Happy Birthday: 40 Life Lessons in 40 Years

happy birthday, cat, balloon

Photo by kirillslov on Pixabay

You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.

George Burns

It’s my birthday, Human Beans! I’m turning 40 and, in that time, I’ve learned a few life lessons. The fact is, I’ve been through a lot. My life has not been an easy one, as I’m sure many of us could say. I’ve failed, fallen, and been kicked down. But there is a silver lining, my friends.

Lessons.

In all the dark times. In all the failures. In every betrayal. In every heartbreak. There are lessons to be learned. There is strengeth to be gleaned every time you fall. Sometimes it’s more painful to learn the lesson, but if you’re willing, it’s always there.

40 Life Lessons

date of birth, cake, candles
life lessons

I don’t consider myself an authority on anything besides maybe crying and taking naps, but I like to think I’ve gained some wisdom in my 40 years. I’ve learned so many life lessons and so many of them I learned the hard way.

I’d like to share a few of those life lessons with you, if you don’t mind. Take them or leave them. These are all things that I have found to be true.

  1. Other people won’t always have the same heart as you. It’s easy to believe that as long as you love people well, they will love you the same way. Just remember, not everyone has good intentions. Protect your heart.
  2. Life is unfair. It sucks, but it’s the truth.
  3. It’s okay to not be okay. Ask for help if you need it, but know that whatever you’re feeling is valid.
  4. The whole time, your parents were merely human. Just like you. They had worries and insecurities. They were not infallable, just flesh and bone.
  5. Sometimes you do things you aren’t proud of. Our of survival or just plain bad judgement. The key is to course correct and forgive yourself.
  6. Happiness is fleeting. It’s not a place where you unpack and set up shop. It’s not a state of being. It’s an emotion and, like all emotion, it comes and it goes.
  7. It’s okay to just be content. In fact, content might be the preferrable state.
  8. Almost all jobs suck. Even your dream job will suck sometimes. No one wants to give their time to someone else, even in exchange for money.
  9. You’re stronger than you think. You’ll surprise yourself every now and then with what you have endured. You’re a force. Don’t forget it.
  10. Travel whenever and wherever you can. Seriously. Never pass up a chance to see new place, experience new things, and meet new people.
  11. There are no rules. Literally. Even the rules that we have are made up. Live your life how you see fit because there is no guide book. We’re all just winging it.
  12. Purple hair is for all ages. Enough said.
  13. Sometimes, love is not even enough. In fact, it’s amost never enough. It’s not even the 5th or 6th most important thing.
  14. Everyone has secrets.
  15. Being kind and honest are important. Not enough people are either of those things. We need as many kind, honest people as we can get.
  16. Your gut is right a lot of the time. Don’t base your most important life decisions off of it, but try to listen to it, investigate, and be smart. If something feels off, it usually is.
  17. Boundaries are so important, but really hard. Set and enforce them anyway. Your discomfort in enforcing them will be worth it in the end.
  18. It’s okay to say no and you don’t even have to give a reason. “No,” is a complete sentence. No explanation necessary.
  19. Being anyone other than yourself will break you. Throughout your life, you will meet people who will try to make you fit into a tiny, ill-fitting box. Don’t do it. You will only hurt yourself trying to contort into something you aren’t.
  20. Getting to know yourself is the most rewarding thing you can do. I bet you’ll find out that you’re actually pretty cool to hang out with.
  21. Following your dream is hard work. Rarely do dreams just happen. They are often thankless in the beginning. But you have to push through, put in the work, and develop a tough skin.
  22. Don’t take things too personally. Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. It’s on them, though, not you.
  23. Therapy is hard work. If it doesn’t feel like hard work, you aren’t doing it right.
  24. You can find friends in the unlikeliest of places. Be open to making new aquaintances anywhere and everywhere you go. You never know when there’s a soulmate in the crowd.
  25. Respect is more important than love. Seriously. You can’t have real love without deep respect.
  26. Knowledge really is power. Arm yourself.
  27. Everyone leaves eventually. Even the people you thought would be there forever will eventually wander off or pass away. No one gets to stay, unfortunately.
  28. The most natural parts of life sometimes feel like the most unnatural. See pregnancy and death as examples.
  29. You never really feel as old as you are. Seeing as my 20s were just five minutes ago, there’s no possible way that today is my 40th birthday.
  30. Getting older is weird. Again, I say, “Wasn’t I just 25 yesterday?!”
  31. Animals are a blessing on this planet. Seriously. There is almost nothing as pure and innocent as an animal. Even the mean ones. I wish I could give them all a hug.
  32. Love your grandparents while you can. They won’t always be there, even if it feels like they will. Spend as much time with them as you can and make sure they know how much you love and appreciate them.
  33. Not everyone that you love is meant to stay. Sometimes they are the lesson learned. Which reminds me…
  34. Karmic relationships are real. They were only meant to last for a season and they are supposed to be painful. The lesson in these relationships is deep and life-changing.
  35. Some people are just not good people. If you’re like me, you try to see the good in everyone. Sometimes, though, it’s just not there.
  36. You sometimes find love when you least expect it. Never close yourself off from it.
  37. Eat the cake. Take the nap. Binge watch the TV show. Life is too short to not be enjoyed.
  38. Don’t destroy yourself for a job that would replace you in a heartbeat if you dropped dead.
  39. Things will work eventually. My mom once told me, “Honey, in a month, 6 months, a year…you’re not even going to remember what you were stressing out about. It all works itself out eventually.”
  40. Life is too damn short to be taken so damn seriously. Dudes. Let yourself laugh. Be silly. Let yourself enjoy things. Be true to yourself.
happy birthday, watercolour, watercolor

I’m still learning and growing, to be sure, but I feel stronger and wiser than I have in a long time. I’ve been through a lot over the last decade, but I’ve been able to pull the life lessons out of the pain and learn from them. My 30s were a decade marred by trauma and rampant mental illness, but I’ve managed to pull up, here at the end.

I believe my 40s will be my best decade yet. I’m growing into the woman that I always dreamed of being. I’m moving toward the life that I want to live. I’m chasing my dreams and not giving up. And I’m doing it all with love and kindness for myself.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to me! Find me on Twitter and give me a big shout out!

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Love and light. Keep fighting the good fight! 

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