My husband and I took an overseas trip recently to celebrate our thirty-first anniversary. I was sitting out on the balcony of our cruise ship one evening, contemplating life, as traveling abroad has a tendency to make one do. I consider myself to be a positive person. And yet I found myself discouraged at the thought of more than forty-nine candles on my birthday cake this year.
In a few short months, I’ll be fifty years old. The big 5-0. The half-century mark. The bane of nearly every woman on the planet.
Why do so many of us dread this particular milestone? Is it the thought of missed chances or lost opportunities? The consequences of reckless behavior or poor choices in our youth? Is it the realization that, according to statistics, our expected life spans are more than halfway over and we’re headed downhill at breakneck speed with no guardrails in sight? Or maybe I’m just ticked off because I ordered that turkey wrap at lunch instead of a juicy cheeseburger to keep my cholesterol levels in check.
Determined to make that glass appear half-full, I decided to turn the equation around. What about the upside of becoming older and, hopefully, a bit wiser? I thought back to the younger version of me and what I would say to her if I could go back in time.
I pulled out pen and paper and jotted down a few lines. The words kept coming, and soon I had a plethora of advice to that twenty-something woman who thought she had all the answers back then. Maybe you can relate to some of these.
Don’t try to please everyone. It’s exhausting. And there are some people you simply cannot make happy.
Money and jobs will come and go. Your self-worth is not determined by a paycheck.
Cherish good friends. Especially those who don’t care if you have dust bunnies under your bed or if you’re still in your bathrobe at 10:00 in the morning.
Age and dress size are just numbers.
Don’t waste your time on negative people. Surround yourself with those who will uplift you and make you a better person.
Change can be a good thing. Learn to embrace it.
Follow your instincts and your gut, even when others try to tell you differently.
Don’t try to be SuperMom or SuperWoman. Your child’s first-grade class will not remember the gourmet cupcakes you stayed up until midnight to bake.
Quit worrying what other people think. It’s your life, not theirs.
An occasional dinner of Hamburger Helper or a stop at the drive-thru at McDonald’s after work will not kill your family.
Nurture your marriage. When the kids are gone, it’ll be just the two of you again at the breakfast table.
Set aside time on a regular basis to do absolutely nothing. It’s good for the soul.
Let go and let God. Take Carrie Underwood’s advice. It really works.
And finally... Laugh more! It improves your face value!
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