I remember as a kid thinking that I would never make it to 40. To me 40 was so old. I always said I don’t want to live past 60. No lie! With each passing decade, I would push it back. Ok, 70 doesn’t look too bad and now as I am embarking on my last year in my 40s, I am thinking that hey, 80 is looking pretty good. LOL!
As I approach 50, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life up until now, lessons learned, and things I still want to do!
This blog is about the important lessons that though I wish I had known then what I know now, I understand that these lesson came at the time I was ready to receive them. I am not going to share 50 lessons, but I will share a few important lessons from my 20’s, 30s and 40s.
In my 20s, I was already married. I got married, had my first by 23, bought a house, two new cars, worked. I had lots of friends and my family. By 25, I was separated. All of the wives from our circle dropped me, except for two. I guess I was contagious. I noticed that the wives who dropped me were the ones that would run their mouths at get togethers. Talking about how horrible their husbands were, and how they checked their phones, and lied about going out.
In the beginning of my marriage, I was like hey! My husband is great and so is my marriage. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t leave their marriage if they were so miserable. I noticed that as time went, I started to pick up some of their bad habits. Became negative. Didn’t trust my husband. Wanted to go out and party.
We started having lots of trust issues, which led to arguments and fights and eventually a separation. These women were by no means the cause of our separation, but I can definitely say that the culture they created influenced me in some ways.
It’s like that saying in spanish “El que anda con perros aprende a ladrar.” He who runs with dogs learns how to bark. Well, I was surrounded by so much negativity, I became unhappy. I started to become like them, miserable, distrustful, at times, many times dishonest.
Instead of trying to make it work, I ran. I wanted out. Marriage was too hard. And all those wives made it seem like it would only get worst. So I left and guess what, many of those women are still with their husbands. Some of them even hit on my ex husband while we were separated and even once we were trying to make things work.
The lessons that I learned is that couples need to KEEP YOUR ISSUES PRIVATE! Nobody needs to know about the argument you had, or that he or she cheated, or didn’t come home. Misery loves company! Men and women alike can be vultures circling, waiting on prey, literally. The minute there is dissent between a couple, especially, if you guys seem to have it all, there is someone waiting to step in and snatch it up. Keep your business to yourself and if you go out after a fight, put on a HAPPY FACE or stay home.
DO NOT CREATE A CULTURE OF MISTRUST by going through pockets, emails and telephones and whatever else these days. Most times when you go looking for something you will find something and unless you are ready to address it, leave it alone.
COMMUNICATION is key! I was a horrible communicator. Didn’t want to talk about the issues, clammed up, shut down. This is the worst thing EVER! Talk, talk, talk, address the issues as quickly as they come. Have weekly or bi weekly check ins just to gauge the relationships’ health status.
REMEMBER YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS SACRED! TREAT IT AS SUCH!
Moving along to my 30s! Well 30s was fun! I had my second daughter at 30 and officially got divorced. But my 30s wasn’t about any relationship lessons, though I learned some more. My 30s was really about my kids and raising them. I learned how observant children are. With today’s technology, we see kids walking around with cell phones and Ipads. We encourage it because half the time we are so busy and exhausted, we welcome the downtime we get when the kids are busy engaged in social media.
We believe they are not paying attention! Well, trust me they are. Kids are really SPONGES! They may be engrossed in their technology and social media, but they are absorbing their environment through their pores- words being spoken, arguments being had, actions of adults, music, people coming and going! They listen as we curse out the jerk who cut us off. Their ears perk as we sit with friends judging or making fun of someone. They feel when we are being not so kind and also when we do something good! Be careful of the things you say or do or who bring around because kids are learning lessons from the people around them and their actions.
And finally to my 40s! Wow this was the age I thought I’d never get to and here I am wrapping this decade up within the next 365 days a year. One lesson is how fast time flies as you get older. The years just start to blend and it really blows my mind. It is also a reminder that there is still a list of things I want to do, places I want to visit, experiences I want to have.
I did a lot of work in my 40s, personally and spiritually! I’ve come to live by two mantras, one a good friend of mine said one day and has stuck with me – “I want to have experiences, not things!- (tweetable!) and the second one is – “Do all things with love.” (bible quote 1 Corinthians 16:14).
These both carry me through out my days. They are part of my gratitude journal writing. I repeat them several times a day especially when I am teaching to remind myself that every person I encounter, student, staff, parent or stranger on the street needs to be dealt with love. This past year, I have really, really worked to embrace the now. To not let stress get to me. To leave work at work. To stay in the present in all activities and interactions.
And I have to say that my days are easier and more fulfilling. I focus more on the type of person I want to be rather than being so hard on myself for mistakes made. I forgive myself quicker. I reflect a lot. Even though I’ve been on this spiritual journey for at least 20 years, I can say the most growth has occurred in the last couple of years. I am so excited to continue the work in my 50s! To keep learning and growing and living my best life! I am ready to have more experiences, more travel, more learning, more loving and sharing!!!
I went to a birthday party not too long ago, a 50th, and the birthday person, was basically like “ugh” about turning 50. They couldn’t figure out why I was so excited and looking forward to it! I guess to me it’s just another year to do more, be more, be better, kinder, to grow! And hell, everyone knows I love a good party, so 50 is going to be huge!