Thursday, March 1, 2018


I'm sitting on the couch on my 41st birthday as I type this. It's raining and it has been a pretty ordinary day with little fanfare except for lunch with co-workers and lots of  "Happy Birthday" wishes. That's totally fine with me. I'm not very good at being the center of attention and a day with no crazy schedules to juggle and some simple time with my family is pretty much the best gift I can think of - along with a back rub and ordering in for dinner so I don't have to cook. Last year, I was less than excited about turning 40, but, obviously, I survived because here I am. 

It's fitting, I suppose, that this week's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is "When I think about life's lessons" because milestones like birthdays have a way of making us look back at where we've been, what we've been through, and what we have learned. At 41, I've certainly learned a few things about life, but I'm certain I have a lot more to learn, too. I definitely don't have all the answers. Does anyone? 
A few things I've learned . . . . 
Work hard. There's rarely an excuse for giving less than your best. The final outcome may not be perfect or even very good, but you can still feel good about it if you gave it your all.

Be civil. I think, right now, our world needs a lot more of this one. You don't have to agree with everyone on every issue, but fighting about it almost NEVER solves the problem. Instead of arguing, TALK. Have an honest conversation. Be open to hearing someone else's point of view - not because you need to be persuaded into agreeing with them, but so that you can understand why they think and feel the way they do. Hopefully, they will return that respect.

Your parents were probably right. As I've gotten older and parented my own kids, I've heard my parents' voices in my head so many times. Occasionally, I hear them coming out of my mouth, too! I'm sure I rolled my teenage eyes or mumbled under my breath about how ridiculous their advice was. Now, I'm telling my children many of those same things and they are rolling their eyes at me. Karma. 

Don't be afraid to ask for help. This is one I'm sure I learned the hard way and that I tried to teach my middle daughter just today. We sometimes make ourselves crazy trying to do something - or lots of things - because we are afraid that asking for help makes us look weak. On the contrary, I believe asking for help takes courage and a real self awareness to know when it's time to reach out to someone else. 

Love deeply. Days may seem long, but life is short. Tell the people you love that you love them every chance you get because tomorrow isn't guaranteed. That sounds super cliche, I know, but it's true! 

Laugh. Smile. Find joy. Again, life is too short to spend it focusing on the negative things. Find the positive. Be a glass-half-full kind of person.

Everyone is struggling with something, so be kind. It may be something obvious like the loss of a loved one or an illness. However, it may also be something that you never see like personal finances or depression. Big or small, major or minor, everyone has their crosses to bear. Be kind. Offer joy.

Be yourself. I've struggled most of my life with accepting myself and learning to love myself just as I am. But, I don't think I've ever tried to make myself into someone I'm not. After all, there's nobody else on earth who is just like me - the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you spend your energy being "fake," you - or someone else - will almost surely end up disappointed. 

And, finally . . . . 

Birthdays really aren't so bad. No matter what your age, birthdays are as joyful or depressing as you make them. As my dad says, having another birthday is better than the alternative! 

By the way, my most favorite thing I've ever written is also a list of lessons - Lessons I Want to Teach My Daughters. I've even considered turning it into a book. If you're up for a few more words of Golden Spoons Wisdom, check it out! :-) 

Linking up with Kenya, Kristi, and lots of other FTSF-ers for Finish the Sentence Friday.



Janine Huldie said...

Happy 41st Birthday, Lisa. I am right behind you turning 41 in June. Couldn’t agree with all your lessons and than some here! 😉

Kenya said...

I remember being really worked up about turning 40 and then 41 was a piece of cake. Now I'm closer to 50 I'm going to try to look forward to it because it is indeed better than the alternative.

Kristi Rieger Campbell said...

Aw, love this, Lisa! And happy happy birthday. I wish I'd thought of "Your parents were probably right" because OMG so true. And yeah, birthdays are just birthdays. I was ok with 40, but 30 was so hard for me. I think because I wasn't in a good place. It's more about contentment than age, I think, although wow, am I dreading 50 which is way too close for comfort these days!

Kristi Rieger Campbell said...

PS I love that we had a few of almost-the-same ones!

clarkfarley said...

Happy Birthday.
The original opportunity to appreciate the fundamental relativeness of life, i.e. "41 is to 21 as 61 is to..."

I liked your points ( of the important things to learn as we live our lives)... a number of them I totally identify with (well,, the intention, if not the actualization...)

Have a good 14,965th day celebration!*

*no, maturity is, apparently not a qualification for participation in this 'hop.... lol

Tamara Bowman said...

Aw.. Lisa! Happy Birthday! Isn't 41 a Dave Matthew Band song? If so, it's one of my favorites. And yes, my parents were SO right in so many ways. I love the civility, kindness and grace that accompanies (most of) us with aging. You have it in spades. I always thought so.

Dana said...

My dad says that same thing! It's true, and I remind myself of that whenever I find myself grumbling about my age. I hope you had a wonderful birthday, Lisa! I'm thankful to call you friend.

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