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45 Things I’ve Learned in 45 Years

In honor of turning 45, here is what I’ve learned in quarantine and beyond.

Photo credit: Pixabay
Photo credit: Pixabay

Alright, I turned 45 recently.  

Pretty much, midlife.  

MIDLIFE.

It hit me hard. 

In honor of turning 35 45 (ahem), here is what I’ve learned in quarantine and beyond:

  1. Beauty, money, power– things people often place high value upon in society, are worthless without your health. Haven’t we all learned this?
  2. I’ve learned I can grieve and be grateful at the same time. And wow, how interesting and odd that is.
  3. I’ve learned that when things feel out of control, to focus on what you CAN control. It’s empowering when you can switch the inner-dialogue from victim to driver of the bus.
  4. I’ve learned that the best way to be a friend, is to be a good listener and not a problem solver. People usually don’t want solutions to their problems, they just want a safe space to express themselves, and a non-judgmental ear. A simple, “I know this is really tough for you right now. I am so sorry you’re going through this,” is often better than, “You should do that!
  5. I’ve learned that funny memes can completely transform my mood! Yes, I really love stupid COVID-19 memes. Don’t hate me.
  6. I’ve learned that what we do every day– our daily habits matter, because our lives are made up of our days.
  7. I’ve learned to trust the timing of my life. Things arrive when they are meant to, and not a moment too soon. It’s taken me 45 years to surrender to this notion and embrace it with ease.
  8. I’ve learned that to nurture my body and soul, I require: movement, rest, recovery, good nutrition, social connection, fresh air, time unplugged, and lots of alone time. 
  9. I’ve learned that not everyone likes you, and not everyone is happy for you. That’s cool – you do you, boo!
  10. I’ve learned to never compromise your integrity. Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you’ve got.
  11. I’ve learned that whatever you’re afraid of, you must try that shit! The worse thing that’s gonna happen is you’re gonna fail. But that’s worse than living with the regret of having never tried.
  12. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to take the leap of faith and build your wings on the way down.
  13. I’ve learned that giving up isn’t the same as moving on.
  14. I’ve learned that self-awareness isn’t enough (although great). You still have to do the work.
  15. I don’t know who wrote this quote, but damn, it’s good. “In a world designed to profit from your self doubt, the greatest act of rebellion is loving yourself.”
  16. I’ve learned that if I do the same thing, day in and day out, I become a zombie walker of this earth, and not a liver of this earth. Passion and happiness come from trying new things, venturing scarily into the unknown, and pushing yourself to your own personal limits. Walt Disney said it well: It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. Try doing the impossible. Just try it once. You’ll definitely learn new things.
  17. I’ve learned that God doesn’t give us what we want, he gives us what we need. Every time. And although it may not seem like it in the moment, it’s generally what we need to grow.
  18. I’ve learned we shouldn’t cry over spilled milk. Learn the lesson well, and then swiftly move on. It’s a sure way to live the most unfulfilled and immobilized existence. I rarely stay stuck. I have come to realize that this is one of my strengths.
  19. I learned the true meaning of life the day I walked into Canyon Ranch on a work retreat. The sign hanging in the front said: “BREATHE DEEPLY and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.” I’ve come to accept that as truth. All you have is this moment. BE IN IT FULLY. ”When you are driving, be present, and focus on your driving. When you are having dinner with your family, be there. Don’t be on your business, or on tomorrow’s agenda. Be at the dinner table, with your family. Because otherwise, it’s as if you were not there. It’s as if the experience never happened.” – Wise words someone once told me.
  20. I’ve learned that if you’re great at something, play it up. All successful women play up their strengths. They don’t minimize their talents. Thanks for this advice Barbara Corcoran.
  21. I’ve learned it’s always important to have fun and be silly. The funnier and sillier, the happier.
  22. I’ve learned that every time you state what you want, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to you and others about what you think is possible. Thanks, Oprah.
  23. I learned that a great massage, a great glass of wine, a great song, and a great conversation are a few of life’s greatest treats. Great sex doesn’t hurt either.
  24. I’ve learned that success comes at a cost- there is no free lunch. I will leave it at that.
  25. I’ve learned that self-esteem and confidence are not bad words. They’re important words. It takes a lot of work to get there, but it’s the foundation to thriving.
  26. I’ve learned to always face the music, no matter how dark it may sound.
  27. I’ve learned that family comes first. Period. No exceptions to the rule. Choose family second– and you will regret it.
  28. I’ve learned that sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn.
  29. I’ve learned that the line between pushing your child to the limit in order to not raise a quitter, and easing off to not turn them off from life, is REALLY THIN. I struggle daily.
  30. I’ve learned that you can never kiss your kids too often. Affection breeds self-esteem.
  31. I’ve learned no matter your situation, it’s crucial to give back. Give back in any way you can… with time, with ideas, with suggestions, with money, with WHATEVER resource you have to offer. Give back. Give what you can, and much more will be received.
  32. I’ve learned that change, while scary, is necessary to grow. We must adapt to change. Evolve or die.
  33. I’ve learned that inspiration comes in the rarest of forms. I have learned much from my children, much from people I don’t particularly like, and much from severely troubled souls. Inspiration comes in many forms… find it.
  34. I’ve learned not to take no for an answer, but then again, I’ve learned not to beat a dead horse. The key is knowing the different: when to go all in, and when to bail. That just comes with age, practice and experience.
  35. I’ve learned to always give 100%. Give 110, 120 whenever possible.
  36. I’ve learned that I have a love affair with music and food. If my hearing goes early in life, it will be worth it. And if I put on 5 more pounds but ate everything I loved, well, that’ll be just fine. Life is about doing what you love (within reason).
  37. I’ve learned that sometimes we find our purpose on purpose, and sometimes our purpose finds us by accident. The importance is to explore it once you know. During COVID-19, I’ve never felt more in purpose and passion. That’s the honest truth.
  38. I’ve learned that life is too short to put up with bullshit. I now do the things I want to do, when I want to do them, and with whom I want to do them with. I’m impatient with small talk, and sometimes it may come across as rude, but, well… um… I don’t know.
  39. I’ve learned that when someone goes out on a limb and shows you their vulnerable side, encourage them. Praise their authenticity. You have no idea how hard it may have been for them to show you.
  40. I’ve learned we all have to be accountable for our own actions. It’s easiest to blame others and not take personal responsibility for our own actions. But at the end of the day, it’s the only way to live free.
  41. I’ve learned that we should plan like girl scouts, but always leave room for the unexpected. Sometimes it’s the unplanned that bears the best fruit. So therefore, I have started to go where the wind takes me a little.
  42. I’ve learned that time spent doing nothing is never wasted if you enjoyed it, relaxed and smiled. Really.
  43. I’ve learned that being a “secretive” or “private” person never sharing details about yourself or your life at the risk of looking vulnerable, weak or imperfect to others comes down to self esteem (it generally means it’s low), but it can also hold us back in life. When you can be forthright and honest about your situation, sharing your story in the hopes of helping others, it in turn helps yourself and the world opens up for you. Please try it. Try it slowly.
  44. I’ve learned being a parent is the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. These people I am responsible for, they will grow up and hopefully become good citizens, contribute to society in a positive way (if they’re raised the right way). That’s a lot pressure. Being a parent is a BIG undertaking. Like massive.  That’s scary as hell. I get scared sometimes.
  45. I’ve learned that life is short, it ain’t no dress rehearsal, and you’ve gotta WAKE UP to your life, or you could miss it, Ferris.

I am sending you all so much love. I hope these past few months have become introspective for you too, and that we all come out of this as more evolved, more compassionate people.

Love, Erica

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