I will be 40 in a matter of weeks. How this happens….I am not sure. I swear I was 23 years old about 6 months ago. When I am around anyone in their twenties, I assume that we are all peers, then I catch a glimpse of myself and realize that we are definitely not peers. I also have no idea what they are talking about. Nonetheless, 40 years ago, I came into this crazy world, and time has flown by. Here are some of the things I have learned.
Get the good face lotion
About 10 years ago, my mom had a real heart to heart with me and told me that I need to stop washing my face with a bar of hand soap, and I need to purchase actual soap made for faces. And that, I also needed to buy good face lotion. She explained that it is easier to maintain youthful skin, it is harder to repair skin that has not been taken care of. I have taken this to heart and have to agree with my mom. However, about 6 months ago, I started getting weird old lady acne so I have had to add other steps to my face care regimen.
Build some boundaries
I have prided myself on being nice, optimistic, friendly, and helpful. Sometimes I have done those things at the cost of my own happiness. My teenage self worried about what others were doing, my twenty-year-old self was concerned about what others thought of me, my thirty-year-old self worried how to please everyone. My forty-year-old self is kind of over it. I am figuring out that I can still be nice, optimistic, friendly, and helpful – but I can have boundaries in place that can protect me and my sanity. These boundaries feel liberating.
Buy the good shoes
I hate to shop. I mean really, really, really hate it. I usually find one pair of shoes that I can wear for every occasion and wear them until they fall apart. For the past several years, I have worn some form of flip flop (the under $30 variety) from April – October on a daily basis. This has to stop. I have realized that the constant ache I feel in my legs and back is not the flu, it is terrible shoes. So, I went to a real shoe store last week and spent more than $30 on a pair of shoes that will hopefully help me get my spring back in my step.
Find your voice
The closer I get to forty, I realize that I have opinions on things that might not be the same as everyone else’s. And that is okay. I am figuring out that I have a right to my ideas, and I don’t really have to defend them. I can decide to parent my children one way, you can do it another way, and we can still be friends. I am confident enough in who I am that I don’t have to prove myself to others, and in return, I don’t need them to prove themselves to me.
I can change my course
I have been a stay at home mom for over nine years. I have loved it. I think I was actually pretty good at it. If anyone asked me if I wanted to go back to work, I would laugh at them and say, “no way!”. However, things change. Now, I am working part-time and loving it. I love it so much that I want to work more. I would have never expected to feel this way about working, but I guess I never expected that I would love staying at home either. It is okay to change your course. The older I get, I understand the power in changing your mind.
Be a mentor
Throughout my forty years, I have had countless women mentor me. In addition to my mom and other female relatives, I have had friends’ moms, teachers, coworkers, bosses, pastors, and neighbors who have been honest with me about where they were in their life and how they got there. These were women that were older than me, some were old enough to be my grandmother, and others were simply one step ahead of me. All of them took the time to teach me something. They honestly shared about motherhood, told me about their long lost loves, taught me how to navigate office politics, explained cultural differences. They were vulnerable, wise, and encouraging. As I near 40, I am trying to intentionally look for the younger women in my life and make sure that I give them my time.
Take my vitamins
In addition to my old lady acne, I have started to wake up sweaty. My hair is going grey, and I constantly feel like I need to do more stretches. As I type this, I look at my hands that I swear look just like my mom’s hands and her mom’s hands. These are all fine by me. As the saying goes, growing old is a privilege denied by many. However, I will take my vitamins, drink my water, do my stretches, and wear my sunscreen.