Turning Forty: Forty Lessons I have learned in Forty Years

40 lessons I learned in forty Years

Wrinkles, gray hair and a mundane life were all the things I was destined to get as a consolation prize for turning forty.

At least, that’s what I thought when I turned twenty. In fact, turning twenty on September 12, 1998, felt like a major milestone and forty felt like it was a million years away. 

I also felt I had lived so much life and convinced the lessons I had learned, up to that point, were going to be enough to get me through all aspects of my future life.

At the “wise” age of twenty, I was working my “dream job”, managing the Estée Lauder counter at Elder-Beerman and it would only be a matter of time before my long time boyfriend would propose marriage. 

Within six weeks of me turning twenty, life took a bit of a turn. I found myself taking a new job, at a clothing store in the same mall, which was kind of cool. What wasn’t cool? My now ex-boyfriend parading his new girlfriend in front of the store I worked in.

I was devastated, embarrassed and convinced I would never find true love again. And, if I felt this bad at twenty, what was my life going to be like at thirty? Or worse, at forty?

I know, dramatic, right?

Flash forward to today, September 12, 2018 - My fortieth birthday. That twenty year old girl seems like she existed a million years ago. Despite a few wrinkles and a few (a-hem) platinum hairs, my life at forty is far from mundane. In fact, it rocks!

Why? When I turned thirty-five, I made a commitment to myself to change the way I wanted life to be like. This commitment required me to put a spotlight on some sh!t I had covered up for a long time. You know, the typical life events we stuff away and try not to think about until there is a more convenient time to deal with it.

News flash…there’s never really a convenient time to deal with it.

From thirty-five to forty, the lessons I have learned from emotionally processing my past has given me the greatest gift of all…freedom. 

Up until today, I wasn’t sure how I was going to sum up the last forty years in a way that did not seem self-serving. 

So, instead of condensing my life’s work into a few short paragraphs, I wanted to shared some of the lessons I have learned, over these last forty trips around the sun, in the hopes you apply one or more of these lessons to your life. I’ve also added some of my favorite quotes.

  1. You’re not forever indebted to anyone…not even family members.

  2. Actions always speak louder that words.

  3. “You can’t give birth to an adult.” - Brian Smith, Founder, UGG Boots

  4. Personal mastery is a team sport.

  5. Confidence comes from doing. “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.” - Mark Twain 

  6. It’s okay to ask for help.

  7. You are what you eat.

  8. “The solution to your biggest problem has already been discovered somewhere else.” - Jeff Hoffman, Co-Founder of Priceline.com

  9. Negative people, trash television and mindless social media scrolling are the biggest soul crushers.

  10. You can’t be everything to everyone.

  11. Always be learning. You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting.

  12. “It isn’t where you came from. It’s where you’re going that counts.” - Ella Fitzgerald

  13. The fastest way to get through your biggest fear is to do the thing you fear.

  14. Everything is hard, until you do it enough…and then, it becomes easy.

  15. “Don’t be an ASKhole.” - Ken Courtright 

  16. Energy is everything.

  17. It’s better to be fascinated than fascinating.

  18. There’s no such thing as try. You either do or you don’t.

  19. “You can’t always get what you want.” - Mick Jagger 

  20. Focus on building quality relationships and be ruthless about eliminating toxic ones from your life.

  21. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude” - Maya Angelou 

  22. You can accomplish anything…as long as you put in the work to make it happen.

  23. “Sometimes, you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” - Dr. Seuss

  24. The common denominator in all your chaos is you.

  25. “How you do anything is how you do everything.” - T. Harv Eker 

  26. Be committed to being of service first…everything else you could ever want to some to you if you follow this principle.

  27. “Seek council, not opinion.” - Greg S. Reid

  28. You attract what you are, not what you want.

  29. Overcoming your biggest challenges means getting to the root of why it’s a challenge to begin with.

  30. Be an advocate for YOU and your health. 

  31. “Your set back is really a set-up for your comeback.” - Miss Florida 2018 Taylor Tyson

  32. Surround yourself with people who challenge you to be better than yesterday.

  33. Knowledge doesn’t have any power until you apply it.

  34. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.” - Helen Keller

  35. Never be content with being the smartest person in the room.

  36. You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream. - C.S. Lewis

  37. Giraffes don’t have vocal chords…(this one won’t make much sense without context. I promise, there’s a great story behind learning this lesson but I will run over my word count if I share it now. Message me if you want the full story.)

  38. Your ability to follow through will determine what opportunities come your way.

  39. If it doesn’t challenge you, you won’t change you.

  40. “Whenever you are asked to commit to something, ask yourself these two questions: 1) Is this in line with my mission and vision? and 2) Is this something I can commit 100% to? If you can’t say yes to BOTH questions, then politely decline the request.” - Robert Riopel

Now, I want to hear from you. Which of these “lessons” resonate with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share your ideas in the comment section below.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next decade.

As always, thank you for being a part of my tribe!

Much love,

Erica