As I have just turned 40, I thought I'd gather my 40 years of thoughts and lessons into a blog post and give you 42 things at 40 that I've learnt about that thing called life.
My teens were fun, with a tinge of growing up pains, but I came out of it relatively unscathed.
My 20s were a whole load of fun, ending with marriage, a baby and then another one safely in the oven at 30.
My 30s have been the biggest learning curve: Maybe the most unsettling and certainly the ones in which I've had to be most 'adult'.
Here we go:
1. I am comfortable in my skin, I wear my bikini and don't much care what anyone thinks.
2. Sincerity can be a misplaced trait, it leads to unnerving honesty which some people cannot handle very well
3. You are who you are, and don't apologise for it. Very few people I know are total tw*ts, but I think you probably know if you are, and in that case: CHANGE!
4. Busy is not valid excuse for not doing something, we all have busy lives, saying you're busy just invites others to compete for who is busiest (although you are always too busy to iron. Fact)
5. You make the choices in your life
6. Your choices will impact others in your family and wider. Consider this too.
7. Sometimes your mother is actually right. This is annoying, but some of the sagest advice has come from my mother.
8. Caitlin Moran was right, sometimes you are not having a breakdown, you do just need a cup of tea and a biscuit (preferably a chocolate hob nob)
9. Actually, money doesn't make you happier. You may have some nicer things around you to wallow in your sadness, but if the fundaments of your life make you unhappy, you will be unhappy.
10. Make sure you make time to do the things you love at least once a week. Whether it's reading, watching a film, yoga or running. You need it for your soul.
11. Prodding and poking children into doing things so you can live vicariously through them isn't the way to child rear
12. Let them fight their own battles in the playground, even if you do want to wade in and pin the little so-and-so to the wall. This won't help.
13. I love this quote from Rowan Coleman, The Memory Book
'Being a mother is about protecting your children ... but it is also about trusting them to live the best way for them'
14. They, just like you, are ever evolving human beings: Works in Progress - think carefully about how you might limit them.
15. Encourage them to do lots of fun hobbies, but don't let their hobbies steal their childhood (which leads back to point 11)
16. Friends outside school are essential, especially during choppy times at school
17. As hard as it is, agree with your partner when they are disciplining your child (even if you don't agree with it right that second)
18. Laugh together.
19. Once you've accepted that sex is still part of your marriage, it can still be very enjoyable and actually take you back to those halcyon days when you first got together (Obviously, husband, when you read this, this does not mean it has to be every night)
20. Dates and nights away are great. Make time for the 2 of you, you are best friends and no one is more fun to be with.
21. Just listen to one another, so many arguments can be avoided just by listening the first time.
22. It is never to late to achieve anything. Seriously.
23. If you are confident enough to have the idea, you are confident enough to do it. Don't let anxious thoughts get the better of you.
This rather dominated my 30s with the death of my father.
24. Crying is fine, you may still spontaneously burst into tears 3+ years on. You loved them, you miss them. Crying helps you show this.
25. Compassionate friends may not have always been the ones you thought they'd be. Look out for these ones, they are truly special
26. The way you grieve is the way you grieve, it is all coming to terms with it, please don't let anyone tell you how you should be grieving.
27. Depression and grief are not the same thing, please don't think you are depressed when in fact you are grieving
28. That awful knot in your stomach as you realise you are going to lose them never goes away, but you do learn to live with it
29. Sometimes you have to accept the apology you will never get. Let's face it, if you are not going to apologise for who you are, they probably won't either.
30. Bullies do appear in your 30s, no idea why this is necessary but walk away, don't apologise for yourself and realise they probably need to read point 3 and take note.
31. You'll always have some more vulnerable friends, and sometimes it's hard to maintain these relationships. Just keep the door open, and welcome them back.
32. Accepting that friendships are like the seasons is fine, they blow in for the spring, but by the summer they are long gone. No fall out, it's just moving on. You never know, they may return in the autumn
33. People have different interpretations of what being a 'kind friend' is. Move on.
34. Being jealous is an ugly trait, and watching people being jealous of you is also ugly. Jealously is just ugly, eradicate it and use that energy to fulfil dreams.
35. Inside, you know who your best friends are: Never let them go.
36. Always wear sun cream
green people sun screen, organic sun screen, organic sun cream,
37. Calorific treats are fun, but balance out with the green juice and quinoa. One day you'll know why
38. Painted nails can dramatically improve your mood
39. As can that dress you didn't need, but really wanted ...
40. If you are umming and ahhing over a trip, book it. I've never been away somewhere and thought it was a waste of time.
41. Accepting that I needed to speak to my GP about my anxiety was the best thing I ever did. Once I acknowledged it, I tamed the beast and I knew how best to manage it and although I know it may decide to pop its head up again, I am here armed and ready to take it on.
42. Turns out debt isn't something everyone does, and actually being good with money is relatively advantageous, try and learn this as early as possible ...
42 things I have learnt at 40. I'd love to know the lessons you've learnt, and if any of mine resonate with you. Let me know in the comments.
This post originally appeared on Truly Madly Kids