40 Things I've Learned In My Forty Years On Earth
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40 Things I've Learned In My Forty Years On Earth

Every year that we are alive is a chance to grown and learn.

40 Things I've Learned In My Forty Years On Earth
Carie Terrill

I turn 40 on August 3. I am so grateful and happy but also a little shocked. How did forty years go by already? I feel like I just graduated kindergarten and here I am staring down the big 4-0. So I decided to take a minute and to reflect on some things I have learned, observed or experienced in my time here so far. Behold the 40 nuggets of knowledge that follow...

1. There are moments or milestones in your life that will cause you to say, holy cow, where did the time go? Like big number birthdays, anniversaries, when your waiter calls you ma'am, etc.

2. Wild animals will bite you even if you are trying to help them. I rescued a mouse from my cat once. I wasn't sure if it was going to make it so I put it in a shoe box in my house to at least give it a chance to die in peace. I went to check on it later and it was alive, and could jump out of the box. As it ran along my counter I panicked because A. I didn't want a mouse running loose and B. my cat was going to get it again, so I grabbed it. Then it grabbed me with it's teeth and wouldn't let go. Needless to say I pried it off my finger outside so it could run free and drove myself to the doctor to get laughed at and a tetanus shot.

3. If you watch HGTV or go on Pinterest for any extended period of time, you will become obsessed with thinking that you need to knock down walls of your home, buy a beach house in Costa Rica, and make your own soap for ten times the cost and three days of hard labor. You will start to think that it is reasonable to remove perfectly good labels on water bottles and create your own with a cute saying on them so that people can drink them and throw them away. You may even decide that your entire life has no meaning if it isn't taking place in a tiny home that you can haul around until you find a place that feeds your adventurous spirit and has room for your family to stay when they visit.

4. Twisty glazed donuts are the best. As is Dunkin Donuts coffee. This is my opinion and others are not welcome here.

5. The more promotions you get, the more "meetings" you attend. If you ever want to know how much money someone makes, just ask them how many meetings they have tomorrow. I hardly ever have meetings ;)

6. When you get cold, your body hair grows back. Even if you just showered and shaved your legs, catch the goosebumps and you might as well get back in and start over-but wait till the goosebumps disappear or yikes.

7. If you strip a screw in the process of trying to remove it, you can use a rubber band over top of your screw driver to fill in the space and give you a grip again.

8, You can learn how to do most things in life by watching YouTube videos. I have learned how to knit, put a broken car seat back together, make new wood look weathered, and how to cut my son's hair from YouTube.

9. I believe that something greater than me is at work in the universe. I don't believe that it has to be the same thing all the time but I do believe that I have to trust it, have regular contact with it, and understand that it is working for my highest good always because it has nothing but love for me.

10. Going on a 14 hour road trip to Conneticut with two year old twins that are new to potty training and refusing to put diapers or pull ups on them for the trip is a bad idea. Sticking with that idea on the 14 hour drive home even though the ride there was disaster was an even worse idea.

11. I am stubborn.

12. Writing with purple ink pens makes me very happy.

13. If you are very responsible and do everything all the time, people will start to expect it from you and soon you will be the person in the group doing all the work, the teacher with all the challenging students, the worker taking on the extra shifts, and the friend giving all the rides home. You will eventually notice that not everyone seems as stressed as you, as busy as you, or as frantic as you. You will realize that it is because they didn't have to be because you did your share and theirs. This will piss you off. You can stop that.

14. Swearing is fun and it feels good. Sometimes when I'm driving alone in my car I just swear at the top of my lungs for blocks and blocks. I also write swear words on our Buddha Board (water on a rice paper canvas) and giggle as they evaporate before anyone else gets to see.

15. The juice from Ramen noodle soup will stain a white kitchen table. Especially the chicken flavor.

16. Garlic is the best spice on the planet for cooking and eating. It is in almost everything that is yummy and wonderful and I cannot eat it. It makes my belly feel like I am giving birth to an angry grizzly bear.

17. Life is not fair.

18. If you go horseback riding and they give you a horse named "Trigger", do not go on the ride. Just sit it out. Names usually mean something.

19. Sandwiches taste better when they have a little crunch to them. Most people accomplish this with lettuce but I've discovered that potato chips and Doritos can serve the same purpose and can elevate your sandwich to the next level. If said sandwich is eaten at the beach, even better as the sand will also crunch and stay with you long after the sandwich is gone.

20. If you are light skinned and have freckles, there is no such thing as reapplying sunscreen too often or too much. Areas of special interest are noses, foreheads, and stomachs.

21. Holding onto resentments is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.

22. Puppies and babies (human and animal) will reduce me to a pile of mush that makes strange noises, can't resist the urge to hold, and says "oh my goodness, look at that" often. I melt in the presence of new, tiny, innocent things.

23. Water makes me happy. I love to sit by it, look at it, swim in it, collect rocks and shells from it's shores, and in general be in the presence of it. Water calms me, fills me up, and gives me energy at the same time.

24. Intentions don't count, actions do.

25. If you accidentally use a permanent marker on a white board, you can get it off by going over the permanent marker with a dry erase marker and then erasing both. You are welcome.

26. If I don't stand up for me, no one else will.

27. I am good at making banana bread, it's kind of my thing.

28. When I am nervous or have pent up energy or anxiety, I repeatedly cross and uncross my big toe and the toe next to it. Because of this, I sometimes put holes in my tennis shoes right where my big toe is, especially if I don't have my toenails super short. My sister makes fun of me for this and when we were kids she would pin me down and pull my toes until they cracked or tell me I had O.C.D. She is a meany head.

29. It is possible to love and hate someone equally at the same time.

30. The universe sends you signs. I find hints and clues and suggestions all around me everyday. Sometimes they are really important and will usually come disguised as pain so you won't ignore it. Sometimes they are disguised as gifts to let you know you are on the right path. Sometimes they are random offerings for you to look at and decide if it is a suggestion you want to explore or not. Today in Midland, Michigan I saw three different Utah license plates. That is not common, so I paused to think if there was anything in Utah that I might want to explore. I couldn't think of anything off the top of my head but I am going to think about it and see if the signs keep pointing there.

31. Making someone feel bad, shaming them, judging them, controlling them, manipulating them, forcing them, or demanding from them won't work. It may get you what you want in the moment, but you are not having relationship and real connection in that moment. It is an "I Win" situation and what I want in my relationships is mostly "We Win or Win Win" situations. I may not get it all and you might not either but we get enough and we can honor each other and think of each other in the situation.

32. "And just because He may not answer, doesn't mean He don't care, some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." Garth Brooks laying the truth on me. Here is the deal, I'm a human being, living in the third dimension of humanness on Earth. There is another dimension, the fourth dimension, and it is a spiritual dimension. Things happen there that I cannot understand. That I cannot predict. There is a vision of my full life there that I cannot see and comprehend as a human. Sometimes I just have to trust that what I want may not be what I need. Sometimes I don't get to know why. Sometimes getting what I wanted would have sold me short on what I deserved. You can tap into this dimension for short periods of time and get hints about what is right for you or how little you know as a human, it is called prayer and you can do it anytime.

33. When I eat well, I feel well. When I eat in excess and things that aren't that healthy, I feel bad. Pop (Soda for you Southerners) tastes good but has literally no value for my body, in fact it feels like it is burning a hole through my insides as I drink it, so I shouldn't. Sugar and carbs are not meant to be consumed in excess and as complete meals (I'm talking to you cinnamon bread and Nutella). Also, not sleeping well can make you feel hungry no matter what you eat. You secrete a hormone that tells your body you are constantly hungry when you get less than 5-6 hours of sleep in a night. Eat fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of water, and get some sleep and exercise. You will feel better.

34. Worrying is like rocking in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but you don't get anywhere. Don't waste your time worrying about stuff. Just deal with what is actually happening moment to moment and you will be okay.

35. Pineapples and cherries are delicious fruits and I'm so sad that it took me more than thirty years to figure that out.

36. When people start a sentence with "I don't care but..." they care. "I don't mean to be critical but..." they are about to criticize you. "If you ask me..." you didn't but they don't care they are going to tell you anyway. "Did we close the back door?" means did YOU close the back door. "Don't tell anyone but..." they are about to gossip and if you don't want to hear the gossip, you might want to stop them after the but.

37. "No" is a complete sentence.

38. Hurt people hurt people. The people who have hurt me most in my life have been in the most pain. Don't believe this? Try to help a wounded animal or a drowning person. You will get hurt or put in danger. This does not mean that people who hurt me get a pass to continue to do it because of their pain. This means that I can decide not to take the hurt personally, realize that it is the other person's pain showing up, and choose how I am going to continue in the relationship to protect myself.

39. Waterfalls make me feel good. No really, it is science! I used to just think that I liked water and that falling water was pretty. Turns out that the energy of the falling water creates negative ions in the air and that is believed to affect our serotonin levels, lifting out mood. They say the same negative ions can be found in mountains and at beaches, and they call to me.

40. I matter. Almost 40 years ago I burst forth into the universe to take my place as Carie Ann O'Leary. Why? Who knows. How? Who cares. There is no one who can be me and this particular life will never come again. It will have joy, pain, growth, rest, experience, loss and gain. It will have love and hate, and food and beauty. It is a gift. My life is a gift. I am a gift to the universe and the universe is a gift to me. And to that I say...MORE PLEASE!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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