My birthday is soon approaching and it’s one of those whatever birthdays. Not because I’m feeling old, although I am, and not because my life sucks. My life isn’t half bad. It’s just that 44 is one of those years that nobody really cares about. It’s a non-birthday, like 37. Who the hell cares when they turn 37?
18, yeah. You’re an adult. 21, of course. You can get your legal drink on. 25, uh-huh. That’s Adultland right there. 30, oh boy. You’re officially “old”, that is until you’re over 30 and you realize you’re not. 35, yep. You’re almost 40! 40, certainly. I hear 40 is the new 30. Then you’ve got all the tens and fives after that and they all matter, but 44, eh.
I thought my world would crumble and my spine would shrink and my ovaries would dry up when I turned 40. I thought that when I was 20. The closer I got to 40, though, the more I realized that my 40’s were not going to be so bad. I tend to think that I have had nothing really significant to say until after 40.
My 40’s have been the place where I have really dug deep and figured myself out. I’ve determined I still have no idea who I am, but at least now I’m cognizant of that fact and, believe it or not, that’s a great place to be. It’s better to know what you don’t know than to think you know it all when, the truth is, you have no clue. I’d tell you to ask our President, but, sadly, he has no clue.
In all seriousness, I’ve learned a thing or two in life. Due to my severe obstinance, some of them (ok, most of them) have been learned the hard way, but a lesson learned is a lesson learned and far be it for me to withhold these pearls of wisdom from you. Without further ado, here it is, in no particular order, the list to end all lists.
44 Things I’ve Learned In Almost 44 Years
- Shaun of the Dead is the best zombie movie ever made, hands down. That is not an opinion. That is fact and I will fight you over it.
- No matter how much you think it’s a good idea, do not go hiking in cowboy boots. You don’t look cute when you’re rolling down the side of a mountain and screaming for your mama.
- That being said, do it. Whatever it is, do the thing you want to do. It is true, in the end you regret the things you didn’t do.
- Maya Angelou was right, when people show you who they are, believe them.
- If you are ever able to go back in a time machine and pick your birth order, be the youngest. Your parents will grow exponentially exhausted with the birth of each child and you will have it the easiest out of all of your siblings.
- Do not make big decisions under the influence of Sleepytime Tea.
- If you’ve never seen the sun rise over the ocean make plans to do so immediately.
- Never regret telling someone you love them.
- Spend many Sundays in bed with a good book and a great cup of coffee.
- Do things that scare you and know that it will make you a greater person.
- Take a small portion of your day to be silent, pray, meditate, ponder life’s mysteries, express gratitude, or be in awe of a beautiful sight.
- Give someone flowers for no reason at all.
- Bake a cake one day and unapologetically eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Forgive yourself for that thing you did to someone else.
- Forgive someone else for that thing they did to you.
- For the love of all things holy, learn how to parallel park!
- Go on the internet, find your favorite childhood candy, order a crap ton of it and send some to your oldest friends.
- If you find yourself wanting a pet, adopt one from a shelter. It’s worth it even when you get one of the nutty ones.
- Reach out to the person you’ve lost touch with.
- If you spent half as much time not caring what other people thought of you, you’d be eight thousand times happier.
- Try your best not to judge the choices people make. Even when it may not seem like it, most folks really are doing the best they can.
- Get thee to a body of water and dunk thy naked carcass in it, posthaste.
- Learn to savor the small moments.
- Never be afraid to speak your mind.
- Get a second opinion!
- Buy some beautiful stationery and some fabulous pens and spend an afternoon handwriting letters to people you love.
- Sit beside a fire and have a deep conversation.
- At least once in your life, tell someone to fuck off.
- Blue mascara is never a good idea.
- Be barefoot more often.
- It will be ok in the end. I promise.
- Fight for yourself.
- Life is too short for uncomfortable bras or shoes. Sometimes you need to splurge for the good stuff.
- If you haven’t had a kiss take your breath away then you need to get out there and start kissing more people.
- Don’t smoke cigarettes. They’re gross and they will kill you. If you smoke, then quit. We love you and don’t want you to die.
- According to my mother, life is not fair.
- In the immortal words of my father, give ’em hell, doll.
- Go on a long drive, just you and a stack of CDs you’ve saved from your youth.
- Never, ever, ever give yourself a haircut!
- Humility, as hard as it is to face sometimes, is one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive.
- Be just cynical enough.
- It’s ok to fall apart every now and again. I’d even go so far as to say it’s necessary.
- Laugh a lot, especially at yourself.
- Be open to the fact that there is something greater out there than your brain could ever imagine.
*Featured image made at Canva.