Sunday, May 1, 2016

40 Things I Learned By 40



Four years ago, I wrote a blog post on my birthday called "Today is My Birthday...And I'm Turning Beautiful." And for the last three years, I returned to that post, reread it, shared it and reflected on my life and the twists and turns it's taken.

But this year, as I celebrate my birthday -- the big 4-0 -- I thought I'd take one step beyond mere silent reflection and jot down the lessons I've learned from the last decade of those twists and turns, lessons I plan to keep in my back pocket as I embark on my fabulous 40's.

So what did my 30's teach me? Here are 40 things I learned by 40:

1. Enjoy your own company.

2. Friendships require effort on both sides. 

3. You’re never too old to dye your hair pink. 

4. Don’t skip dentist appointments.

5. "Fake it till you feel it" isn’t good enough. It’s no way to live your life.

6. Use night cream. Every night.

7. Life isn’t a competition. 

8. Trust your gut.

9. When someone offers help, take it.

10. Be a person who makes things happen.

11. Read voraciously.

12. Pursue passions, no matter how small or silly they may seem.

13. Laugh. A lot.

14. Always accept your children’s hugs when they offer. One day they won’t offer.

15. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.

16. Stop repeating bad patterns.

17. Dancing it out really works.

18. Don’t let your people-pleasing tendencies dictate your decisions.

19. The grass is always greener on social media. Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes reality to other people’s highlight reels.

20. Don’t talk for the sake of talking. Have something to say.

21. Wear the red lipstick.

22. You won’t always get the apology you feel you deserve. Don’t waste time chasing it.

23. If something is important to you, you can find the time for it.

24. Done is better than perfect.

25. Listen to your body.

26. Be careful what you say, but not so careful that your life is censored. 

27. Sometimes knowledge is power. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Know the difference and plan accordingly. 

28. Everything happens for a reason, but there’s a good chance you may not ever find out those reasons.

29. Pets can help you get through the toughest of times.

30. You never know until you try.

31. Take the time to snap photos, but not so much time that you’re not living in the moment.

32. Learn forgiveness.

33. Your children see and hear everything. Be a good role model.

34. If people want you in their lives, they’ll find a way to keep you there.

35. There are two sides to every story.

36. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself.

37. Be thankful for unanswered prayers.

38. Travel to another country at least once when you’re old enough to appreciate it.

39. Learn how to cut unnecessary expenses to save money for big adventures (like traveling to another country).

40. It’s never too late.



Thursday, April 7, 2016

To Whom It May Concern





Dear Writer’s Freeze,

You are Writer’s Block’s less famous cousin, the one who lurks in the corner of the party because, despite the fact that you are bursting with things to say, you’re overwhelmed and paralyzed by all those words. 

Unlike Block, you don’t need ideas or inspiration or motivation. You have plenty of that. What you need, dear Freeze, is your confidence. All those ideas are frozen in a state of “I’ll write that later” or “I don’t know where to pitch that” or “I'm rambling and I'm not sure I have a point in all this mumbo jumbo.”

Right now you’re lurking in the corner of my brain, clutching onto all those words even though your arms are so full of them that they’re about to drop all over the place. Honey, I need those words. So go ahead and drop them. Let yourself melt and drop those suckers right onto my computer screen. Don’t worry where they fall. I’ll be sure to put them in the right order. Thanks for collecting them and keeping them safe.

Best,

A Writer Who Misses Writing



Dear Body,

For most of my life, I’ve asked more of you than most people ask of their bodies. I’ve asked you to swim to national rankings and college scholarships. I’ve asked you to run to state championships and half marathon finish lines. I’ve asked you to create, grow and deliver two human beings. I’ve asked you to respond to treatment, heal from injuries, recover from surgery, strengthen from physical therapy and dodge proverbial bullets. I probably don’t thank you enough or show my appreciation by pampering you with frequent massages or eating less chocolate, but as I stare down yet another health issue, I hope you know I don’t take you for granted.

So I ask you for help now, Body, as I get ready to have an MRI on my hip tomorrow to figure out why, after being able to consistently run 20 plus miles a week, I can now barely walk. I scratched the half marathon I was training for. I got a cortisone shot that offered little relief. I rested, iced, Ibuprofen’ed and hobbled on crutches just like the doctors told me to. It’s time for answers and a plan. Can you give us a hint on that MRI? Show us what the doctors and X-rays are missing? Sometimes it’s the not knowing part that’s the most frustrating.

Love you,

A Runner Who Misses Running



Dear 40th Birthday,

Now that April has rolled around, I can say that I will be meeting you next month. And I have very mixed emotions about our introduction.

I have 43 days left in my 30’s. If I was looking to shake things up in my life, I certainly used this decade to accomplish that. A baby. The loss of a dog. An overseas move. A blog. A new dog. A career path. Another career path. A divorce. A boyfriend. And more twists and turns than I can count. In a way I’m ready to leave this decade behind, claim that I tried my best and jump headfirst into this new decade that I keep hearing all these great things about.

I’ve been watching the last several months on social media as friends I went to high school with hit their big 4-0. With a May birthday, I was always one of the last of my peers to age up. Now I’m thankful for that lag because I can watch how these friends handle the transition. I love the photos from their 40-themed parties and the status updates reflecting on their past and their excitement for the future. Seeing that and talking to my friends who have already passed into the next decade makes me think this might finally be the age where we are beyond the overriding angst and self-consciousness of that part of our lives when we’re still trying desperately to figure out who we are. Maybe by 40, we have it all figured out.

Oh who am I kidding…will we ever have it all figured out? I’ll probably be writing the same exact thing when I’m 43 days out from my 80th birthday. But even if my 40th birthday doesn’t bring total enlightenment, at the very least I have a super cool celebration in the works to greet this new decade. 

Cheers,

A Believer That You're Only As Old As You Feel





Dear Spring,

Thank you for making a brief appearance last week so we could enjoy our Spring Break in Washington, DC. The weather was perfect as we hung out at monuments, the zoo, and my favorite, the Tidal Basin, where the cherry blossoms were waiting for us. We may have missed them peaking a few days earlier, but that also means we missed the massive crowds. Cherry blossoms hold a special place in my heart after living in Japan for 3 years, and despite the kids' whines about having to “look at some dumb trees,” I’d like to think they too appreciated our lucky timing.

Although I had to pull my winter jacket out of my closet again this week, I’m looking forward to your final push to overtake winter. 

See you soon,

Not a Fan of Winter




Dear Riding the Roller Coaster,

I neglect you, I know. You are the reason for my writing career, yet I’ve done little recently to keep you in the loop and show you some love. But I still need you, old friend, and I’d like to hang out with you more. I admit that I now save what little personal writing I do to pursue freelancing opportunities, but maybe you and I can chat over coffee every now and then. Maybe what Writer’s Freeze (see above) needs to thaw out a little is some random free association that isn’t going to be chopped by editors. Maybe I need to go back to my roots and remind myself how this all started, back when the words flowed with ease and a daily blog post was a reality, not a laughable daydream. 

I miss you, RC.

Love,

Me


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Roller Coaster Meets ESME


I'm super excited to share my first post over at ESME, a community for Solo Moms to share resources, stories and laughs. I thought I'd share the story about how my best friend took over my online dating profile to find me a boyfriend. Click below to read all about it!


My BFF Hijacked My Match.com Profile!


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