This past summer I turned forty. I remember when that sounded oldish to me. I don’t like the idea of getting physically older. In fact, I wage a constant and time consuming battle against the clock in the form of intense exercise, lots of sunscreen, anti-aging cream and as much laughter as possible. Yet, the mental aging I embrace. Sure I forget things a lot and I lose my cell phone and glasses like, every five minutes. Sometimes, I lose my cell while talking on it. But, that’s not because I’m oldish or even because I’m blonde; it’s because I manage the lives of six people. What I embrace is the confidence and grace that has been bestowed upon me during my journey. I am able, most of the time, to let the small stuff go. I have developed the knowledge to know the difference between what I can change and what I must be at peace with.

Twenty-five truisms that took me forty years to learn and/or accept:

25. The laundry can wait, but not for too long or I get all panicky and overwhelmed.

24. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. Some days it’s down right suckish. On those days it is perfectly okay to proceed directly to the nearest salon for a pedicure and a glass of wine. So what if it’s 10am? Throw it in a solo cup like you did when you walked across campus in college. It’s noon somewhere.

23. Marriage is the second hardest labor of life and it’s worth fighting for; even in the years that seem like fighting is all you do, (yes… I said YEARS).

22. I am a bad driver, and a worse parker. Garages fear me.

21. My mother is quite possibly the best mother EVAH. Mommy stare perfected. Rarely raises her voice. Listened to my endless blabber. Handles just about anything thrown at her… calmly. Ninja in the kitchen. Always composed. Beautiful. Physically fit. Really smart…. I am not my mother and that is okay.

20. What others might call OCD, I call efficiency; and I can get some serious shit done… FAST.

19. There are only a few people in the world who will drop everything for you, any time you need them, even if you didn’t ask, even if you’ve told them not to. Hold on to those people tightly.

18. It’s actually a REALLY good idea to count your drinks. And if your husband starts to dilute your vodka tonic, do not say, “Hey babe, I think the Bartender forgot the vodka. Would you please go ask him to freshen up my drink?” Because it will probably come out more like, “HEY, WhasthesthSHIT? YOUwaterindownmydrinksth? ThisthesbullSHIT. Bahtendahh!!” Plus, someone really does have to get up with the kids in the morning. So, even though you know it will be him, you should probably go home so he can get some sleep. My husband says he thinks this is still a work in progress…

17. I will get my period Every. Single. Time. I travel. And on my wedding anniversary AND my birthday. And often the day my husband returns from a business trip. This is called irony I think.

16. Left socks, hair elastics and bobby pins are plotting to drive me insane. I’m about ready to put up a sign and offer a reward for anyone who finds mine and brings them back to me.

15. Love is a verb and a choice. People who choose to love you even when you are unlovable are gifts directly from God.

14. Apparently I do need to floss to avoid the dentist jamming a long needley thing up into my gums to clear out the bacteria build up. Damn the luck.

13. Your children’s clothing does not have to match. Stripes & plaid? Black & blue? Whatevaaah.

12. If you go to college; choose to study something you are passionate about. Your GPA will be higher, you will be happier and you can find success in anything if you are truly passionate. Chase your dreams. It’s never too late.

11. Girlfriends are essential. They help ward off the crazy. They listen without trying to solve your problems. They empathize. They notice and compliment you. They may even share their clothes, shoes and do your hair and make-up.

10. Depression is not something to feel guilt or shame about.

9. A fabulous pair of shoes actually does build confidence.

8.You can never say, “I love you” too much.

7. Approach every person as if they are carrying a heavy burden; struggling through a difficult time. Most of the time, you will be right. So be gentle with people.

6. Minivans make perfect sense.

5.You should never underestimate the power of a smile or the impact a small gesture may make on someone else. Give of yourself freely.

4. Love is not conditional and should not depend on your approval of the other person. If you love someone and they have been good to you, then their bad choices are irrelevant. And when they are at their lowest, making terrible decisions and steering their life into dark & twisty chaos; YOU NEED TO LOVE THEM EVEN HARDER & STRONGER.

3. Living within your means is as hard as it necessary.

2. You have to ask for what you want. I keep thinking I can telepathically relay messages to my people. Unfortunately, I have no clairvoyants in my life. I should have spent more time at carnivals perhaps.

1. If all else fails, text “Yard wine!” to your favorite neighbors. Then plant yourself and your bottle in the front yard. If you text it…. they will come.