40 things I’ve learned in my past 40 years…

This is my list…and a work-in-progress. Most I have achieved, others I’m still focusing on.

Feel free to read at your own risk. These are in no particular order.

40 things I’ve learned in my past 40 years…

1. It’s more important to have well-worn furniture by people you love (and fur babies) rather than own new museum-quality interiors.

2. Carry whatever dang purse and wear whatever shoes you like.

3. Have the courage and ability to face and accept the difficulties from your youth. Accept and embrace your feelings because they will continue to surface until you die.

4. “Age is just a number” and “you’re only as old as you feel,” are simplistic truths.

5. Being a wife, mom, daughter, aunt, sister, best friend are all important, but never lose sight of who you are and what you contribute to society. Always continue to hone and own your identity.

6. Never be ashamed to present your gifts and talents, and own your vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

7. You only need a handful of authentic friends who you can be ridiculous with.

8. You don’t have to do it all and be awesome at everything. You just don’t.

9. The best things in life costs nothing to give and/or receive. Cherish those virtues.

10. Believe that you are worthy of love and acceptance, and it never has to be earned, nor do you owe anything for reciprocation.

11. Be a realist AND a dreamer. (Recently one of my best friends told me only realists ARE dreamers. We can see the reality and imagine something better.)

12. Being a bitch is no more than what you believe it is. I believe you’re called that when others do not appreciate your crassness or can’t vie with your intellect.

13. Be conscious and caring of creatures whether it’s human friends and children, fur babies, or family.

14. Happy is she who accepts she cannot fix what she cannot change.

15. When it comes to how someone treats you, know what’s acceptable uncomfort and what is just down-right abusive.

16. Cherish your solitude.

17. The narrative of bad situations can change along with your perspectives and healing.

18. Know the difference between doing something for money or for love.

19. Everyone should have to be strapped to a chair and made to watch Downton Abbey.

20. Lewis Carroll and Frank L. Baum were saner than the critics and others who never understood their stories.

21. Find time to make up your own words, turn benign words into cuss words (I tend to use “gargoyle” as a cuss word,) draw on the walls, sing really loud and embarrass others in your company. It won’t hurt a gargoyle thing.

22. Establish and maintain boundaries, but don’t let them own you.

23. You should never drop everything for anyone. Or, you should change your name to “Doormat.”

24. Realize that your children become you. So when you’re hell-bent irritated with them, look in the mirror. You’ll see.

25. Have a sense of humor about those who have crossed your path and walked away.

26. Find just one charity that you whole-heartedly love and believe in. Give of your time and/or your money. Yearly.

27. You don’t have to believe in a god, an afterlife, but respect those of us who do. And vice-versa. With that stated, if you believe in anything, believe in grace.

28. Travel would be nice, but I can take myself anywhere in my mind (and on a canvas.)

29. If you can do one positive thing for the next generation, please do so. Teach a class, tell a story, or help someone. Pay attention to the next generations dreams and if you can, embrace them.

30. Pick brains over beauty/brawn any day of the week. Beauty fades. The mind will grow.

31. Always be able to poke fun at yourself.

32. Do something unexpected for a complete stranger. Pay for their meal, tip them twice your bill, or send an anonymous note.

33. (Piggy-backed from the last one)…. Utilize snail mail. Receiving a note, card, letter, is a completely different tone than an email or text message.

34. Skip. Whenever you can. Or jump rope. Feel free to substitute jumping rope for skipping. MANDATORY: Play whiffleball at least twice a year.

35. Listen, and I mean LISTEN intently to your elders. They will be gone before you know it. They are a font of information, and they will know more about a time you will never experience.

36. Know the difference between a passion and a hobby. There’s only one you can’t live without.

37. Respect and hire those who are professionals. There’s a reason you don’t visit your neighbor for dentistry. *(Unless he/she is a dentist.)

38. If you hit an animal, stop. Period. If you possess a heart at all, you stop.

39. Find more time for others. I fear I will look back and miss someone I love very much.

40. Believe in yourself. There may come a time no one else will, so you have to believe in yourself.