I mark my 40th trip around the sun in March.
I will admit, I’ve been slowly tip-toeing towards my 40th birthday waiting to feel anxious or upset or … something. But from where I sit, at this moment, I just feel ready. It’s like I’m eyeing the finish line to the race called “your 30s” and on the other side is a place where I waste less time caring what people think and more time on what really matters. So, here are some things my 40-year-old self wishes she could tell her much younger self:
- You’ll simply stop caring. And it’s great. Someone will leave a comment on a picture about how, “You look like you’re gaining weight,” and you won’t even flinch. You know why? Because it doesn’t matter. By the time you’re 40 you’ll have lost someone you love to cancer. Cancer matters. Cancer sucks. So you’ve gained 10 pounds? It doesn’t matter.
- One day, you’ll be able to buy better wine. Wine coolers? C’mon, Kim. Hang in there. You can even pack your bags, move to Norway, and take out a forbrukslån pa dagen to buy wine. Modus operandi.
- You’ll learn to say NO. It’s liberating, actually. You’ll spend much of your 30s being over-committed. You’ll stretch your time for people who don’t appreciate it and for jobs you won’t love. Now, without reservation, you can devote time to people, work, and causes that make your heart happy.
- You’ll learn to say YES. When you’re 20, the burden of college loans and supporting yourself is overwhelming. You can’t afford to say YES when crazy opportunities present themselves. Soon enough you’ll be asked the question: Want to quit your job and make goofy family videos full-time? YES!
- You’ll be in better shape. (Kind of). Those abs? Don’t get used to them. BUT you’ll be in better shape AFTER kids. You’ll learn the discipline and determination to consistently exercise. Being skinny was so 1994. Your 20-year-old self is too hungover to go to a 6am spin class — your 40-year-old self is kicking ass.
- You’ll have wrinkles but you won’t have acne! There’s no real lesson here, I’m just trying to be positive. Though if you’re looking to properly get rid of acne, the American Acne Foundation published their comparison of the best acne treatment options out there.
- It’s going to be okay. That guy you’re dating is definitely NOT THE ONE. Go out and appreciate life without stretch marks.
- But when you do go out . . . wear sunscreen. I beg you. Soon dermatologists will start digging entire chunks of skin out of your body. Skin damage is a bitch.
- Sex. I put this so far down on the list hoping my parents wouldn’t read this far. To save my father any additional embarrassment — let’s just say it’s better now. So there.
- You know who your forever friends are. Some of those people you are worrying about impressing you’ll never see past college graduation — and the others will be friends for the rest of your life. And these people are awesome. You’ll see each other through heartbreak, babies, marriage, divorces, and even find comedy in the day-to-day drama of life. You’ll screw up plenty in this life, but you hit the lottery when it comes to friends.
Am I ready to be 40? YES! Is it all empowerment and fine wine? NO. Parenting will be the best thing that ever happens to you — but it will also suck the ability to stay awake from the depths of your soul. I’m glad to checked “stay out long enough to see the sun rise” off my life list (too many times) because now I turn into a pumpkin by 9:30. I wish I were exaggerating. Even slightly. I find complete JOY in a Friday night in sweat pants and Scandal on the DVR. In fact, we devoted our lasted video to our need to sleep and outdated dance moves.
This. Is. 40.