Almost 20 years ago we thought to be invincible and then life happened! Lessons learned the hard way!
As I get closer to be the Lady of the four decades (Señora de las cuatro décadas) like Ricardo Arjona's famous song, I become more restless. Life became turbulent mid-twenties through mid-thirties. Plenty of shit happened. But...
With the turmoil, also came clarity.
When I was 20, I thought I had the bull grabbed by the balls, and one day I opened my eyes to the reality that the bull -that said, my life- had run over me a few times with its massive body and stabbed me with its sharp horns too. Metaphorically, I was bleeding to death... Emotional death. The joke was on me, who believed had become invincible when I was merely starting to live.
Then, as a magical gift, the 30s made their most expected appearance. I accepted I was being stupid and everything was revealed to me. No, it wasn't instantly. I didn't discover it all at the glimpse of an eye. But I was finally capable of seeing I was all wrong. I was trying to please the wrong people. I was neglecting myself. And little by little, day by day, I finally understood it wasn't the world's fault. It was my own. I was treated that way because I have given them all the power to crush me.
Finally, I was strong enough to see it. Finally, I would be capable to take control back. I wish someone has told me all these things. Instead, people lie telling you that being a mother and a woman at the same time is impossible. They also lie trying to convince you that to be successful you need the support of those around you. And they also viciously lie when trying to teach you that you need to be liked by the vast majority of people.
Right now, as I walk proudly towards my 40s, I feel like walking on the red carpet. No doubt that I am where I truly belong and that I am doing what makes me happy. Women will fear to say they are forthy-something and I will feel so proud of saying my age out loud. In no way would I trade this moment for being twenty-something again.
With some of my third-decade time still available, I know there's plenty of things to learn. I'm 37 at the moment, so I already passed by the midline of this decade and then some.
For now, I will enjoy the lessons I have acquired. Hot flashes and menopause...? Maybe I should worry about you two during the next decade, but for now, I will enjoy the pleasures of loving myself and the joy of a fulfilled life.
Now that you crossed the third-decade midline and the 40s are getting closer, you should have learned that:
Allowing mean-spirited people in your life, expecting for them to change, it's an unnecessary punishment for yourself. People don't change so easily, especially if they don't see consequences, (such as distance, separation, losses,...).
As a mom, you'll want your kids to have what you didn't. But it will cost you. Not just lots of money, but people who'll judge you for trying to be a different kind of mom.
By now, you'll probably have noticed that a lot of people don't like you, but that's perfectly fine! Their loss after all.
People who say they love you and want what's best for you are always the pissed ones when good things finally happen in your life.
You'll have to walk away from some people, and that's okay. It is your right to be happy and nobody else apart from you is responsible for making it happen.
Men suck. But there are still some nice ones out there. You just have to be picky and keep looking through a magnifying glass.
On your way to the 40s, you start being picky! (So, this time you can find one of the nice guys if you didn't find Mr. Right already!)
Sex is both overrated and underrated. Every relationship is different and the sexual needs differ from marriage to marriage, and from decade to decade.
You'll meet your better self after the 35s. If you're under 35, you have time. If you crossed that line, you're enjoying the best of yourself!
Even when things go wrong, it is not the end of the world.
Romance, love and sex aren't the same things. Yet, you aspire to find it all together in the right person (and you're right to do so).
You will make mistakes. Big ones. You'll discover you can fix them the next day.
You'll make some other mistakes. For those, you'll find no way of fixing. Before turning 40, you come to understand not everything is meant to be fixed.
Before turning 40, you must learn to forgive yourself for those mistakes. Fixed or irreparable, life must go on. Forgive yourself and try to be better.
Sunday mornings are prettier when you didn't go to bed angry the night before.
You deserve to have it all is not the same as You want to have it all. The sacrifice and work you put into that desire are what makes you deserving. Don't go living your life expect to have everything with zero sacrifices.
Beauty looks different now. Now it not just pretty what counts, comfort matters too. You already had the 20s to be uncomfortable and constricted inside tiny clothes. Now it's time for sexy elegance.
You deserve to be happy.
You must make time to do what you love.
Don't fear to be demanding. You know what you want and you're not afraid to say it out loud.
Always be prepared to lose, even when you deserve winning.
Do what's best for you, even when people surrounding you get upset.
Feel free to skip events you're invited to. The 40s are the perfect age to be selective and also a little bitchy. Birthdays, weddings, baptisms, showers, bbq's, school meetings,... You don't have to assist. You don't need to!
Picture filters aren't for models only. Everybody uses them now, so catch up with the trends.
Not every mistake requires additional consequences. When we have kids, sometimes we have to recognize when the mistake is punishment itself.
Sometimes, you'll want to deliver consequences, but what you really need to do is to be empathetic and give advice from the heart. It's easy to forget your youthful years, but close to the 40s, you try a little harder to remember what it feels like. Your kids will be grateful for your efforts to give what they need the most- someone to talk to.
Prepare your wallet for high school. Especially if you want your kids to achieve their educational goals beforehand. Be ready to pay university fees, support them with food, a car and even gas money. Of course, you can let them do that by themselves after they are 18, but if your kids are overachievers you wouldn't want them to miss a degree opportunity while they are still at high school. Remember: this must be their choice, they cannot live your dream, but their own.
Your body will change. Your curves are lovelier now. You have become the most beautiful version of yourself.
Who wants to be in your life will do whatever necessary to be. Who wanders, who brings more trouble than happiness, don't be afraid to show where the door is.
The more you try to keep people, the distant they turn. They'll see it as a control instead of excessive love and overprotection. Instead of trying to keep people, set them free. That way they'll see themselves in the position of pursuing you.
You can wear whatever the hell you want. When I was growing, I noticed this crazy "tendency" that women changed their outfits completely when became a mom. The tight jeans were banned, the low-cut blouses disappeared from the closet. Say no to that terrible way of marginalizing a woman for having given life! Your hips widen, your boobs grow bigger. Why hide all those beautiful female attributes behind huge skirts and oversized blouses?
By this time, you'll understand there's no time to lose and there are opportunities that only come once in a lifetime. Live your life, enjoy it.
Take a vacation every now and then. A trip to Paris isn't always necessary. The time off is. Have a stay-cation!
By now, you should have noticed your body doesn't react to food as it did 15 years ago. It's normal. We are changing. Closet to 40s, the metabolism starts to slow down -that son of a bitch! So you'll get more bloated and probably gain lots of weight if eating carelessly.
You have come to the right moment to begin a retirement fund if you haven't already!
You stop envying those times when you could party all night long. Nothing can replace a Saturday Fight Night at home with your hubby, drinking beers or wine coolers and eating finger food.
Getting thin is not a goal. Getting healthier is. For this, you don't have to sacrifice all the foods you love. I have gotten healthier without giving up my coffee, my chocolate, or my desserts. I just learned to make it all a little healthier.
A little change here. A little change there. But what's life about, after all, if it isn't about changes?
Being yourself is the key to everything. To be accepted or -perhaps- admired by the right people you need to be authentic. Faking a different persona, pretending to be in a very different way, will never get you genuine persons who would love your real and honest self.
Love is hard. Marriage is hard. It requires lots of sacrifices. If it's reciprocal, it's worth it.
You'll regret not doing some things, like traveling more, buying a house, walking away from toxic people, or inclusive taking selfies.
Stand for what you believe. We all have a little bit of angel and a little bit of demon inside, put them to good use! Speak up! Be intentional! Be present! If hell breaks loose, fine! Take your demons to the park! If Heaven overflows, wonderful! Let your angel side lead the way!
Make short-term bucket lists instead of a single never-ending "before I die" bucket list. You'll feel more accomplished.
Play with your kids more. There is no being more authentic or honest than a child. Make the time to play some videogames or cards -whatever they prefer. You'll be surprised by the number of things they can confide you just by sharing games with them. Always put them to bed, or wake them up in the mornings (depending on your schedule).
Let go of the past. Think about the future. Enjoy and live in the present.
I crossed the midpoint of my third decade. I'm more in the three-quarters of it and now is when I am truly convinced I have started to live. The determination to be happy, to sculpt my own future, and to really enjoy the moment I am in, is what has given me some knowledge and what has allowed me to enjoy the experiences. There's plenty left to learn but for that, I'll have the forties, the fifties, and so on...
This day, the present is just perfect to live, enjoy and stop worrying so much.
Lots of love,