40 Things I Learned Before I Turned 40: Part Two

6 Jun

reflectionWhenever you hit a milestone in life, it’s only natural to reflect on what’s come before and pick out the takeaways you want to bring with you as you move forward.

I guess that’s my clunky, long-winded way of saying my 40th birthday (it’s tomorrow; maybe you’ve heard me mention something about it?) has resulted in me doing a bit of soul searching and reflection.

Last week, I shared the first 20 in my list of 40 things I’ve learned in my first 40 years of living. Today it’s time to share the second half of the list. (Unranked, just for the record.)

Sure, I’m no Navy Seal. But we all have our life lessons. These are some of mine.

21. You’re only as old as you feel.

22. It’s important to be comfortable with yourself, and with spending time alone, but life is so much better with people in it.

23. Anyone who can call a sibling one of their best friends is fortunate, indeed.

24. Any list of the best movies made in the last 40 years has to include There Will Be Blood, Memento, Rushmore, and Once.

25. You can think you know everything there is to know about your parents, but you’re wrong. There will always be surprises when you least expect them.

26. At least once every year, it’s good to do something that scares the crap out of you, tests your limits, and reminds you to put things in perspective. For example, when I turned 30, I jumped out of a plane from 10,000 feet above the ground. How could I ever be scared to do something after that?

27. Eventually, the rhythm is gonna get you.

28. The government needs to do a better job of helping the people who need it.

29. Your niece and nephews can call you whatever they want to call you, no matter how ridiculous or silly it is.

30. The real leaders aren’t necessarily the loudest people in the room. They’re the ones who are actually getting things done and setting the example for everyone else.

31. It’s fun to play tourist in your own city every now and then.

32. The best thinking always happens when you’re in the shower.

33. The right words make your writing more exciting. Not adding exclamation points.

34. You should never trust someone who calls him/herself an “expert.” Or a “guru.” Or a “ninja.” Etc. etc.

35. “Two peanuts were waking down the street, and one was assaulted” is still the best joke of all time.

36. You have to strike while the iron’s hot.

37. If you don’t celebrate your own accomplishments and skills, no one else will either.

38. When someone is trying to provoke you, you should never take the bait. Never.

39. Keeping up with the Joneses is stupid, because they don’t care what you’re up to. The only person you’re competing with is yourself.

40. Your real friends are the people who stick around when times get tough, not the ones who only come around to have fun. That said, you need people to celebrate good times with, too. I’m lucky to have plenty of both kinds of friends in my life.

And a bonus lesson, just for good measure …

41. I still have so much left to learn.

On that note, I look forward to learning much more in my next 40+ (I hope) years. But in the meantime, if I heed these lessons, I’ll be off to a good start.

What are YOUR favorite life lessons? Are any on this list? Let me know in the comments section below.

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3 Responses to “40 Things I Learned Before I Turned 40: Part Two”

  1. Deb June 6, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    1) Say “yes” to all life has to offer… life is short & has more twists & turns, ups & downs than you might expect. This chance may never come by again.

    2) It’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations. It’s better to be true to myself and loved by a few people you care about, than to be liked by everyone.

    3) When things get tough, just hold on to your umbrella and have fun splashing in the puddles. The sun will always come out again.


  1. A Letter to Myself on My 40th Birthday | Martin's Musings - June 5, 2016

    […] to be happy about: Many people say life begins at 40. There’s so much to look forward to. So much still left to learn and do. So much life still to come. We know plenty of people who didn’t come into their own, […]

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