Monday, September 13, 2021

40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years


Hi Invisible Audience,


This coming Friday is my 40th birthday.


Although in general I don’t get too excited/upset about getting older, 40 seems like a pretty big marker that has been looming at me for quite a while, so I’ve decided to give myself some credit for the things I’ve learned over the last 40 years to remind me, well, that I lived them.


So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years.


1)    The only constant is change. I don’t always like change unless I’m the one who makes it, but regardless of whether I want it to happen, change happens. To everyone. About everything. And that’s ok.

2)    Relationships bend and break and disappear and sometimes come back and sometimes are better gone. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, and whether any relationship lasts (friendships or otherwise) has nothing to do with how good the people are in it.

3)    Going to countries where people live differently is the most profound and immediate way I have to remind myself that there is no right way to live and be happy.

4)    A lot of people have opinions about the best way to live our lives—there’s an entire industry built around it. Just because someone is sure about their way being the best doesn’t mean it’s the best for me, nor that I have to listen to them.

5)    Sometimes, everything someone has to give me isn’t enough. That’s not my fault. It’s probably not theirs, either, but that doesn’t mean I have to keep giving them space in my life.

6)    Being alone doesn’t prevent heartache. Neither does being with someone if they aren’t the right one.

7)    I have not outgrown my love for clear, ice-cold, fresh water to swim in.

8)    I will never like scrubbing pans.

9)    I will never like peas. They are disgusting and mushy.

10) The harder I have tried to hold onto things, the more quickly they have squeezed out of my grasp.

11) I am not responsible for other peoples’ needs or feelings, whether they believe that to be true or not.

12) The way I want to write is in long days over short periods of time, i.e. 8 hours a day for 6 months. The way I actually write is 30 minutes a day over years.

13) Similar to the last one, the way I want to be able to get things done is in one single chunk of time. The way I actually get things done is in 30-minute increments until I’ve finished.

14) If I wait long enough, the clothes I’ve always worn will come back into fashion. (Hello again, boot cut jeans!)

15) The only way through is through. I cannot expect to rid myself of the stuck feelings until I have let myself feel the stuck feelings.

16) I’ve come close to ruining several things I love by trying to make money from them. This includes cooking and writing. I don’t have to do this anymore.

17) I’m still worthy, even if I’m not as productive as I want to be on any given day.

18) I’m still worthy, even if I don’t look like I wish I did.

19) I’m still worthy, even if I haven’t hit some of the markers that I thought I would by 40.

20) I’m still worthy, even if I struggle with my health and it prevents me from doing a long, frustrating list of things I want to do.

21) I’m still worthy, even though a lot of the time I feel like I’m faking it.

22) It took me until my mid-30’s to get a pet of my own. That cat, Stella, died in December. Part of the reason I waited was because I always doubted whether I could take care of another creature besides myself. I still wonder that, but have just decided to take the leap and adopt a kitten I’ve been fostering.

23) Another reason I’ve avoided pet ownership is because of my propensity to wander. I haven’t figured out how to reconcile this with my desire to love and nurture another creature. That’s ok. I’ll figure it out as I go.

24) Social media is evil and has caused some of the biggest rifts I’ve ever seen between people who otherwise have a lot in common. It’s also allowed me to keep in contact with people that I’ve met across the world and across many years. Both can be true at once.

25) Try as I might, I suspect I will always want to have one foot in North Central Washington. The Leavenworth area is more home than I’ve felt anywhere else.

26) Reading books will always be one of my favorite ways to spend hours on end. This may mean reading the same books over again to make sure I’ve got a good one.

27) It’s ok for me to want a comfortable life and to spend my money on things that make me happy.

28) I will never succeed at giving up coffee, and I don’t want to. This doesn’t mean I’m not committed to my health.

29) No matter how sure I am about something, I need to look it up just to make sure there’s an actual fact/study/event behind it and it’s not some bullshit I picked up from somewhere.

30) Just because I don’t think I’m good at something doesn’t mean it’s true.

31) That damn onion and all its layers of work and learning and processing is never ending. I can’t change that just by wishing it wasn’t the case.

32) I struggle with conflict and I’m working on it.

33) I don’t have to be different or “fixed” to deserve love or be worthy.

34) When I try to take on others’ pain, I’m just doubling the pain.

35) It’s a sign of respect to let others make their own life choices and trust their lives to them instead of trying to control it for them.

36) Letting others live their own lives is a lot less tiring than doing it for them.

37) I don’t have to agree with someone to love them.

38) When I get angry, it’s a sign someone has stepped on a boundary. I need to pay attention to that sign post and do something about it.

39) When I’m sad, it doesn’t mean I will always be sad. Still, it’s ok to just be sad for as long as I need to be.

40) The only permission I need is my own.


Love and 40 Kisses,


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