I just celebrated a big birthday. 40. I can hardly believe it. But it came and went with very little reverie as I have spent the last week sick. Really sick. I am on the mend and slowly getting caught up on work and life. And I realized that I would be amiss in not blogging about this occasion. The birthday, not the illness!
I have never been hung up on age. It has never really mattered to me, one way or another, and I have never (at least in my adult life) felt defined by a number. I am a big believer in aging well and living a healthy life to maintain good health. Even when I was thinking about turning 40, and watching my Facebook friends from high school pass this milestone, nothing really resonated with me. There was no shocking moment. No questioning where I am, who I am, what I am.
I have also developed a low-key birthday attitude. For myself at least. I don't like to do too much. A nice dinner at home. A nice day with my family. Certain things are important- cards, flowers, and bacon.
I joked the other day that I hope the six months after my 40th are better than the six months leading up to it. While I am very grateful for my life, as you know, these past few months haven't been easy. I really do believe that the next 6 months will be fantastic. But before we start talking about the future, I thought I would share a few things that I have learned about life so far.
1. Be polite. It should go without saying, but I have most definitely learned that being kind, polite, generous and patient with others is not only good for those around you, its good for you too. How we speak to others is how our children will speak to others. So we use a lot of please and thank you in our home. You can never be too kind.
2. Be patient. With yourself, with others, with the world. Choices happen in mere moments, but change takes time. Trust that if you make the right choices, the right change will happen.
3. Be open-minded. As a child, I went to Sunday School and Church. As a teenager I volunteered at the Jewish Community Center. What I learned in many years of knowing people of different faiths, is that there is something to be said for respecting the beliefs of others. My philosophy is that your beliefs are your truth. There is a difference between not agreeing with others and disrespecting others. I am very careful to show my children tolerance, open-mindedness, and a non-judgmental attitude about others. I do believe that this, plus kindness, is the foundation of peace.
4. Be optimistic. Positive people are happier. Why? They are choosing to be happy. Happiness, I have learned, is a choice. Providing you are an adult with free will and shelter and a full belly, I believe happiness is a choice. And there are even some without these things that choose happiness. It isn't hard to be happy. The best place to start is to look around you and say, do I have what I need? Chances are, you do. And so, why wouldn't you be happy with that? But this doesn't preclude being ambitious and wanting more. Ambition and drive actually make me happy. When I am not moving my life in a direction is when I am discontent.
5. Be real. Figure out who you are and be you. You are good enough as you are. You are, in fact, perfect as you are. You are meant to be where you are, who you are, and what you are in this moment. Years ago I went through a horrible break-up and a rough time in my life. I could be resentful or bitter. But now, I realize that all of that happened to bring me to the moment when my future husband walked through the doors of my Starbucks to apply for a job. Life has a way of putting you where you are supposed to be. And I would not have been there had I not been through that mess. And part of who I am is all that mess, that history, and everything after.
From the beginning of Kimberley's Kitchen, I have been real with you. Thank you for sharing, for laughing along with me, and most of all, for supporting me and reminding me that I love this. You are the reason I do this.
Here's to 40 more...