I started telling my husband Seth this morning about some of the differences in my 40’s. He told me I better write them down so here I go! I hope you will find this helpful and I hope you will share some of the lessons that you have learned whether you are in your 40’s, 50’s, 30’s, etc.
Lesson Number 1:
I appreciate my body more. I am finding that my eyes are becoming less critical. I appreciate that my body gave birth to my three babies hence the c section scar and some stretch marks. I appreciate that my body has gone through so many things with me. I am finding that I don’t expect my body to be perfect anymore. I appreciate my strong legs that have walked me through many miles. I joke with my husband about getting a tummy tuck and boob lift, but I am not going to. Here is what I am going to do.
I am going to think more about what I put into my mouth. I am going to be more conscious as I eat instead of unconsciously eating the cookies. That doesn’t mean that I am going to expect perfection from my daily eating. I like that I had a salad for lunch yesterday and healthy yam zero calorie pasta for dinner. I don’t like that I ate the little brownie bites that I bought for my daughter. I am going to focus on being more conscious and am going to work on being healthier in my decisions. I know how to eat. I am at an age where I am not taking advantage of my body anymore. I appreciate it and I want to take care of it. When I eat poorly my digestion is bad. My foot is hurting me for many reasons. I am not wearing good shoes. That’s another lesson for my 40’s! Wear good shoes. I am going to buy myself good shoes, so my feet don’t hurt! I stand too much. My feet are telling me to sit more. I am too heavy! My body feels better when I am lighter. Taking less advantage of my body, taking care of my body and being less critical of my body. This is my 40’s!
Lesson Number 2:
Building in more time for self care. I took my daughter Ella who is 10 years old (almost 11) for her first massage with me. I may have had some aches and pains that I needed a massage therapist to work on. Ella has such a busy week this week with school and theater rehearsals and shows that I treated her to a massage and then the next day we got manicures. I want to teach her to take care of herself. I want to show her to sit down and relax. If I am going 90 miles an hour all day every day then my children are going to learn this behavior from me.
Taking time to write is so good for me. I am going to do more of this because I enjoy it and I am sitting down! It is also technically my only official job right now. Taking care of my children and all the volunteer work I do does count and I remind myself of that regularly!
Taking time to sit down with a good book and relax. I love escaping into a good book and I love my book club. I feel very close to the ladies in my book club and it is fun to assign a monthly book and discuss it. Lots of self care in my 40’s!
Lesson Number 3:
I don’t have to like everyone. This is a big huge lesson for me in my 40’s. It used to bug me so much when I didn’t like someone. I would ask myself what is wrong with me? Why did I think I have to like everyone? Or why did my friend like someone that I didn’t? That always concerned me. I think I should be kind. I am kind and tactful with people that I am not crazy about. Thankfully there are a lot of people in my life who I love and adore. I need to make more time for those people who I love being with.
Do you ever leave someone and feel so drained? Do you ever feel like some life was dragged out of you? Do you ever feel upset about what the conversation was? Those are all red flags to me. When I leave someone and I feel happy and energized and positive, I know that is someone I want to spend more time with. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk to me about your problems. A social worker like me will always want to listen and help!
Lesson Number 4:
I don’t freak out when people are coming over anymore. I have a husband, three children and three pets, and my house is lived in. I do make my kids clean up a lot. I do clean and want the house nice for me. Those are things I do. I don’t flip out when I know someone is coming over to my house. I used to! When Seth and I were early in our marriage I drove him nuts cleaning before people came over. I have come a long way. I am sorry that my house isn’t perfect if you expect it to be. I thought that our second house would help a lot with more space, and I think it did. Don’t you always feel like you need more space? I’m not sure if I want to finish the basement, add an addition or move but the future will figure all of that out.
Lesson Number 5:
Listen more and talk less. There are times when I have something going on and I feel the absolute need to be the one to talk and hear what Seth, my parents and/or my friends have to say about it. However, I find that I am listening more intently to what people have to say. People will tell you that I am loud and outgoing and talk a lot. I am aware of that. I am more self aware and I want to hear what you have to say. I listen more. I hear more. I think that age brings more confidence. I think the more confident and secure you are the more you realize that you can learn from other people. Even if I have lost weight MANY times in MANY different ways (they all work). Even if I know how to lose weight. Even if I think I am a “pro.” Even if I think that I know a lot about health and wellness (my parents own a health food store). Even if I took parenting courses and read parenting books and have my master’s in social work. None of that means I can’t learn from you. When you are counseling clients you learn from your clients. When you are parenting kids, you learn from your kids. I am confident enough to learn from you.
Lesson Number 6:
I can’t please everyone. I have three children who usually want to do three different things. I wanted to go see Star Wars. Ella wanted to see Little Women, Lillie wanted to see Frozen 2 again and Max and Seth were good with seeing Star Wars. Guess what? It is okay to please myself and not worry about my children. I dragged those girls to Star Wars, and it was okay. I did take Ella and Lillie to see Little Women a week or so later.
It was a Friday during break and all three of my children had different ideas. Max had made plans with his friend. Ella had made plans with her friend. Lillie was asking me what she was going to do. First of all, all three kids don’t have to have friends at the same time. That drives me crazy. Lowering my expectations of myself and not expecting all my children to be happy is a game changer. You may think that this is a no brainer. Not for me. This took 12 years of parenting for me to learn.
I don’t have to please my children, husband, parents and friends ALL the time. I used to think I had to. Going back to the self care lesson = I have to worry about myself too. I can’t always put myself on the back burner. I pay for it when I do that. If we don’t take care of ourselves than we can’t take care of our family.
Lesson Number 7:
Have a goal. Have a goal that is only about you. I could tell you my goals in regards to the PTA or Girl Scouts. I could tell you my goals in regards to my husband and my children. I have lots of goals. One huge goal is planning and preparing for my son’s May Bar Mitzvah. Another huge goal is helping run the PTA and having the year run smoothly. There are so many things I could go on about that isn’t truly about me.
A goal that is just about me is to get my book completed in 2020. For those of you who have been following me, you are probably wondering why it isn’t done. It was printed and edited by professionals already. However, I am being a perfectionist and working more on it myself. I am driving my husband crazy in the process (and myself). I will get my book completed this year. That is a goal that is completely about me. Once I complete that I will make another goal that is just about me. I love to give please don’t get me wrong. I love to give my time to my children’s schools and their activities. I love the parents I meet along the way of all the school and activity madness. I just think we should be making goals that are just about us.
There you have it. 7 lessons that I wanted to share with you. I am sure there are many more that you will hear at a later date. I would love to hear about your lessons and your goals for 2020. What have you learned? What have you prioritized? How are you working on your goals? I would love for you to share with me. I am sure I can learn from you. If you have a question or need some advice, please feel free to ask me anything! I am also always open to your topic suggestions. The topics that have been requested have turned out to be some of the best blogs! I hope 2020 is starting out well for you.
Laughing, Learning and Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R