As she ushered in her 45th birthday, Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View Columnist, shared her wisdom with the world through an article, “After 45 Birthdays, Here Are ‘12 Rules for Life’”. I read the article with a combination of agreement and confusion.
One thing I agreed with almost immediately is the notion that “Forty-five is somehow a very definite year; there is no question that you are middle aged.” After celebrating my 45th birthday milestone on yesterday, I am certainly middle aged. My goal and desire is to live until AT LEAST the age of 90. Forty-five is exactly one half of ninety. I am exactly in the middle so therefore I am middle aged based on my mathematical calculations. I hope to live past ninety but 90 years old is my minimum requirement (smile).
Here are 3 “rules for life” stated in the article that I disagree with:
- “The building years of your life are over, and what you are now is pretty much what you are going to be. Soon it will be what you were. You can no longer tell yourself that you might move to Lisbon, learn Portuguese, and take up the guitar. You cannot learn Portuguese at your age. You can’t remember new words anymore; you can’t even remember where you have left your keys.”
- “Go to the party even when you don’t want to.”
- “If you can’t afford to order that one extra dish, then the restaurant is too expensive for your budget and you should find a cheaper one.”
I will elaborate on my disagreements with 18 reasons I’m filled with gratitude:
- Life – I am grateful that I have lived 45 years of a good life. The challenges, mistakes, and disagreements over the last 45 years have made me stronger and wiser. I’m ready to dance into 45 more amazing years.
- Mental Ability – Yes, I am 45 years old I can still move to a farm in Pennsylvania, learn Spanish, take up belly dancing, and learn a new word like ‘elucidate’. Some of you may have know what that word means but I did not know it existed. I will continue to learn and develop professionally and engage in new professional experiences like becoming a Travel Agent with Colesville Travel.
- Liberation – There is such a freedom that I’ve felt since entering my forties. I am not going to a party (or any other place) that I truly don’t want to. I did enough of that in my twenties. Other people’s opinions of me are no longer relevant to my vision of myself.
- Self-care – I am a social worker so I am balancing work, nurturance, and advocacy with my need and desire for self-care. I am continuing to take better care of myself and sometimes that includes treating myself to a pricey little something. Whether that special indulgence is a dish at a new restaurant or a trip to the Caribbean, I am old enough to know and practice within my self-imposed boundaries.
- Faith – My life has not been perfect and will never be perfect, but my faith allows me to stay grounded and know that all things are working for my good. I have joy even when I don’t feel very happy. I know who I am and whose I am.
- Family – I am grateful for my immediate and extended family. The love and support has lifted me up for 45 years.
- Friends – I have awesome friends. Some of whom I have had a special relationship with for over half of my life. Authentic relationships matter.
- Career – I have been challenged professional and intellectually stimulated throughout my career. I am so grateful that I have been able to be paid well to do work that I love.
- Health – Could I stand to lose a few pounds? Of course! Am I stressing about my pant size? Nope. I am physically able to do most things that I want to do and have no major medical conditions. (I will confess that my plan is to become more active)
- Education – I have received a great formal education and a darn good informal education. In a country where education inequality is rampant and a world where women and girls are unable to attend school, I understand the significance of my graduate degree. (Does that mean that I should also be grateful for my student loans?)
- Possessions – I am not impressed with name brands and expensive items. I am grateful for a home that is safe and secure. That I sleep in a bed that is warm and dry in winter and cool in summer. I am grateful that I have a car that can take me on a cross country trip and I don’t have to use public transportation. I am grateful for the clothing I have for all four seasons I experience here on the east coast.
- Privilege – Although the United States of America is more divided and polarized that I have ever witnessed, I am grateful for my rights as a US citizen. This includes my right to express my anger and disappointment about the state of our country and my right to cast a ballot during the mid-term elections.
- Five Senses – I have been wearing eyeglasses since the age of two, but I can see the sunrise, smell fresh air, taste a delicious cupcake, feel a warm hug, and hear my favorite music.
- Sustenance – I am grateful that I have never experienced true hunger or thirst. Grateful that I don’t live in a food desert or have to decide whether to feed my family or pay my mortgage. I am grateful that I can take a ‘cupcake of the month’ excursion.
- Utilities – I am grateful for clean water, indoor plumbing and electricity. No further explanation required.
- Travel – I am able to explore our world and experience different people and different cultures. Essence Music Festival and Taste of Chicago trips are fast approaching.
- Fun – Life is full of opportunities for fun and entertainment including hobbies, concerts, television and big screen comedies, and good time with family and friends.
- Wisdom – I have learned many valuable life lessons over the years. They have made me a better person and sharing my wisdom with others allows me to make a difference.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, is a travel and cupcake lover with a passion for self-discovery and career development. She has a strong background in developing and managing interns and successful internship programs. She is an accomplished manager, professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Master of Social Work degree and 20 years of diverse work experience into Packaged For Success, a full service training and professional development company.
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