Something weird happens when you turn 40…. you kind of grow up…. or at least, that’s how it feels for me. It’s like I hit my 40’s and what used to be so important to me, quite suddenly simply isn’t anymore. I look back on my 20’s and my 30’s and there are so many things I wish I could go back and teach my younger self. So many mistakes I made, some of which I still regret and live with the consequences of today… at the tender age of 43.
But over the last year or so, I’ve become aware of changes that are happening within me and the further I move into my 40’s the more noticeable these become and the more I realize I’m changing.
So here, without further adieu, are the list of things I wish I’d known in my 20’s and 30’s:
That big house your heart so desires – it’s not all that!
Well now I have it…. and I’d give anything to go back and live in my small house. Anything. Don’t get me wrong. I love our house and I love receiving compliments on our house…. but the bills and expenses that go along with running a big house… ja that’s not so much fun. Everything doubles, even silly things that you don’t think about when you’re buying, like your shopping bill because guess what? A big house uses 3 times the amount of floor cleaner, a house with 3 bathrooms needs 3 times the amount of bathroom cleaners. It also requires more water, so you water bill is higher, your electricity bill is higher and your rates and taxes triple. All in… I miss the days when my life was simpler, when I had a smaller house.
And the cars…. lets not talk about the cars. There was a time when I was obsessed with how a car was a status symbol. Where the flashier and nicer the car, the more I’d like it. Now…. well now I drive an 8 year old Toyota Fortuner that’s PAID OFF and costs next to nothing to service and maintain and gets a ton of mileage out of a tank of gas. Thanks, I’ll just drive that till the wheels fall off and we have to scrap it. But I’ll pass on giving up even more of my expendable income to spend money on a car that I can’t eat or live in should times get tough. It’s literally a mode of transport that takes me to and from work as safely as possible and on the occasional weekend away. And if I have to get a new car, I want something small and dinky, with a big boot that drives on a sniff of petrol and is cheap to maintain.
Brands and labels… nope, ah-ah… I just don’t care anymore! There was a time when wearing the right brand of jeans or takkies was really important to me. Not so much anymore. Actually, not at all anymore. I don’t covert brands at all, not anymore, whether it’s jeans, a handbag or shoes. I simply don’t care. All that matters is does it fit? Is it comfortable and is it under R200 bucks because then I want it, otherwise, hell no… I have more important things to spend my cash on, like my kids education or simply putting healthy food on the table.
Not everyone is going to like me. And really I’m ok with it. And it’s taken me most of my life to reach this point. You don’t like me? Cool. No problem. I just really have reached the point where I’ve realized I don’t like everyone so it’s totally ok if every one doesn’t like me either. Same applies to differences of opinion. I am very opinionated but I have reached the point in my life where I don’t care if you don’t agree with me. In the past, I would have gone out of my way to prove my opinion, not anymore…. But I’ve also learned that I don’t know it all and that sometimes listening and introspection can lead to new perspectives.
Have a good time and forget about what other people think because life is short. So just enjoy it. I have no problems in this area, much to Walter’s horror (he has nicknamed me Party Girl) so what, I like to have a good time with my friends, I don’t drink and drive and certainly not with my children so who am I hurting? No one. I’m going to enjoy myself, in a responsible manner!
Here are a few other things that have happened since I turned 40:
- Mean what I say and say what I mean – not everyone loves this, but it is what it is.
- I’ve also got better at introspection and analyzing my reactions to situations before going postal… something I was notorious for as a younger woman – my nickname was BA (Bad Attitude)
- Experiences are worth everything… stuff is worth nothing!
- It costs nothing to be polite and friendly
- Quality time with family and friends is so much more valuable than the food served or the table decorations
- It’s not always someone elses fault, sometimes it is my fault. If I make a mistake or an error, I made a point of owning it and claiming it.
- My friends are my everything, every one of them are so special to me and fulfill a part of my life, a piece of my puzzle and I wouldn’t get by without their support, help and cheering. You are all priceless and so very very precious to me.
- Take risks and seize opportunities
And then I saw this and I loved it…. I agree 100%