My family has always had a positive attitude towards birthdays. Another year around the sun warrants festivity because it definitely beats the alternative. But something is slightly different for my parents and I this year…their baby girl (ME) is turning 40.
And the three of us have asked the same question, How did we get here so fast?
In recognition of the milestone, I asked the folks what advice they had for my next chapters. Here are their thoughts.
- Don’t avoid aging. Embrace it. At 40 you’re truly an adult. And there’s a beautiful confidence with owning the person you’ve become. Plus you no longer have desires to get bogged down in trivial disputes. As one famous quote goes, “A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.”
- Make health a priority. Even when it feels your needs should fall behind everyone else’s. Mom stressed she and Dad can continue enjoying life in their 70s because they started taking care of themselves at younger ages. “Once you give up and stop moving, it really is game over,” she said.
- Ensure the friendships surrounding you are nourishing. Because time is your most valuable asset. And life can be tough. You’ll need family and friends who will always be in your corner (and you in theirs). A quote often attributed to Plato goes, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”
- Pursue every dream and opportunity possible. The folks reminded me of my lifetime desire to visit Japan. And then said I’d better hop to it with the planning and saving. Also, when given a unique opportunity, take it. It may never come again.
- Always challenge and stretch yourself mentally. While you may be wiser at 40 than 20, there’s still a whole lot about the world you do not know. Continue seeking out friendships with people of all ages and backgrounds. Different perspectives make our world wonderfully richer.
And finally, cherish every single moment with my girls. Yes, it’s advice we mothers hear all the time. But as mine said, “One day you’ll look up and they’ll be the ones turning 40.”