1. Use eye cream even when you don’t have wrinkles yet. Trust me, they are coming.
2. Limit sun exposure at an early age. Umbrellas are not just for ‘older’ ladies. They are specifically for women who want to look younger when they are forty-something.
3. Money in fact does not grow on trees. And, yes, multiplies a whole lot better when spent on blessing others rather than blessing myself.
4. Wear high heels while you are young. Once you hit a certain age, and yes, it does vary by person, they just aren’t as appealing to your tired feet or weak ankles.
5. Skip as much fake stuff as possible. Water really does help your skin glow and your body be healthier.
6. Staying up too late and getting up too early eventually catches up with you. Rest is important and sleep is a precious gift, especially during those times of infant wake up calls early on as a parent.
7. Listen to those older than you. They have done this. When they tell you that time flies by, it really does. Especially once you have hit that “have to be 21” milestone. Most milestones that follow are accompanied by over-the-hill banners or black balloons. Birthdays are still precious reasons to celebrate, but long gone are the polka-dots and bright colors for them. And, besides, old is just a word.
8. Friendship is God’s way of blessing you and teaching you. And, that no friend is perfect and neither am I. There will be fun times, hard times, and yes, times of separation. But, that is ok. Friends weave themselves into our hearts and always hold that special spot. Near or far. Blessed that my forty-something-years have brought great friendships.
9. Family is a special gift. No matter what your relationship might be with them, they are bringing something to your life that no one else can give. There are some family members that touch your heart day after day. And, others, who may grate on your nerves. But, yes, they have a divine appointment just for you for that season of time. Wishing I could have realized this at a younger age. And, yes, even accepted the trials of family in those hard seasons as a chance to grow and learn.
10. My kids are just that. Kids. There should never be worry or angst over how they act or what they do in public when they are babies and toddlers. Be grateful they are growing and learning and spunky from time to time. As a new mom, I failed at this miserably. I worried over every thing. Spots on their clothes and soiled bibs just shouldn’t matter. Late nap times will not ruin the day, but just might allow us time to create an extra special unexpected memory. Yes, at forty-something, we often look back and want to go back.
11. Things will come and go, but people and experiences, they are what really matters. I remember as a young, twenty-something thinking about all the things I would ‘get’ when I had enough money. Now, at forty-something, often I have enough money, but have no desire for the things. Time is what is so precious. Wishing instead I had planned more adventures. Used my time to touch someone’s life, not wish for the next great thing. Yes, it is not the things that make the life, but the sharing of life that can really touch a heart and drown out the desire for more things. And, it seems, there is never enough time for all that unless you choose to make time.
12. Working is part of His plan. Over the last twenty years I have planned ahead and thought of all the things I would do when I wasn’t working. I have strategically planned my ‘retirement’ date over and over again. I wouldn’t work past 35. Or, 40. Now, 50. Learning that His dates and times are not mine to plan. That He has a beautiful plan and that I need to gratefully embrace His need for me right there, right then, for as long as He needs me. I have been amazed by how faithful He is to use us right where we are. Time and time again.
13. What I choose to pour into my heart and mind will mold my decisions. My music. My reading. My internet usage. My television watching. My movie-going. All of it impacts my heart and my mind. For good or bad. Wishing my days from years gone by had included more of Him and His truth. My battles along the way would have been much easier.
14. Yes, that what is going in is eventually coming out. If my heart is focused on flippant things that the world defines as important, then more than likely my life will be flippant. I can’t imagine the opportunities I may have missed over the years to be intentional. And, to be completely in tune with His purpose for my life.
15. And, most importantly, wishing and hoping my days away just causes time to go by even faster. Maybe settling in and enjoying the ride a little more patiently and gratefully might just make for a happier journey. As long as He is the driver, I will be counting my blessings.