45 lessons in 45 years

Yesterday, I turned 45. Rather than being depressed over my age, I’m elated. Here are 45 reasons why.

1. I’m alive and appreciate it more than ever. Who appreciates merely being alive at, like, 18?

2. My gray hairs can still pass as bleached blond. Very bleached blond.

3. Most of my hangups from high school are so over. There really is no “popular” group.

4. Farsightedness works in our favor. (“Wrinkles? What wrinkles?”)

5. Sometimes nearsightedness does too. (“Oh! I didn’t recognize you without my glasses on.”)

6. Some memory loss isn’t so bad. (“What?! I don’t remember discussing any spending budget!”)

7. Practice being lighthearted and sure-footed.

8. Messes are not forever…and neither are the times our children will make them. Nor are the times when they want to share our bed, let us ruffle their hair (“Mom! I worked on that pomp for like an hour!”), or tell them bedtime stories.

9. Watch them while they are sleeping. Nothing puts me into present moment consciousness like it. Nothing.

10. Number 9 is only creepy if your kids catch you doing it.

11. It’s never, ever, ever too late to start something new. It’s simply more fun the older you get.

12. It’s possible to embark on a new career any day of your life.

13. Learning never ends and never ceases to amaze me. The answers can be found in stillness.

14. I can learn from anyone including my children. Especially my children.

15. Driving at 16 is way too young. What was I thinking?! (Now, to convince my son…)

16. Whatever I thought when I was 20 was stupid. That’s when Fat Free Entenmann’s cakes and perms were a good idea.

17. When in doubt, choose compassion.

18. It’s never a waste of time to love someone. Even when they are no longer around.

19. Even though his anger scared me, I still miss my father, 35 years after he left this world. Anger to a child may be frightening and misplaced, but if we were all good to each other all the time, the earth school would not be as effective.

20. I never regret the times I chose kindness. But I still feel sorry about the times I didn’t.

21. There are no coincidences.

22. I honor and respect my parents now more than ever.

23. Yes, it’s possible to change. Don’t buy into anything or anyone that says otherwise.

24. Middle age gets a bad rap, but there are plenty of Middles that prove the theory wrong: Middlemarch (thank you, George Eliot), Middleton (heiress to the throne), and Malcolm in the Middle, to name a few.

25. A midlife crisis is NOT about buying a sports car and driving around in it with the top down. It IS about having your world shake up and experiencing cataclysmic shifts that rock you to the core. I need a T-shirt that says: “I survived a midlife crisis and all I have to show for it is this lousy t-shirt.”

26. Most times feeling the pain is easier than avoiding it. Avoiding pain makes it last longer.

27. The painful times were great teachers and accelerated lessons.

28. Accepting the pain with the pleasure is hard but one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

29. I’m still asking for the birds-eye wisdom to see the world in its divine perfection. Perhaps then we wouldn’t need to change a thing.

30. Words to live by: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?” ~ Hillel

31. Balance is a work in progress. Anything worthwhile is a process.

32. If we got it all at once, life would be pretty boring.

33. Note to self: the stuff I worried about when I was younger, either didn’t come true—or don’t matter any more. Stop worrying.

34. Few things beat a good belly laugh.

35. When all else fails, give hugs.

36. If hugs don’t work, chocolate always does.

37. It turns out that fitting into your high school jeans 20 years later only means you don’t have to buy new ones. And what’s the fun in that? #overrated

38. Exercise for the sake of being skinny is so yesterday. Exercise to feel good and stay healthy.

39. Calories don’t count, so stop counting. It turns out that refined sugar, artificial anything, GMO-wheat/gluten, processed foods, and hydrogenated fats are the real culprits for weight gain and poor health.

40. Stop seeing cookies and cake as treats or as diet fails. Call them “sometimes foods.”

41. A family disagreement counts as a workout too.

42. Spouses deserve lots of second chances (yes, I stopped counting after two and, mercifully, so did he.)

43. I’m living into my essence now more than ever. The way it looks changes all the time—and that’s o.k. It’s about the climb. Even Miley Cyrus knows that.

44. Sometimes going to sleep is more important than coming up with another life lesson.

45. The ride has not always been easy. Sometimes, I wanted to push the eject button. Looking back, I survived it all. And I’m a better person for it.

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