I’ll be 42 in July.
I don’t feel old. I don’t feel young. I see the forehead lines and sunspots in the mirror and I feel the stiff joints some mornings. I think I’m a ‘fun, with-it’ mum to my two teenagers, but I don’t understand selfies, Snapchat or coding. I practice mindfulness but still fret over yesterday and tomorrow. I try to exercise daily but still have ‘couchflix’ (Netflix + the couch) days. I’m a perfectionist who knows that perfection does not exist. I have endless compassion for others, but am too hard on myself. I become tragically excited by a well organised pantry or wardrobe. I am a people-pleaser trying hard not to be a people-pleaser but worried that people won’t be pleased with me if I’m not people pleasing.
I’m a terrible cook but I love to eat. I struggle with anxiety and depression despite eating well, walking, therapy, sunshine, lots of love in my life and medication. I constantly battle being both an introvert extrovert and I am far too sensitive, soft and ‘feely’… Yep, I still have much to learn and much to work on – but there are some lessons that I have learned in my almost 42 years (some are still a work in progress!) and here they are:
1. Clutter, excess and mess take away our peace, our time and our ability to be fully present.
2. It really is all about what’s on the inside. Many of us spend our teens, twenties and thirties agonising over our appearance, thigh gap, photo fabulousness… but you hit forty and gravity slides, lines appear, greys pop and you realise it just doesn’t matter all that much. We may still colour the hair, slap on the anti-wrinkle creams and lament the double-chin in photos, but we realise that what truly matters is love, family, friends, purpose, giving back and living authentically.
3. It’s okay to say no and there is no explanation or justification needed – ever.
4. What others think of us is none of our business.
5. We are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with (as motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said).
6. Dogs make the world a better place and make the bad days better. Four-legged little furballs of happiness, bliss and unconditional love.
7. We don’t need lots of friends, just a few really good ones. The ones you can call with anything from: I hate my job; I want to stab my hubby with a fork; have you seen Reese Witherspoon’s new haircut; power-walk tomorrow; can I sleep on your couch tonight; wanna swap kids for a week; let’s do a detox together but first eat four pizzas together; I’ve made a huge mistake; I’m so glad you’re my friend; help, my parents/in-laws are coming to stay; who died and who slept with who on Game of Thrones last night; I think I overplucked; can I borrow that dress; thanks for the cuppa therapy; are my boobs lopsided; I had that dream again about me, Ellen & Gywneth; let’s just run away; OMG did you hear what Trump did this time; can you believe how expensive avocados are at the moment; to; how do I bring the kid’s fish back to life!?!