So welcome to Day 3 of my series sharing 40 thoughts as I turn 40.
But first, how about our daily inspiration from Ms. Caitlin Moran?
Me at any age pretty much shouts hurrah to this one:
So, with that inspiration, let’s get to:
20. Figure Out How To Be Independent
Destiny’s Child was big when I was in university. This song, as well as others like No Doubt’s Just a Girl played then – and still do now in my head – like anthems for what I should want in life:
The shoes on my feet
I’ve bought it.
The clothes I’m wearing
I’ve bought it.
The rock I’m rocking
I bought it.
Cause I depend on me
(If I want it).
The watch I’m wearing
I bought it.
The house I live in
I’ve bought it.
The car I’m driving
I’ve bought it.
I depend on me
(I depend on me).
All the women, who are independent
Throw your hands up at me.
Hurrah! Although, as mentioned yesterday, a couple of decades of experience and a couple of kids has taught me to also value help. But I still maintain there is no one more invested in your security than you. So make sure you got you covered.
19. Choose Your Partner Wisely
Remember mom’s advise from Day 1 about dating a lot of people to figure out what you can live with in marriage? That’s the homework that informs this one. Romance, attraction? SUPER important. But I once read that marriage and kids, when you get right down to it, is sort of like running a small non-profit. There’s a lot of grunt work in there. So agreeing on basics like: we both want kids; we both want to work; we both like Ottawa, etc… help. So does the fact he likes to cook and I’m good with the organizing stuff. And we’re all good splitting daycare runs. We’re also both Catholic which makes family stuff easier. Once you get married you are now a team. Picking someone who basically wants the same stuff as you in life helps.
18. Plan Ahead – But Know You Will Never Have Enough Batteries
I always meant to write one of those “Things I Wish I’d Known Before Having Kids” posts, but the only thing I ever knew I wanted to put in there was that you really will NEVER have enough batteries. SOOO many things with batteries. You can stock up, but still, you’ll suddenly need that Triple A when all you have are Doubles. Point? Plan ahead in life and prepare for what you want – but also know you are gonna be hit with stuff you don’t expect. Try to be ready to roll with it.
17. Watch and Listen before Acting
I lifeguarded through much of high school and university. By the end I couldn’t wait to find a “real job”, but looking back, it taught me a lot.
I became REALLY good at watching people. There for safety, but I find I still enjoy people watching. And you can learn a lot by just observing.
Same goes for listening. Generally, I try to get my bearings in a new situation before barging right in. I try to figure out a room and the players, before engaging. And then I try to listen when others talk instead of using the time to plan what I was going to say.
16. Be a Good Friend
Not much to say here. Invest in your friendships. Listen to and support your friends. Build each other up. We are all stronger together.
15. But Get Rid of the Toxic People in Your Life
These are the “friends” who take more than they give. Who always talk about themselves. Who rarely ask about you. Or when they do, diminish what you have done, felt or said. They always need something from you but can never, for whatever reason, be there when you need them. Usually because they are too wrapped up in themselves.
14. That Said, Realize Everybody is Dealing with Stuff
When your life is going badly – and everyone’s does at some stage – it’s easy to forget others struggle too. While it’s hard, when you feel your pity party gaining traction, try to take a step back and find perspective.
I’ve always loved this scene from the episode Earshot in Season 3 of Buffy. In the episode, she gets the power to hear people’s thoughts and is slowly overwhelmed by it. Here, Jonathan – who is struggling – comments that she cannot possibly understand his pain because, just by looking at her, he knows her life must be perfect.
13. Realize Everyone Needs Help Sometimes
Sometimes it’s you and your job is to go find help for yourself. Sometimes your job is provide it for others. Sometimes your job is to realize you aren’t qualified to provide it to others and direct them to someone who is.
12. Music Has Healing Powers
I took a course in my early 20s to become an Aquafitness instructor. I never ended up teaching it, but the course instructor said something that – while totally obvious – I’d never thought of in that way before. We are WIRED to like music. It makes us happy, comforts us, speaks to us, feeds our soul. One of my favourite quotes about the power of music comes from the 2000 movie Coyote Ugly:
I remember the first time my mother played me “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. I remember exactly what she was wearing. I remember exactly how her hair smelled. I remember exactly how I felt.
And every time I hear that song, I remember exactly what she was wearing and exactly how her hair smelled and exactly how I felt … because the great songs last forever.
11. Build Your Tribe Thoughtfully
In blogland, they talk a lot about “Building your Tribe.” They mean finding your fellow bloggers who will support you – as you support them – in this endeavour.
The same applies offline. I generally think you are never going to find everything you need in one person. So, in addition to my husband, I have good friends I call on for different things. Good conversation, good listeners, good advice. About different parts of my life. My friends who like ballet, my friends who like beer, my friends who like swimming, my friends who have kids who like my kids, my friends who are involved in alumni activities … you get the picture.
Here endeth Day 3. Tune in tomorrow for my last 10 reflections at turning 40.