I turn forty this week. As I have been reflecting on those 40 years, I realize I have learned quite a number of key lessons. Each of these lessons is based off a key memory, event or accomplishment.
Year 1: I can stand on my own two feet.
Year 2: Some days you will run away from the need to get dressed and face the day.
Year 3: You never know how your life may change when someone new comes into your life.
Year 4: Sharing is a gift when it means you have a friend.
Year 5: Books are the best award.
Year 6: Sometimes the kindest looking person is the creepiest and the creepiest looking person is the kindest. Never judge by looks alone.
Year 7: When a door is locked, find an open window and crawl through.
Year 8: Change can be stressful and still good.
Year 9: You don’t always realize what you were missing until it comes into your life.
Year 10: Some people you meet will expand your world-view and understanding exponentially, if you are willing to listen.
Year 11: Some days, the only way to express yourself is through movement.
Year 12: Sometimes you need to accept that the only way to get where you are going is to get in the clown car.
Year 13: Life takes Grace.
Year 14: A fierce look, a stand, a turn, and a walk away are valid ways to deal with a slap in the face. In fact, it might be the only way.
Year 15: Sometimes, regardless what physics may tell us, taking the stairs is more efficient than taking the elevator. And more rewarding.
Year 16: The true meaning of a gift does not always make itself apparent. Sometimes you miss it the first time, but you cherish it always, especially if it made you realize you weren’t alone after all.
Year 17: When opportunity shows up in a tux looking Fine, sit up and pay attention.
Year 18: Failure can lead you to where you should be.
Year 19: The quality of the furniture does not make itself a home.
Year 20: One foot in front of the other leads you to your future.
Year 21: Sometimes sitting in silence together for hours on end is the only way to get through it.
Year 22: The good teacher is ever the student.
Year 23: Let science make your argument for you.
Year 24: You will find your passion if you are open to opportunities.
Year 25: Sometimes you need someone to carry you.
Year 26: Moving on is sometimes your best option.
Year 27: There is only one type of love that should bring you physical pain, and you will embrace it.
Year 28: When life delivers earth-shattering news, the floor, the ground, the dirt, and gravity itself, will support you. From there, ever so slowly, you will rebuild, even if the air never feels quite the same.
Year 29: Living simply makes moves easier.
Year 30: Sometimes, everything in your life is screaming at you to stop, take stock, remember what is important, and care for yourself. Listen.
Year 31: Your capacity to love is endless.
Year 32: People make a house a home.
Year 33: Don’t let circumstances and disappointments destroy you. Turn within and to those that are steadfast in your life and know.
Year 34: Friends. They become family.
Year 35: You are capable.
Year 36: Know where your line is. Don’t let people treat you less than. You know your worth. Stand for it.
Year 37: When you set a goal, see it through.
Year 38: Sometimes life lessons will be devastating. Sometimes you pick the wrong battle to fight, the wrong thing to back. This can come close to destroying you. Don’t let it. You will come through the other side. I promise.
Year 39: You are not ready. You never may be ready. That does not matter. Do it anyway. You will surprise yourself. You have passion in spades and people will recognize that and join you.
Year 40: The family you have made for yourself? They make you see you are living your best life ever.