What I have learned up to the age of 44

My birthday is on the 12th.

This is (some) of what I have learned up to the age of 44.

Don’t feel ashamed of your body. It’s taken you through some serious shit by now. Maybe even close to death a few times, possibly without you even knowing it. It carried you through 44 winters, babies (if you had the great gift of carrying one or more), 528 periods, and so many physically stress-filled hard-working days you probably shouldn’t calculate it out for your own sanity.

Your family may not understand you. They may not deserve you. They may not appreciate you. Even so, they are still yours. You can love them for some things, and dislike them for others..that’s ok. You create your tribe. The one thing you must be respectful of is that take them, or leave them..they were the beginning of you. Just because they are family doesn’t mean you have to be like them..it’s ok to choose another path. Loving yourself means acknowledging where you began.

Don’t compromise on love. Be picky. Be incredibly, annoyingly picky. The love for you is the love that feels like the love you have for yourself….effortless and deeply moving. To settle for less than that is just stupid. Don’t expect perfection, you are not perfect and therefore need someone who also isn’t perfect..expect someone who falls but has the fighting spirit to get back up and keep trying. The kind of love you deserve is the kind of love that scares the crap out of you..in a very positive way.

Always treat the little guy like he’s just as important as the big guy. The little guy usually makes the big guy look good and he’s probably more reliable. There is no such thing as better than. Those in charge might just be there because those who know how to do it better don’t want to sit on a mountain away from their people. Remember that! Not everyone wants to be stared at, some just quietly get shit done.

If you want to know the character of a person, watch how they react to things they didn’t expect. That is who they are. The unconscious truths of a man show up when they haven’t had the chance to plan their reactions.

Men don’t always tell you they love you, sometimes they show you. Quietly changing your spark plugs and tires is just as big a declaration as flowers and jewelry. Notice!

Respecting the way a person is, is very important. Some people don’t like big shows of appreciation. Some are proud and some are shy. Some feel unseen and some think they aren’t important. Contemplate who they are and respectfully interact in ways that they find most comforting. If you can do that, you will end up properly loving them on their own terms..trust me, they will notice.

There is no excuse for bad manners. You can be livid. You can feel disrespected. You can be 100% in the right..but bad manners makes an impact on how others view you. Being respectful to those who don’t deserve respect, is part of being an adult. That integrity will always shine through. Being respectful doesn’t mean you accept the way they treat you, it doesn’t let them off the hook or make your truths any less truthful. It gives you an air of dignity that you deserve to keep. They might get the upper hand despite your every attempt to educate them or defy them but you will retain your dignity through respect. People remember.

Childish moment are to be cherished. Run through the sprinklers. Go to a movie by yourself. Ride the roller-coaster. Do things you think you are much to old to do..that very fact is why you will cherish the memory of it more than you ever did while you were actually a child.

Tell people you love them. Often, loudly, enthusiastically! It makes you feel a bit exposed..but that exposure is why they know you mean it. Being vulnerable about your love helps it grow in others. You water them when you shower them with it.

Things do not matter more than people. Memories are not merely tangible. Holding onto a belonging just because it has a memory attached to it is ok..but remember that the memory exists with or without the object. The memory lives, even if the object didn’t. If a fire burned down your entire home..the memories would still exist. You don’t need things..you already have all you need to remember you are loved inside you. People matter more than things. If you have to choose between a thing and a person..choose the person. Things can be replaced, people can’t. Time doesn’t come back, it runs away.

You aren’t always right. Leave yourself room to learn from life, allow for lessons. Acknowledge when you have been given one and respect that you still have more to learn. Lessons aren’t meant to degrade..they are meant to teach you..mold you, and lead you into new places you never knew you were missing out on. Sometimes lessons hurt. They don’t mean to..but changing a caterpillar into a butterfly means pain must occur..take breaks, breathe, let yourself cry..but don’t stop. Don’t ever stop.

You are worth the journey! No matter where you are going..or how long it takes to get there. Don’t rush. You are allowed to stop and rest…so long as you don’t stop forever. Keep moving forward. You are more than a period, more than a comma. You are an exclamation point!