The “After 40” List

I’m sure you’ve seen your share of things to do/things I’ve learned by posts floating around the interwebs, so why not one more? Given that hitting 40+ has been a key inspiration to my diving back into the world of blogging, it seems appropriate that I share a list of things I’ve learned, thus far. Given my new intentions for the coming year, I anticipate this list is going to shift somewhat – and I’ll be interested to revisit this next year. Without further ado, here are a handful of things that I’ve embraced during my time on this planet so far, in no particular order.

  1. Early mornings are the best time of day, and yes…the older I get, the earlier I wake up.
  2. Coffee. It’s no longer a necessity (see #1), it’s now an experience.
  3. Perform a random act of kindness with intention at least once per week. It’s easy to forget these sometimes, but I’ve found that picking a day of the week where I know I must seek out such an opportunity helps to keep me on track, and it is so worth it.
  4. It’s okay to say “no”. Really.
  5. Make time for exercise. Make it a routine. Do not obsess over it, but moving your body regularly will serve you well.
  6. Laugh at yourself.
  7. Speak up. Do not be afraid to speak your mind in relationships and at work. (Good timing and tact certainly help.)
  8. Stop worrying what other people think of you. (Far easier said than done.)
  9. Stop worrying so much in general! (Maybe I’ll actually practice this regularly one day.)
  10. Learn to make a really great cocktail, or several, but focus on perfecting at least one, even down to making the perfect ice cubes or lemon twist, and using the right tools.
  11. It’s okay if you don’t know if you aren’t religious. If you are still trying to figure it out, you are not alone. (This still scares me. More to come on that later.)
  12. Being polite and smiling make a huge difference. It didn’t take over 40 years for me to learn this one, it’s just a part of who I am naturally, but I know how unsettling it can be when others don’t follow this practice.
  13. With the above in mind, it’s also worth recognizing that you never really know what’s happening in other people’s lives.
  14. If you haven’t done so by now, you should see a good, live comedy show. Then see another.
  15. Perfection does not equal progress. (I know this to be the truth, but applying this practice in life is still something I’m struggling with working on.)
  16. Keep wearing heels, but a little lower and not as often.
  17. Eight straight hours of sleep is one of the most glorious pleasures in life. (If only I could get there on a regular basis!)
  18. You are worthy.
  19. Skincare! As a fair-skinned woman I cannot say this enough, but seriously, make good friends with SPF, good overall skincare and hats.
  20. Ask for style help. Not everyone needs this, and I don’t think I was doing too badly, but I sure had a lot of t-shirts hanging in my closet (something I still struggle with). See a stylist, step outside of your box and try new things, have fun with your clothes. Wear what makes you feel beautiful.
  21. Listen. Instead of getting lost in your own thoughts when people are talking, pay attention.
  22. Do the things that scare you. I’m not talking jumping out of an airplane here, unless that suits you, but pushing yourself to take on what might initially seem scary can be awfully empowering.
  23. Food. First and most obvious, what you eat is so important to how you feel and to your overall health. I’ve learned so much about food and how it affects my energy, mood, sleep, and body. However, food is also one of my greatest pleasures, and I’ll never deprive myself of some incredible sensory experiences (cheesecake). Moderation is the key here.
  24. Believe that you do actually know what you’re doing – because odds are, it’s true.
  25. Do not buy the slightly too-small jeans with the thought that you will lose a couple of pounds soon anyway. Terrible idea.
  26. Tell the self-sabotaging voice in your head to shut up. Give that voice a name, preferably a bad one, and leave a note next to your desk (or bed, or on the refrigerator) that says “(Insert name here) Knows Nothing”. Given the level of inappropriateness, the note on my desk just shows the initials.
  27. Pay attention to people’s names. This goes back to listening, but really try to pay attention when someone introduces themselves. I am terrible at this and struggle to improve every day.
  28. Bourbon and scotch. I’m not opposed to clear liquor at all, but long gone are the days of the fruity cocktails. It’s not for everyone, I know, but if you haven’t at least given bourbon a solid try, I recommend it as a good starting point. It’s a brilliant adult beverage.
  29. Serious friendships are harder to come by as you get older. Not that they don’t exist, but building new friendships is certainly less likely. I’ve learned to embrace the close friends that I have and to stay open to new ones, but having many friends is not as important as having a small group of solid friendships. The kind of friends that you can go months without talking to, but pick up right where you left off when you finally do, and without any hesitation.
  30. Make memorable moments and never stop dreaming. Time really does fly by when you are doing the same thing day in and day out. We all have to work, we all have routines, but I’ve found that the only way to make time really feel like it is slowing down is to mix in experiences outside of the ordinary – sprinkle in more of memorable moments and you will have more to look back on than just the blur of the every day grind. I live for these moments.

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