Despite dreading turning 40 for the past 6 months I woke on my 40th birthday feeling no different than before (other than a whopping cold sore which I’m hoping isn’t an omen for the year ahead!) Loads of people (over the age of 40) have told me that 40 is still young but I can’t believe that I am now at the age that I considered to be “an old person” when I was at school.
Still, I know that there are lots of people who have never reached 40 who would swap places with me in a heartbeat and so for every day of my 40 years and all that is yet to come, I am incredibly grateful. Today, I want to just jot down a few things that I have learned along the way. Maybe you disagree or have learned similar things on your own journey, I would love to know. Some of my musings may be quite profound, others may be a little bit random but I think that sums me up perfectly. So, without further ado and in no particular order here are just a few of the things I have learned in my four decades (with some photographs of me for your entertainment)…
That the things that matter to me most in friends are honesty, loyalty and laughter.
That the friends who know you inside out and upside down will never judge you, will be there despite the time lapses and are worth holding on to.
That baked beans are rank! Fact
That cheese is life! Another fact
That I have a need to be acknowledged but cringe when I am praised.
That I love organizing people and events!
That being a mother changes you in a way that really makes you understand how hard it’s been for your own mother over the years and how the times you were a pain in the ass or hard to reach must have hurt her.
That the love for your offspring is unconditional (thank God – see the point above)
That some things feel impossible at the start but always get easier with practice e.g driving lessons and using tampons. I swear I could pop one in on a bus stop now without anyone knowing.
That I hate baths – lying in my own filth is gross
That my decisions are driven by my intuition, I follow my heart more than my head which is great in some ways and hard in others
That I adore reading and need to make more time to lose myself in a good book
That cheese is life!
That standing apart from a crowd and saying no when they are heading in a direction you don’t want to travel is one of the hardest and bravest things a person can do.
That antidepressants are never for the weak and that struggling is so much worse than asking for help.
That my self-worth is determined by how much I earn. This is great when I am having a good month and catastrophic when I am not.
That love never leaves us even when people do.
That every experience teaches a lesson if we are only willing to see it.
That regrets are a total waste of energy.
That my natural Dad failed because he just didn’t know how to parent, not because he didn’t love me in his own way (that took over 30 years to realise)
That I love artwork which appears as one thing close up and something else at a distance (Follow Craig Alan artwork!)
That I can respect someone I dont like but I cannot like someone I dont respect.
That my Mum was right when she said that a side ponytail looked like the other one had been chopped off. Gutted.
That who you marry matters so much more than where you marry them.
That money can’t buy happiness but it is important nevertheless
That flavoured gin is divine
That everyone has a purpose in the world, we just need to find it.
That I am in love with Julia Roberts
That I absolutely have to learn the lyrics to songs and often get very attached to their meanings
That grief is a physical pain sometimes
That making people proud of me means everything to me
That I’m a dog person and not a cat person
That drinking for pleasure and not just to get wasted is an enjoyable thing
That hangovers are horrendous
That throwing up in a waste paper bin when you work in a bank on a Saturday morning is never cool (see the point above)
That sometimes you grow into a name – I hated being called Charlene as a child, now I love it!
That I love going out in a wig (but apparently I am much quieter as a brunette – go figure!)
That eating asparagus makes your pee smell REALLY funky!!
That you can love someone but not be in love with them
That sometimes silence says more than words and that I don’t always have to have the last word
That mojito is my favourite cocktail
That mind control would be my superpower of choice (it took about 35 years for me to decide on that one)
That sometimes, when you stop trying to find love, it finds you.
That I bloody love lists
Did I mention that cheese is life?
I’m sure there are more than this and its a list I am constantly thinking about and adding to but for now, this is what I will leave you with. Maybe I’ll write another one when I reach the grand old age of 50 *drinks more gin and takes a bite of cheddar from the block*
(Disclaimer, there are more than 40 things. I got carried away)
If you are still awake and enjoyed this blog then check out the section on my website called ‘Just Charlie‘ for more of my random musings 🙂