40 thoughts as I turn 40


40 thoughts

Looking back, I can’t think of what I remember when my parents turned 40. I know it happened, but so many other things were happening at the same time, that it was likely a non-event. Forty seemed unreachable—parents on television and in movies didn’t really address their ages—and I was likely too busy watching Knight Rider and Airwolf to really care.

In Content

And here it is, about to stare me in the face. The Big Four-O.

The saying is, “Age is a state of mind.” Well, here’s a bit of what is on my mind as my birthdayversary approaches:

  1. My mind needs to tell my hair that it still feels 20-something and should therefore not invite its grey brethren to take hold. They have invaded my head and are hereby warned NOT to invade any other parts of my body that has hair.
  2. The joint popping and creaking is not an excuse to be complacent. Body will get moving and retrain for running and will work on yoga practice advancement, though I really wish these are activities I had taken up in my 20s.
  3. I’m really glad I’ve grown out of gin and into bourbon. Gin and Tonics are nothing compared to a fine Kentucky Mule.
  4. Also, a glass of wine at dinner is awesome. Wine for dinner? Generally a bad idea. Also, a full plate of cheese complements the wine. A full plate of cheese and nothing else is going to also be a bad idea.
  5. Taking the time to cook dinner as many nights as possible—priceless! The little chicks have a blast “helping,” I’ve learned to make better ingredient choices, and it makes for an excellent time to have a dance party. Which leads me to…
  6. If you can’t bust out with an impromptu dance party where you work, you are most assuredly working in the wrong place. (See my post where I quit my job.)
  7. People won’t always “get” me, and that’s OK. I’ll just take my unicorns and rainbows somewhere else.
  8. I wish those unicorns could custom sew me a wardrobe. I’ve been the same “size” for the past 15 years, but my shape is different and I hate clothing manufacturers for not making SMEDIUMS and size 7 women’s clothing.
  9. And I would also time travel back 15 years ago and tell myself to GET A PROFESSIONAL BRA FITTING! SPEND THE MONEY ON GOOD BRAS!
  10. I smile at strangers, not to be creepy but to maybe brighten their day if only for a second. Or perhaps to give them some situational awareness that a weirdo (me) is smiling at them.
  11. My level of irritation with fellow humans has steadily increased. I’m looking forward to my cantankerous 50s and belligerent 80s.
  12. I’m so glad I got out of my way and tried a bunch of (legal) things.
  13. Why don’t we have time travel yet? I would have encouraged myself to not be scared of NEW THINGS at a younger age!
  14. I have made A LOT of mistakes. Some were pretty epic, and some were pretty awesome.
  15. I have learned A LOT from my mistakes.
  16. A good, genuine apology goes a long way.
  17. Crap. I’m going to have to be OK with my kids making similar mistakes. Note to self: teach them about apologizing now.
  18. Speaking of…marriage is a lesson in humility. I thought I was good at communicating my needs and frustration, but nothing tests my patience more than trying to have an adult conversation while trying to mitigate toddler meltdowns and cleaning pee from the couch while finding marker stains on the same couch. Having three humans need something from me when I need something, too, is pretty frustrating.
  19. When mama isn’t happy, no one is happy. Keep mama happy. (Insert dance party here.)
  20. Marriage and motherhood have also taught me to ask for help. Just because you can do things on your own, doesn’t mean you have to.
  21. Which reminds me…SPEAK UP. Look, if you’re still reading this, and you remember only one of my thoughts on this page, it should be this: Let that voice inside of you come out of your mouth. Tell people you love them, call people out on their baloney, follow your gut—it’s pretty smart.
  22. Because when the voice doesn’t speak up, things like bad hair, bad clothing choices, and broken hearts happen.
  23. I should have exhibited a bit more shopping self control in my life. Buying a couple of nice pieces versus a bunch of clothes I no longer have seems like a much better choice.
  24. That collection of stilettos no longer serves a purpose. They seemed like a great idea at the time, but they are painful to wear, wreck my posture and toenail polish, and get stuck in grates and cracks. No matter how pretty they are…
  25. Buy shoes that are both comfortable and increase personal happiness. I’m still searching for unicorn Converse…
  26. I haven’t gotten around to learning how to apply makeup. I keep meaning to, but YouTube and Pinterest are rabbit holes of random. So I will carry on with basic foundation coverage, eye makeup, and the occasional lip gloss.
  27. I have learned to appreciate a good eyebrow pencil (see #1). I wish I had learned this a long time ago.
  28. I’ve got to stop hoarding personal care products. Why do I need 34 little shampoos and conditioners? Five different moisturizers?
  29. There’s a tipping point somewhere when you realize you have too much stuff. Ugh. I have no energy to collect it all and get rid of it. And yet, I can’t get rid of any of the 500 books I’ve accumulated. That’s not including my collection of 20-year-old food magazines. And unused notebooks. And half-used journals.
  30. I need to remember to read to the chicks more instead of hustling them off to bed to get less important stuff done. And take them to the library more. Who doesn’t love the musty smell of books?
  31. Turn the things off! Tablets, phones, television. Deal with the finger paint and Play-doh messes. Clean-up of food on the floor has to happen anyway. Why not make it more interesting?
  32. It’s OK to start saying things like “kids today don’t know how easy they have it,” “when I wanted to listen to music, I had to rewind a cassette,” and “I listen to NPR daily.” Just because my physical form is 40 doesn’t mean I don’t understand the world’s current state of affairs, download or stream music, or read HuffPo.
  33. Find ways to laugh every day. Having kids can make it both harder and easier. Laugh with your partner, too.
  34. Play more.
  35. Always—ALWAYS—go the bathroom BEFORE jumping on trampolines at birthday parties.
  36. If I could stop myself from eating the cake and pizza at birthday parties, that would be great. There are much better cakes and foods out there to use my calories on and feel less remorse about when working out to burn it off.
  37. Love your body. Easier said than done, I know, I know. It’s done a lot of amazing things: marathon, kids, tequila. Appreciate it.
  38. Love yourself. Because we can’t love others truly if we don’t.
  39. Oh my gosh, I have too many feelings spilling from my eyes. I don’t know that I’d be this sentimental if I hadn’t experienced motherhood. Let the feels flow!
  40. Forty. Years. Hopefully, 40+ more, because I can’t wait to be in my belligerent 80s wearing Chucks and a silly t-shirt, talking to my grandkids about how amazing the Foo Fighters were and how we used to get our news from newspapers and use actual cash to pay for things. To be an old lady married to an old man who have lives filled with silliness and happiness and family.
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Amanda is a native Texan who spent a few years in the Boston area. Newish to the stay-at-home mom gig, she’s mother to a seven-year-old wilding and a five-year-old diva. When not trying to herd those cats, she runs a doula agency, Journey to Motherhood (@motherhoodsatx), and works as a birth doula and childbirth educator. She has been married to her husband for almost nine years, which also means learning the ways of being a military spouse. Upon his return from his first deployment in their relationship, she surprised him by proposing to him when she finished her first half marathon (more like she held up a ring and he said yes). Their honeymoon was a babymoon (ehh) to Italy, followed by another deployment, building a new home, and having another child. Much time at home is spent cultivating a medicinal and vegetable garden (she’s a modern hippie), reading all kinds of books (everyone is a book nerd), crafting cocktails (because yum), documenting shenanigans on Instagram (@optimisticheathen), and holding spontaneous dance parties in the living room.


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