40 Things I Learned In 40 Years: Birthday Wisdom

Happy birthday to meee, happy birthday to meeeeee, happy birthday to Leeee-eeex, happy birthday to me! Yep, it’s my birthday and I am 40 today (feel free to come wish me happy birthday on instagram!). It doesn’t feel as big as everyone promised me it would, but I still wanted to celebrate by sharing 40 pieces of birthday wisdom: the things I’ve learned over the past four decades.

Please bear in mind that all of these are explicitly related to me, so please don’t take any of them personally or to heart if they don’t exactly match your experiences or beliefs. They’re not entirely serious – although some definitely are- but I think all of them are worth considering. Also, as will become very obvious, these are not unique thoughts to me (“‘don’t save things for best?’ Groundbreaking”) but sometimes the most clichéd wisdom is clichéd for a reason. Also, don’t worry, regular rosacea content will resume after this post – I’m not making a bizarre turn into Buzzfeed-esque listicle content!

Birthday wisdom, let’s go.

  1. ‘Good for you, not for me’. We all like different things so don’t yuk other people’s yums. If they’re not hurting anyone, leave them to it.
  2. Bath sheets are vastly superior to bath towels. Life’s too short to decide between covering either nipples or butt.
  3. Don’t mistake drama for love. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s worth it.
  4. Rest isn’t a reward. It’s essential part of life to keep you sane and functional. The saying is true: ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’.
  5. You are not too much. They’re just not enough.
  6. Causing people to do their *real* laugh is the best feeling in the world. Snorters, wheezers, and barkers unite!
  7. The world doesn’t end if you’re not as hairless as a freshly polished porpoise below the neck.
  8. ‘Guilty pleasures’ are a nonsense. Like what you like with absolutely no shame.
  9. Don’t take yourself too seriously. There’s nothing more boring than a person who can’t laugh at themselves.
  10. You won’t be for everyone, just like everyone isn’t for you. That’s okay.
  11. You don’t have to explain your life choices to anyone. Someone will always have a (loud) opinion, but you don’t have to engage or take their opinion on board.
  12. The phrase ‘I don’t think we’ll ever agree on this, so let’s change the subject’ is sometimes easier and kinder for everyone involved.
  13. Commenting on other people’s appearance is boring and unnecessary.
  14. Accept that you will need to buy new hair bobbles, hair pins, and trainer socks every year. No one knows where they go, don’t think too much about it.
  15. You were a horrible teenager. Accept it, apologise, and stop dwelling on it.
  16. Take more photos. Of everything. Your phone is right there in your hand!
  17. Adopt a dog. They will fill your heart with more love and joy than you can even believe.
  18. Prioritise going to the dentist even though you hate it and have better (read: more fun) things to spend your money on. Your teeth are a finite resource and root canals are hell on earth.
  19. You have to carve out time for the things you love. Ringfence time in your day/week for hobbies and passions, otherwise they’re the first things to be jettisoned when you’re busy, sad, or stressed.
  20. Saving things ‘for best’ is silly. Wear the perfume, use the pretty notebook, light the candle.
  21. In the immortal words of Self Esteem, “getting married isn’t the biggest day of your life, all the days you get to have are big”.
  22. On the days when you only have 50% in your tank, if you only give 50% you have given it your all. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
  23. ‘Saw this and thought of you’ is one of the smallest and nicest things you can say to a person.
  24. Dried flowers last ages and bring just as much joy as a fresh bouquet. Look out for fresh flowers you can dry yourself at home (gypsophila, hydrangea, amaranth, delphinium, yarrow are all nice).
  25. Socialising drains your battery, and admitting this to people and ensuring you have some downtime afterwards is key to avoiding either crying, snapping at people, or a loud and snotty combination of both.
  26. Starting hobbies (then discarding them after two weeks) appears to be main part of your personality. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
  27. You don’t have to be polite to people who don’t deserve it.
  28. The grass is greener where you water it.
  29. Changing careers is terrifying and a risk but you’re not too old and it’s not too late.
  30. You don’t have the same body you did in your 20s. That’s okay.
  31. Happiness and contentment are not the same thing. Strive for the latter, appreciate the former when it comes to stay.
  32. You will continue to change and evolve. This is scary and exciting and intimidating and liberating. Embrace the many ‘new you’s as they arrive, be thankful and gracious to the ‘old you’s as they pass.
  33. You have to feel your feelings. I know, I’m sorry, but you can’t ignore them or hurry them along. Give them time, acknowledge them, name them, and then let them do their thing.
  34. Progress is the goal, not perfection.
  35. Marrying your best friend is a fantastic idea. Treasure and maintain that friendship.
  36. Gin and ginger ale is an elite drink. Thank me later.
  37. Don’t take criticism from people you wouldn’t go to for advice.
  38. If they wanted to, they would. Stop making excuses for them.
  39. It’s refreshing to say any of the following: ‘I don’t know enough about that to have an opinion’; ‘I didn’t know that, I’ve changed my mind’; or ‘please can you explain that to me?’
  40. Your appearance is the least interesting thing about you. I promise.

I hope you enjoyed my birthday wisdom. Let me know below if any of these resonated with you, or what wisdom you would like to share with others.

Lex

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