40 Things I Know At 40 – Happy Birthday to Me!

Turning 40

Turning 40

Today is my 40th birthday. I remember the days the idea of turning 40 felt so, soooo far away. And it’s here. NOW. Today. I am turning 40! There was a time I didn’t know whether it would get here. Actually, there were a few times. Cancer, a car accident and a fire almost took me…almost and meant turning 40 may not be a reality for yours truly. My mom says I’m her cat with nine lives. (See: she totally sent this after my post went live).

Turning 40
She sent this AFTER I posted haha

Good thing I have a few left. I’m not finished yet. My life has been pretty incredible. I’ve lived some amazing times and I’ve lived through some things I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. There’s nothing I would change about the ride, though. Today as I celebrate, in no particular order, I want to share with you 40 things I know at 40: turning 40 turning 40 turning 40 turning 40

1. Pride can be a great thing and an ugly thing – don’t let pride get in the way of an apology, but let it make you confident enough not to accept bullshit. You are the only one of you. Live on your terms and don’t let anyone make you feel less than. When it doubt, ask yourself, “Is it more important to have a resolution or to be right?”

2. The years go faster and faster – cherish them. Don’t rush through your life. You can’t get time back, but you can either cherish or regret how you spent it. When you look back on your memories, make them something you’ll smile about. If you’re a younger person reading this, your time will come. Enjoy the now. Before you know it, you’ll be paying bills and dealing with life’s responsibilities. Take it easy while you can.

3. Treasure your time with your parents – There was a period of time things between my mom, dad and me weren’t so good. I’d say they’re pretty great now. My dad turned 70 in March and his birthday hit me really, really hard. I remember when my dad turned 40 thinking, “WOW!! My dad is 40!!!” And now I’m 40 *poof* just like that. He has some health issues and I worry about him a lot now, probably like he worried about me when he sat through all of my chemos. Each and every one of them. My husband doesn’t have his parents anymore. They passed long before I met him. If I could, I would thank them for giving me such an amazing gift; for raising a boy into a wonderful man. No matter how old you are, you’ll still need them. Remember that.

4. Your parents do know it all – Well, most of the time. Ah parents. I can tell you that if you’re going through a hard time with your kids, they will get to the point they look back and wish they had listened to you. If you’re someone rolling your eyes at your parents; just trust me. They’ve lived it. They have more experience than you. Listen to them. They’re usually right.

Turning 40
Two very smart people and their spawn

5. Life education is important – some of the smartest people I know don’t have college degrees. You can quote books and solve mathematic equations all day long, but if you can’t survive in the world you’re screwed.

6. Don’t rely on other people to take care of you – My mom told my sister and me, “Never rely on a man to take care of you.” I am SO thankful for this lesson. I am proud to be a strong, independent woman yet it seems society deems us as Nazi feminists or dare I write it, as bitches because we choose careers and education over other options in life. F that. Truth is, I have had a handful of friends who did rely on men to take care of them and when they went through divorces, there were some hard times to get through. That’s hard to watch. No woman should have to feel helpless or rely on the courts to award her an income then hope her ex pays up. And if something happens to that ex? You’re up shit’s creek. You want to be a stay at home mom? I think that is awesome if it works for you and your partner. Have a backup anyway. You may think you’ll never be a statistic, but the 60% of divorcees probably thought the same thing. I sure didn’t.

7. But ask for help if you need it – Now, don’t get me wrong. Taking care of yourself and being entirely co-dependent upon someone else – two different things. When I was in the fire, I lost everything I owned right down to my broomstick and underwear. The very large insurance company I paid every month never honored my insurance policy. They wanted to go into litigation with the building owner. I wanted to heal, mentally and physically, after getting out of ICU. Starting from scratch is expensive. If it weren’t for the help of my parents, I don’t know what I would have done. There will be a time you’ll probably have to ask for help. In this case refer to #1. Don’t have too much pride to ask.

8. Learn about people who aren’t like you – They will teach you more than you think they will.

Turning 40
With my friend and author, Alephonsion Deng. An amazing person with an incredible story.

9. Divorce is the worst and best teacher – When my ex-husband and I were divorcing, in the beginning it really sucked. It was hard, but damn if it didn’t show me that I was strong in a way I had no idea I could be. I would tell you now that it is one of the best things that ever happened to me and I am grateful for it and its lessons. The hubs and I talk about our past marriages and the life experiences it gave us. It makes our marriage much better. We know not to repeat the same silly mistakes.

10. Your partner is not a mind reader – Please for the love of cake, just say what you need and feel. Don’t play mind games. The hubs and I joke about this. He is not a “read between the lines” kind of guy so I tell him, “I really want an E necklace,” and he picks it out himself, but I got what I want and his thoughts went into it. We both win. And even though it makes me feel like a silly adolescent girl, I also tell him straight up if something makes me feel insecure even if logically I know I don’t have anything to worry about. Communicate. You’d be surprised how receptive someone can be if you spell things out for them.

11. Marriage is easy – people and situations are hard – I often read about or hear people say how hard marriage is. I’d disagree. Marriage is pretty easy. The outside stuff? Not always so much. Hubs and I talk about how easy it is now between us. Sometimes the situations around us aren’t, but our relationship? Cake. Mmmm cake. (Got off on a tangent there). This doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges, but you can choose to work through them together or stew on it and build up resentment. Together is better.

12. A motorcycle is one of the secrets to a great marriage – my dad rides and my parents have been married 41 years. There is this trust when you are on the back of the bike and your partner has your life in their hands. He reaches down to put his hand on your shin and it’s just a silent closeness. We get on the Harley and it is pure bliss. Bonus: The other secret-a separate toilet 😉 .

Turning 40
One of our engagement photos

13. Sex is better as you get older – it just is. Trust me.

14. You never know who you’ll run into – I was out at a club in Tampa and a very inebriated girl ran into me. She literally ran into me. She then proceeded to curse at me for getting in her way. Come Monday morning at the office, I walked into the conference room to conduct a job interview. Guess who was sitting at the conference table? Suffice it to say I looked at her and asked, “It’s safe to say we don’t need to conduct this interview, correct?” Her eyes grew wide and her jaw dropped. I am still surprised ’til this day she remembered me given how drunk she was. Don’t be that person. You never know who you’ll be sitting across from at a table asking for a job, a loan or some other favor in life.

15. Be a Nike and JUST DO IT – I am a believer in living your dreams, not just dreaming them. You may screw up and you may not always get what you want, but you won’t look back and wonder what would have happened had you tried. And if you don’t get there, well, like the song goes: You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find you get what you need. SO.TRUE.

16. Never say never – I said I’d never date a man with kids, I’d never get married again, I’d never move to the country and I’d never live in a regular house (I was a high-rise living kind of girl). We can see how that worked out for me. Keep yourself open to the possibilities. You may find that your “never” is actually exactly where you’re supposed to be.

A Lavender Farm Wedding

17. Entitlement is unbecoming – the world doesn’t owe you anything and neither does anyone else. Work for what you want, be humble and it will get you far.

18. Build a bridge and get over it – Let me tell you, if there is one thing I am good at it, it is holding a grudge. It’s a terrible character flaw of mine and I know it. So I tell myself, “Build a bridge and get over it,” and in time, I do. There will be a lot of things you have to get over in life. Sulk for a minute, but don’t dwell on negativity. It’s a waste of your time.

19. Protect your finances – Having gone through identity theft, I can tell you it sucks. Check your credit regularly, don’t live beyond your means and while it’s great to splurge, remember to be careful with whom you choose to share your money and finances.

20. Don’t let people give you shit because of what you have –I’m not driving around in an R8 (yet), but I worked hard to earn the things I do have. I was once called a ‘sugar mama’ by a very ill-informed and very ignorant man as though working hard to provide and enjoy my life is a bad thing. Pffft. F THAT. People who talk about others’ lives don’t usually have anything good to say about their own. Don’t waste your time being bitter over them or feeling sorry for them. That’s energy you can spend on good things. On that note…

Turning 40
I love this shirt!

21. Jealousy is a waste of time – Sure it’s okay to have some healthy envy, but don’t forsake others of what they’ve got. There just may be someone wishing they had it as good as you.

22. You don’t have to be a parent to be a real woman or a real man – Oh lawd. Should I even get myself started on this one? I never wanted biological kids, even though I was once told by a little old lady in the Pittsburgh airport I “at least have to try.” So here I am 40. I still don’t want kids of “my own” – whatever that means. I have bonus/step kids – choose whatever term that you like best. That makes me happy. What I don’t have? A uterus. That thing made me super unhealthy, so guess what? Bye, bye uterus! It does not make me less of a woman. My husband can attest to the fact I’m a “real woman” wink wink. Parenting is HARD. If you know that and it isn’t for you, embrace it and don’t let people criticize you for it.

23. Take responsibility when you’re wrong – Don’t deflect or make excuses. It makes you look like a jackass who doesn’t know how to acknowledge a screw up. You’re human. You’ll screw up and then you’ll screw up again (other humans know that). Admit it. It will get you a lot further than if you try to make an excuse as to why it wasn’t really your screw up. This applies to both your professional and personal lives.

24. Your health is the most important thing you have – take it from someone who knows. Without your health you can’t do much else. No need to be one of those people who never sips a glass of wine or indulges in cake (because, I mean seriously, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life), but take care of it.

Making history – being wheeled into the operating room

25. Travelthe entire world is your home; not just the city in which you reside. It will broaden your horizons, your perspective and make you a much more open-minded and educated person.

26. Take wipes on the plane – Look, I’ve seen enough diaper changes and sneezes all over the tray tables to know to wipe that shizz down! Get the armrests and seatbelt buckles, too while you’re at it. And don’t forget the headrest. People look at me funny then they’re all like, “Uhhh can I have one?” Get your own damn wipes, cynic! (In all seriousness, bring the wipes).

27. Bring your own blanket too – trust me on this. If you really want to know, read Plane Insanity. I told you to trust me on this.

28. Everyone should see what’s in the ocean at least once – I think I went from the womb to the ocean. It is as much a part of me as my right arm. Heck, when it’s my time, I’m going in the ocean. There is a scene from one of my favorite movies, (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) where one of the main characters too busy to slow down and appreciate life dives in the ocean for the first time. After he gets out, he sits on the boat, tears in his eyes, stunned by how profound the experience is for him. THAT is the ocean. It is life. GO SEE IT.

Turning 40
A handful of thousands of shots from over the years

29. Your heart will be broken – and you’ll do some heartbreaking of your own. Remember how it felt when it was done to you. Act accordingly.

30. After your heart is broken, you WILL get over it – just let time do its thing. It’s hard to wait for time to do that. You WILL get through it.

31. Sometimes all you can do is listen – When you want to be there giving advice or having some wonderful words of wisdom to make someone feel better, sometimes you just can’t. Just be there. That’s enough.

32. True friends stand the test of time and miles – I have a lot of acquaintances and very few friends. My best friend and I have known each other 25 years and gone months – heck even years at a time – without talking to or seeing each other. But in a split second we are there for each other when it counts. It’s unconditional; we don’t keep score. Keep those people near.

Turning 40
Though the years and miles separate us, we’ve been best of friends 25 years; he had no idea I was flying in for about 12 hours for his birthday

33. Sing – I belt out the tunes at the top of my lungs in the car. Yeah, sometimes people give me a, “Is that woman crazy?” look. It feels too good to the soul to care. I love music. I said if I ever remarried, I’d marry an opera singer. I married a drummer who can belt out some awesome rock instead. When we met, he had two rules for a potential partner: Must like Guns N’ Roses and motorcycles. Match.made.in.heaven. The other day we sat, holding hands, listening to our wedding song (The Rose). We didn’t need to talk. The music said it all for us. The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Billy Idol, Andrea Bocelli, Des’ree, Natalie Merchant, Pavarotti, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, the list goes on and on…they all got me through the hardest and most triumphant times of my life. And Guns N’ Roses, of course.

34. Interesting pets are awesome – I have a bearded dragon and a frilled dragon. They walk on leashes. I get some stares, but I’ve also met some really cool people who approach me to ask questions and take pictures. I’ve totally done the same when I run into people with pet pigs. Note to self: Convince husband to get me a pig (he had them growing up…his experience points to “not happening any time soon”).

35. Laughter really is great medicine – When I was going through chemo, my oncologist told me to get CD’s of my favorite comedians (CD’s were what we used then) and listen to them whenever I could. Laughter helped heal me. When I was going through my divorce, I remember the first time I laughed. I was in my new apartment, by myself watching TV and the show, Reba was on. She cracked a funny line and I remember thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh, I just laughed!” I knew it would get better. Laughter helped heal me again. Laugh as often as you can. Laughter can transform you. Shout out to Reba McEntire if you’re reading this.

36. Cake is one of the best things on earth – I mean just look at it. Seriously, anyone who knows me knows that cake just makes me happy. (In moderation, of course).

Turning 40
Didn’t turn out at all like I asked; but still love it anyway LOL

37. Don’t be a gossip – those who gossip to you, will gossip about you.

38. The meaning of life – It’s very simple. LIVING. You were given life to live it. That means something different for each person…

39. So do what makes YOU happy – Don’t compromise your happiness because you’re worried about what other people will think. Refer to #38: This is the life you’ve been given to live. Do it your way. Cue Frank Sinatra music.

40. The gift is in the giving – There are not many joys greater in my life than giving to others. I wouldn’t be here if others hadn’t given. Each year, I have Operation Birthday and this year is no exception. I thought about what I could do on the blog to celebrate my birthday and the gift of giving to others. I appreciate each and every one of you, your comments, your feedback and your presence. THANK YOU for giving me your time. So… how about a chance at a few nights in Vegas? Check out details to enter below.

Turning 40 Giveaway Details:

Freedom Isn't Free tank

This is a different kind of giveaway. I can ask you to follow me, like that account, blah, blah. But you know what? Half of you unfollow and unlike after a giveaway is over and that’s cool. I want you to follow because you want to. Since it’s my birthday, I’m asking you to give me a gift. Show me how you’re out asking others to do random acts of kindness. Tag your posts with #CLCWRAOK so I can easily find them then post the link in the comments below (please do not use the contact form to post your entry) to show me how you’ve asked others to give back – whether it’s smile at ten people a day, telling someone they look great or volunteering time – just post a link to how you’re spreading the message that the ‘gift is in the giving’. Deadline is June 5th at 11:59pm. I will verify the links and all verified entrants will be entered into a drawing. Winner will be selected at random.

What can I win?

The winner will receive 3 nights in Vegas at the MGM Grand (room and tax paid, blackout dates will apply), two tickets to a show(you will have the choice of three shows to be determined upon selection of your dates) and a $250 Visa Gift Card. Must be 21 or over to win and a resident of the USA. Remember you have to ask others to participate in random acts of kindness somewhere on social media and post a link to your request. I will share your links, too 🙂 . Don’t forget to tag your posts with

Thanks for being part of my ‘Turning 40’ Can’t wait to see what you all are doing – good luck, everyone!

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