that will easily fall by the wayside.
  9. Your body. It’s a masterpiece and it loves you. Love it back. You are so much more than the sum of your body parts. So much more.
  10. Clean up your messes as they happen. Say you’re sorry when you’ve screwed up. Learning how to give a genuine apology will change you and your relationships for the better.
  11. Think about the conversation you are silently having with yourself. Work on making it a kind one. No one ever beat themselves up into happiness or being a better person.
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