I'm damn happy to be turning 40. When I hear people complain about birthdays, I always wonder if they've considered the alternative. You only stop growing older when you expire, and I'm hoping that won't happen for quite a while.
I took some photos to celebrate the fact that I'm still kickin' - in fabulous cake shoes that I bought for the occasion. I briefly considered waiting until I lost a little weight, or until I could get some sort of filler pumped in my face. It was a momentary flashback to my twenties, when I was convinced that I looked like hammered hell. Seeing images from that time reminds me how beautifully young I actually was, so I've decided to see myself that way right now.
I spent too much of my first 40 years avoiding the camera, missing opportunities and skipping dessert. The search for perfection and the weight of other people's goals is like my backpack at the end of a day at Disneyland: way too heavy and full of expensive shit. It's useful for a couple of days at the theme park, but the best part is unpacking the bag, keeping the memories and throwing the unnecessary garbage in the trash.
I often pin quotes around my home until they stick in my head. I recently posted this pearl from Wayne Dyer: "Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed." It's a call to take the time, see the sights, eat the cake - and a reminder make them priorities.
Since I get to write my own playbook, I've decided to do just that. Here's a bit of chosen wisdom that's replaced my unnecessary garbage:
We aren't meant to be perfect, we're meant to be whole, Jane Fonda: perfection is not a human condition. Even if it was, there are too many categories to be perfect in: appearance, career, parenting, spirituality... the "screamers' row" of bleachers at children's sporting events and the cast of Botched is full of folks searching for something I never want to find. I aim to grow, to improve, to do my best - whatever that looks like. I hope that filling my life with good vibes and forward movement will teach my kiddo to do the same.
Be impeccable with your word, Don Miguel Ruiz: it's more challenging than it sounds. Being impeccable with my words means speaking my real truth, and being mindful of how, why, and what I'm sharing. The first step to the process is knowing how I REALLY feel. I've always been good about keeping commitments to others, but being impeccable means saying no when I want to, even if the reason I'm refusing someone's invitation is because I simply don't want to go. It's about honoring myself and respecting others enough to tell them what they can and cannot expect from me. It's removing resentment because I was honest from the start. It's avoiding gossip and negative self-talk. It's something I work on every day, and it has changed my life. If you haven't read the Four Agreements, I suggest you get a copy, like now.
Run your own race, Joel Osteen: I've had to learn this lesson so many times, I should've gotten it tattooed backwards on my forehead when I was 22. I was born with unique abilities and gifts, and so were you. If I was meant to play in the WNBA or rock a runway, I wouldn't be 5'3. If I was meant to be exactly like my father, I'd have been born male, thirty years earlier. Comparison is the biggest thief of happiness - even when I'm doing "better" than someone else, I'm looking externally for validation. Then the universe provides proof that someone else is "better" than me... and the cycle starts again. I'm way happier when I admire Serena Williams, while also being proud of myself for getting through a tennis game without smacking myself (or anyone else) in the head.
Getting older is inevitable, but aging is optional, Claudette Hayes: it's the absolute truth. Dolly Parton and Cher are 71. Nigella Lawson is 57. Ina Garten is 69. Iris Apfel is 95, still rocking badass glasses + turquoise fur while doing cool shit. That's a life goal if I've ever heard one. My age doesn't define me, other than to confirm years of experience. Acting my age, dressing my age or feeling my age is a function of my mindset, not my timeline.
A party without cake is just a meeting, Julia Child: ain't that the truth. I've decided the rest of my life is going to be a celebration - which means I'll be including cake, thankyouverymuch.
You can check out my 40th birthday photos + playlist here (expect Ludacris & Flo Rida). I'd love to know what your favorite piece of wisdom is.
XO as always -