Just around the corner, past the holiday season, I will officially be 40. I have been looking forward to this day for the past 3 years. Why? Let me tell you. As I stated before, (I am a planner) I've been reading a magazine made for women over 40 for the last 3 years! I have been inspired by the new 40, 50 and 60 year young women. I also have to mention, I do like the fashion sense for the women over 40. There are women who are just starting to have children and many with their children all grown up. (Just as I want to have another one in a couple of years, I will have two "grown up" by then.) The women featured in this magazine have found a new chapter in their lives and are developing new talents and defining themselves both as mothers and as workers. Many of the women have faced many challenges and are good role models. The number one reason I like this magazine so much is the wisdom these women have gained and the willingness to share it with us. I wish I could interview some women I know and ask them about their life lessons in each decade of their life.
I wanted to share a few things I've learned in the past two decades that have made the most impact on me and my family. I would love to hear yours.
I know that I didn't really know what I wanted in my 20's. I lived my life with what came at me and not what I went out of my way to make. I also cared way too much about what people thought of me. Such as, I would never, ever, ever, leave the house without being completely dressed up and I would always keep my house immaculate just in case someone came by, even if it meant missing out on having fun with my kids. I learned that people only came by when I was "living" instead of "role playing". In other words, company arrived when my house was a mess, because I was cooking or playing with my kids and the only time they came by when it was clean, was when I planned on having them there and life can't always be planned.
After a divorce, I learned about forgiveness and the atonement. Which I could go into great detail, but won't right now, I will leave that for another time and place, but it was important and I had to mention it.
I learned that people evolve, and just as I can not change over night, even if I really want. It is not my place to expect someone to change. The expectation from our Savior is to love others no matter what. Loving them helps them through their journey. Letting go of control, for instance when someone is not doing what you want them to do, or not going about it, the way you would want them too, I can not judge, I must love. Meaning a greater love is developed. I learned that people only change when they feel they aren't being judged or threatened. You can't expect someone to be where you are, spiritually, physically or mentally and if you try to force it, it just slows them down. They are entitled to their agency and once they feel they own it they will naturally make different choices.
I also learned to be grateful for everything and express my appreciation verbally whenever possible.
Here is an example; when my Mister D does the dishes, I am beaming with joy even into the next morning when I call him at work and say thank you again, for making my life a little easier.
Praise to the man, and you will be a happy woman!
Praise to the man, and you will be a happy woman!
In my 30's I started living by creating moments.I discovered that it was more important to celebrate all the little things with my kids as if they were big things and what we thought were big things were actually little. For instance, getting a good grade on a paper or loosing a tooth was fanfare, a party waiting to happen. Or sometimes just because little G would suggest a purple party or potato chip party or pajama party, we would have one. Then the big things most of us think of, such as all the focus on Christmas presents, became little things to us. One year I decided we would celebrate Christ and have a manger and a palm tree instead of a pine tree with decorations. This made a lasting impression and we now always have a "baby jesus" in a manger and many little mangers, around that are touchable. Also, just as Jesus received one very special gift from each of the wise men, we too would give ONE gift to each of our children. This made it more thoughtful from us and meaningful for them. Of course we have some traditions, such as little goodies in their stocking and a favorite movie along with a boxed "sugar" cereal from Santa Claus for fun.
Giving became a focus in my 30's. We took in 3 brothers making us a family of 9. (oh, how I miss those days.) My children learned valuable lessons on what was a need and what was a want. I would see how far we could stretch our money so we could buy some necessities for the "brothers". I learned how to cook great meals very cheap. I came up with 5 - ten dollar meals that fed 9 people. We learned that what we give is more than what they have. This is also when I stopped worrying about what other people thought about me, and started thinking about what other people needed.
What will the 40's bring? I don't know....maybe a baby, though?