40 Lessons I Learned During My 40s

In a few days I will be joining the half-century club. Most of my friends beat me to it, including my husband. My sister was inducted two years ago. My father's been a card carrying member for over 20 years. Yes, I'm turning the big 5 - 0 and I'm excited. My girlfriends already threw me a surprise party but before I officially turn the corner, here's a few things I learned during my decade of being 40.

  1. I learned that divorce is not the end of the world. It may feel like it but it isn't.
  2. I learned how how to live a vibrant and purposed life. Breast cancer forced me off auto-pilot and out of a state of toxic overwhelm.
  3. At 40, I started doing yoga. I learned that yoga isn't a doing thing but more of a practicing thing. I'm still practicing.
  4. At 43, I took a month of free Muay Thai Kickboxing classes. I quickly became addicted. I recently learned that "Muay" in Thai is derived from the Sanskrit word "Mavya" which means 'to bind together.' Yoga pretty much means the same thing. I think I finally figured out why I'm still practicing both of these venerable arts.
  5. After thinking I would never fall in love again, I did. My husband and I have been happily married for seven years.
  6. I don't think I'd be as happy as I am if I hadn't shed the emotional baggage from my first marriage.
  7. Forgiveness really is for the person doing the forgiving. It has absolutely nothing to do with the person being forgiven. For those of you still holding a grudge -- let it go. You'll add years of happiness to your life.
  8. Weight bearing exercise is good for your bones. I reversed bone loss due to chemotherapy and five years of taking tamoxifen by practicing yoga, martial arts, and walking.
  9. I never dreamed of how awesome being a grand parent would be until I became one.
  10. I learned that my girlfriends are priceless.
  11. I learned that achievement is not just for the 20 or 30 somethings. In my 40s I acheived both my first and second degree black belt in Muay Thai and I became a certified yoga teacher.
  12. I learned that I was capable of doing much more than I physically thought possible. I beat breast cancer at 40 and at 47 I discovered that I could run faster and farther than I could when I was 24.
  13. I learned that I have two ears and one mouth. I listen more and talk less.
  14. I learned that I don't know it all and I'm fine with that.
  15. I learned that 'No' is a complete sentence and the earth still maintains her orbit when I say it.  
  16. I learned that expectations are a fast track to resentments.
  17. I learned that unless I communicate my needs and wants, no one is going to magically do the do for me.
  18. I learned that if I know I cannot read someone else's mind, no one can read mine, either.
  19. I learned that a problem isn't a problem if I can write a check - it's an expense. This was a game changer for me.
  20. I learned to no longer attach my emotions to money.
  21. I learned that happiness is truly an inside job and that no amount of outside things will fill an inner void.
  22. I learned to stop comparing myself to other people. Comparision is truly the theif of joy.
  23. I learned that perfectionism is the greatest con on earth.
  24. Once I broke up with perfection, I found the courage to be me.
  25. I learned that fear is a one line arguement.
  26. I learned to speak up for myself.
  27. I learned that I teach others how to treat me by how I treat myself.
  28. I learned to become my own best advocate.
  29. I learned to value myself.
  30. I learned to trust myself.
  31. I learned to be kind to myself.
  32. I learned to love who I am.
  33. I learned acceptance of the wholesome what is so.
  34. I learned that if I didn't make myself a priority, no one else would, either.
  35. I learned to listen to my Inner Knower.
  36. I learned what it was like to be dumped for another woman.
  37. I learned what is was like to be bald, pumped full of life saving poison, and left breastless.
  38. I learned to be raw, striped down and bare - no excuses, no complaints, and no blaming others for my circumstances.
  39. I learned that I am not my story.
  40. I learned to be me.

I can't wait to turn 50. Bring. It. On!

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

What Would You Say To Your 20-Year-Old Self?