Listen friends…2020 was a whole damn mood and I’m still struggling to find the one word to describe it. I turned 40 during what will be known as the dumpster fire of a year full of uncertainty and fear and didn’t get much of a celebration. Yet this year unexpectedly brought me an immeasurable amount of calmness, self-awareness, clarity, strength, closure and opportunity.
Perhaps that’s the gleaming, remarkable truth about aging: The older you get, the more wiser and unbothered you become but also more accepting of things you can’t control. I absolutely love this season of rediscovery, endless bonding and creating new memories. Most importantly I’m enjoying the little humans I brought into this world.
I like to think age has a lot to do with it. In fact, science agrees. According to data extrapolated from the 2019 World Happiness Report by The Economist, Americans tend to see their happiness increase after hitting 40.
But since 2020 was a year unlike any other, it doesn’t feel right to set new year resolutions. Instead I’m sharing a few isms, reminders, lessons re-learned and perhaps words of encouragement that carried me through the year.
Here’s my mood and what I know right now with four decades in the bag (in no particular order):
- Arguing is a net negative every single time so why bother.
- You can always reinvent yourself.
- Saying ‘no’ feels so damn good.
- Once you get the success you want, apologize for nothing.
- Be someone who makes your community better.
- You’re worth it and you always will be.
- People you love don’t live forever. Hug them tight every time you see them.
- How you perceive yourself, how you talk about yourself, and how you present yourself becomes your reality.
- If you don’t know your self-worth, don’t expect others to calculate it for you.
- Enjoy your own company.
- True humility is staying teachable, regardless of how much you already know.
- Be more intentional about the connection between the things you buy and the happiness it brings you.
- Focus on how your body feels, not the pound or size.
- You realize that all those people you think are so confident and lead perfect lives are just winging it as everyone else.
- 40 is the new 40. No one wants to be 20 again.
- Life becomes simpler when you just allow some people to misunderstand you.
- Real commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has changed.
- Invest in yourself.
- We are not all financially equal. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.
- Drink water. Moisturize. Skincare is everything.
- If it is important to you, you will find a way. If it’s not, you’ll always find an excuse.
- People don’t have to like you and you don’t have to care.
- Lead by example and with kindness.
- You communicate self-respect by imposing respectful boundaries on disrespectful behavior.
- Confidence is your most valuable asset. It’s the one thing that influences everything, so you’d better protect it.
- No one watches you harder than the people who can’t stand you.
- Marriage is really like a garden. To achieve a full and satisfying harvest, the two must work in harmony, using the right tools, wisdom, and a willing spirit.
- Surround yourself with people who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities.
- Compare notes. There’s no reason to learn things the hard way.
- Trust but verify.
- Don’t allow anyone to tell your story or misrepresent your intentions.
- Being a good friend starts with you.
- No one owes you anything.
- Be leery of people who love to create a problem for every solution.
- Sometimes you have to let the trash (negative people) take itself out.
- Jealousy comes in jokes. Pay attention.
- Don’t allow others to project their insecurities onto you.
- A year (or even a week) from now, most of this will not matter. Stop getting so worked up about the small stuff.
- You’ve survived 100% of your worst days.
- And if you don’t love Beyonce’ then we can’t be friends.