In ten days time I turn 40. I have decided that I don't want to be cold when this happens and so the pilot and I are off to the Philippines in a couple of days time to meet up with one of my best friends, who is also celebrating the big four zero. It is going to be a fantastic trip with her and her partner, full of fun and frivolity. (For anyone who happens to be searching the web looking for houses to rob – don't bother. My parents will be baby sitting the schnauzers while we are away.)
The idea of turning 40 does not bother me as much as the possibility that perhaps I am half way there. I feel like I am only just finding myself and it doesn't seem fair if it took me half my life to do that. And if I am not half way there yet, sometime in the next ten years I will be. This realisation has led me to reflect on the lessons I have learned in my first 40 years.
0-10 I learned how to play and the importance of friends.
10-20 I learned how to study.
20-30 I learned how to live and to love.
30-40 I learned compassion and empathy and some other interesting things:
Looking good isn't as important as feeling good.
It is better to be accepted than to be liked.
I might not care what people think but I should at least respect it.
Disappointment is temporary.
Blood isn't always thicker than water, but when it is it is also stronger than steel.
Ninety-nine percent of the time I can choose how I react to something.
He who speaks the loudest is often the most unsure.
People may dislike me on principle and I shouldn't take it personally.
Confrontation doesn't have to be nasty.
I may never travel to the moon or be a superstar but in the eyes of my parents I have done both.
Everything my father taught me was true. I just had to test it to realise that.
Your relationship should support you, allowing you to face the rest of the world, not consume all your energy.
While money is good, material wealth alone will not make you happy and your health is your most important asset.
Every failure in my life has taught me something far more important than what I failed at.
I also learned some important things about myself:
I love to dance – by myself if I have to.
I prefer a good laugh to a good cry.
I will sacrifice myself instead of others. While this makes me a good leader, I am too soft to be a good boss.
I am strong, I am loyal, I am brave – but not as clever as I think.
I would be happy living in a caravan with my husband.
While my parents loved me and nurtured me the most important thing they gave me was the belief that I could do anything I put my mind to.
So after the first 40 years I have a few people I would like to thank.
Firstly my parents – for your love and support. I know it wasn't always easy sailing, and that at times you thought I had lost my mind, but I think now you realise that I get there in the end.
Secondly my friends and my sister – for being there in the crazy times, the fun times and the sad times. My life to date wouldn't have been as wonderful without all of you.
But lastly I would like to thank my husband – for allowing me to become the person I am through encouragement not criticism, for showing me a brave new world full of adventure and wonder, and for loving me and believing in me even when I didn't deserve it.
Bring on the next 40 years.
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