I’ve never been the kind to be too concerned with birthdays.

Outside of demanding cake for breakfast—or really 24/7—on my big day, I have yet to hit a number that gives me pause or makes me feel any kind of way other than where are the presents?

But, no matter what I do to try and slow down time, it’s happening.

I’m turning 40.

I repeat, I am turning 40.

And this is where I pause so you can politely compliment me on how you’d never guessed I was a day over 30 or how I don’t look my age or any other appropriately-worded, kind and loving compliment.

Look, I can kid myself all day long that 40 is the new 20, but I know it’s not true.

Turns out, 40 is actually exactly 40, and it’s time I get comfortable with it.

Like snuggle together on the couch in our sweatpants, watching romcoms, and sharing popcorn with M&Ms in it comfy.

The good news is, while my skin is starting to wrinkle around my eyes, I know it’s from smiling and laughing with those I love most. And, even if I swear my memory is starting to go, I can still remember that four decades on this planet does mean 40 years of learning.

So as I continue to catch myself saying, “Holy sh*t! This is 40” every time I look in the mirror, I also thought now was an excellent time to reflect on all the lessons I’ve learned through the years.

And, since we learn the best from those who have gone before us, I thought I’d share some of that wisdom learned the hard way here.

  1. Listen to yourself more. You are smarter than you give yourself credit for.

  2. Your life is your own to live and it is beautiful no matter what anyone else says.

  3. Make people laugh. More importantly, make yourself laugh.

  4. Knowing yourself is the single greatest gift and the only way to find true happiness.

  5. Embrace your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses.

  6. Respect your own opinions enough to stand up for them.

  7. You don’t have to smile all the time. It’s okay to have a resting b*tch face.

  8. Love your brain and be proud of your knowledge.

  9. Embrace your curiosity and find joy in asking all the questions.

  10. Stop letting others repeat what you say and then take credit for it.

  11. It’s okay to go away for a while and be missed.

  12. Nothing good happens after midnight.

  13. You are stronger than you think.

  14. Humility is the most attractive quality in a person.

  15. Surprise yourself, take risks, do the crazy things.

  16. Hang out with friends as often as you can.

  17. Someone else’s definition of happily ever after doesn’t have to also be yours.

  18. Stop comparing yourself to others and start complimenting.

  19. Find a healthy outlet for the demons within.

  20. Leave a little mystery. Not everything needs to be on social media.

  21. Always apologize when you’re wrong, but never for who you are.

  22. Don’t let a stereotype define you.

  23. Stop listening to the noise and create your own.

  24. Find people who are different than you and embrace them.

  25. If anyone judges what you eat, it is perfectly acceptable to throat-punch them.

  26. Nothing good comes from throat punching or violence.

  27. Faith, friendships, and family—like any relationship—go through seasons.

  28. Don’t sit around and wait for life to happen to you.

  29. Say no kindly, firmly, and often.

  30. Your relationship does not define you. Nor does your weight, kids, or job.

  31. Use the gifts you’ve been given to lift up others.

  32. Let go of grudges for they’ll only weigh you down.

  33. There’s nothing a good bubble bath can’t fix.

  34. Embrace your awkwardness, quirkiness, and weirdness. It’s what makes you unique.

  35. Do everything in moderation. From diets to exercise to dating to work.

  36. The person you are comparing yourself to doesn’t have it better than you.

  37. You don’t have to be the smartest or the best. You can be the hardest worker.

  38. It’s better to be a part of a team than go it alone.

  39. Don’t overcomplicate things. Stick to what matters most to you and let the rest go.

  40. Above all else, choose love.

So four cheers for 40! 

And for all the wisdom, love, and laughter that comes with it. 

Want to help me celebrate this momentous occasion? The greatest gift you can give would be a review on my Facebook page or an endorsement for my skills over on LinkedIn. Or a puppy. Thanks in advance for the love!