Tuesday, December 4, 2018

15 Things That I've Learned So Far In My 40's

In a few short days, I'll be hitting the midway point between 40 and 50. Yep. The big 45. I'll no Despite the jokes, it doesn't bother me at all. As I've told the people I keep in contact with, my 40's have been quite awesome for so many reasons...

1. I'm a Work at Home Dog Mom. We have 5 rescue kids that include 4 pups and a guinea pig. Life is crazy busy. Very little goes as planned. I don't get a lot of sleep. I also don't get days off or vacations. Being a Work at Home Dog Mom is a 24/7 job. But, I wouldn't change a thing. It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my entire life.

2. I no longer sugarcoat stuff. Although I'm considerate about how I present things, I don't sugarcoat what I have to say. Nothing good ever derives from saying what you think the other person wants to hear.

At times, I do bite my tongue because I'm fully aware, despite all efforts, what I have to say will immediately classify me as the proverbial asshole. But, on the flip side, it eventually comes out in bits and pieces.

Or, at the very least, my not-so-great poker face gives it away.

3. I write in my voice. This has always been a struggle, but this year, my goal isn't to please the masses. Those days are done and over with. This blog is about sharing our Bodacious Dog Mom Life. The good stuff. The funny stuff. The messy stuff. And everything between. If anyone is offended by what I write or "thinks I'm coming down on them," so be it.

I keep details confidential. I don't mention specific names. I make sure that if anyone reads about certain things I'm struggling with, they aren't able to pinpoint the direct person or situation at fault. I do this because my intention is never to bash anyone or publicly criticize.

However, if anything that I write pings a nerve, as I always say, if the shoe fits, wear it and if you don't like it, move on. No one is forcing you to read this blog.

4. I have freed myself from a few services that I have provided over the years. That includes, but is not limited to, Ghost Writing, Academic and Independent Living tutoring, offering generous discounts on client services, and working for arrogant and overzealous entrepreneurs who waste my time and efforts. Since freeing myself at the beginning of this year, the amount of stress in my life has decreased exponentially.

5. I don't hesitate to share our methodical, Old School upbringing. At times, that makes people feel uncomfortable. Especially those who are young adults. And, their parents who are in their 30's. For example...

Before Lisa and I were old enough to get "official" jobs, we did side work to earn money. That included mowing lawns, shoveling driveways during the winter, babysitting, running errands, and assisting with other odds and ends jobs. When we were 15, we got real jobs. We worked our tails off during Summer vacations.

At the ages of 18 and 19, we were both working full time plus. Lisa worked 2 full time jobs when she was 19 to earn enough money to buy a car. On my end, I was going to vocational college full time during the week and working full time in addition because I had rent and bills to pay.

During that time and beyond, we had very little, if any, free time. On most occasions, we had to decline plans to go out with our friends because we were working. The word "bored" wasn't in our vocabulary. We didn't waste our time. We worked hard for what we had.

When I share those stories and beyond, the generations after ours tend to get a bit squeamish. The teens and young adults, along with their parents, start doling out excuses as to why they, or their kids, haven't come close to that. In the more extreme cases, the parents start distancing themselves from us because, well...

Despite that, I will never again be hesitant to share our history because that's what our elders have taught us. The majority of our elders have passed on over the past few years. We will continue to share these stories to keep their memories alive. And maybe, just maybe, someone will learn from them as we have.

6. I've ditched The Poker Face. More often then not, my expression says all. I don't even have to open my mouth.

7. I honestly don't care what people think. This tends to apply to much of the above and beyond. At this stage in my life, I am who I am. I write what I want to write. I speak and write in my own voice. I'm not interested in pleasing the masses. I speak honestly. I expect the same from others.

I'm not going to agree with you if I don't agree with you. I'm not going to cave to the smoke and mirrors charade and the excuses. Trust me, those only last for so long.

8. I'm not a doormat. I'm not going to continue doing stuff for those who take advantage of our services, don't follow through with payment, don't follow through with other stuff, or continue to make excuses for their shortcomings.

Our time is just as valuable as everyone else's. We have VERY little free time, even on the weekend and 'bout near to none during the week. So, if we help you out with something, it's because we love you unconditionally and value our relationship.

But, please don't mistake our kindness for weakness or the desire for acceptance or a plea for desperation.


If you do, which some people have this year, we won't get angry or revengeful. What will happen is that we won't waste our time again.

9. I don't need validation. I'm not perfect. Nor, do I care to be. I've made my fair share of mistakes. I've done my best to make restitution. I've lived. I've learned. I've become wiser. I have a big heart. I give. I forgive. I believe in spreading kindness each and every day.

In the here and now, most people probably wouldn't give me a second glance. I'm curvy. I have bodily imperfections that I struggle with most days. Due to a few bad decisions in the past, I have chronic pain that I deal with on a daily basis. I walk with a slight limp. I have a TBI that I've dealt with for many, many years.

But, I'm here. Alive. Doing good. Productive. Hard working. Contributing to the goodness of each and every day that extends beyond our home. I'm grateful to be alive.

If anyone wants to judge my appearance, my shape, my skin, the frequent times I repeat myself, and beyond, fine. I can't control that. What I can control is my response to those situations.

I am good enough. I am enough. If anyone else thinks otherwise...

10. Listen to your elders. Times have changed, yes. We're amid such a remarkable time of digital technology and such. But, there is SO much that tech and digital advances cannot replace.

That's kind of where your elders come in and it doesn't matter how old you are. You listen and learn.

There is NO app to replace working hard whether that be school or work, the expectations your parent/s have in YOU contributing to the household you live in, being present, and realizing there is life and real people beyond your social media streams and chat rooms.

Sure, you may have to forgo and sacrifice the fun plans you'd rather have and the desire of spending money on frivolous crap, but, at the end of the day, trust me, you'll be a little bit ahead of the game.

Long story short, and what I used to attempt to get into the heads of my Independent Living Tutoring students and their parents...

At the age of 18, if you do not have the means, capability or motivation of surviving on your own if something were to happen to your parent/s, then there's a problem. That problem stems from not only the student, but the parent.

When parents reply with, "At the age of 18, my child is still a baby," I guffaw.

Okay. In your world, sure. They'll always be your baby even when they're 30...

But, in the world we live in, the age of 18 marks the age of majority.

And when your human child graduates from high school, they should have a plan or at least be working full time until they figure out what direction they're heading in.

Those are a few of the many values and morals that our elders taught us. They weren't afraid to bold and put their foot down or dole out a little, or a lot, of tough love.

11. Don't sweat the small stuff. Seriously, don't. If you're having company over and there are a few dishes in the sink, that's okay. If the baseboards aren't dusted, that's okay. If your hamper is full of dirty clothes, that's okay.

I've learned not to go into hyper mode with a lot of stuff.

The sky won't fall. The Earth won't crumble. Life as we know it will continue.

12. Be in the moment. In this day and age, everyone is always too busy. Last week, a friend of ours said, "I was so busy today that I forgot to eat" like it was cool. As if she was waiting for her badge of recognition because she was too busy to eat.

Although I frequently mention how crazy busy our days are, that doesn't stop us from putting the world on mute and simply being in the moment. For us that includes anything from watching the many species of birds at our buffet of feeders in the front yard to escaping for a few hours to hit up some yard sales or holiday craft shows.

Never allow yourself to get so busy that you don't have the time to be in the moment, touch base with a friend, extend a random act of kindness, and exhale. Put your phone down. Life is short.

13. Be happy, content, and satisfied with your home. Our home is small. It's not extravagant. It's an older house so there are flaws. The floors creak in certain areas. It's far from contemporary. But, we love it. We've lived here since July of 2012. It's cozy. Inviting. Warm. It's decorated with items that have stories behind them. It's a happy place.

14. Take the time to cook something homemade. Eat real food. Use real ingredients. We've transitioned from eating take-out food a few times a week to only eating it once a month. The rest of the time, we feast on homemade meals and snacks.

We've been making homemade meals and snacks for our kids for years. 

Over the past year, I've put in more effort to make items that we used to buy at the store. That includes, but is not limited to jams, breads, pasta sauce, pizza, tortillas, salad dressings, marinades, Lisa's work snacks, and pie crust. In the months ahead, I'll be adding to that list.

We've noticed a huge difference in how we feel all the way around. We're healthier and a lot of physical ailments have faded.

15. Stop striving for perfection. Lisa and I embrace the concept of Wabi Sabi. We joke and say that we're all misfits. We're unconventional. We learned years ago that striving for perfections is not only stressful, but it's impossible. Perfection does not exist.

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