40 Things I´ve Learned by 40

Wow.  I am actually 40.  Where did the time go???
(My mind still screams 21, even if my body often whispers ´´dream on.´´)

As I flex my sometimes achy muscles in preparation of this new check box category, I find myself thinking about the road I took to get here.  My 39th year was certainly life altering:  I quit my job, fell in love, moved to Brazil with a boy and spent three months traveling solo through South America.

There were times I was lonely and sad and others when I was unimaginably, deliriously happy and at peace.

I don´t have it all figured out — and likely never will.  But in celebration of what I know will be a spectacular decade, I thought I would share a few things I think (hope) I have learned in my 40 years on this earth traveling, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and pushing the boundaries just a bit:

1) The imagination is a frightful thing.  And always worse than the reality.
2) Never let anyone guilt you INTO something.
3) Or OUT of something.
4) You can ALWAYS change your mind.  Always.
5) Compromise and compliance are not the same thing.
6) It´s ok to feel uncomfortable and afraid.
7) Never feel stupid for being yourself or wanting what you want
8) Failure seems scary.  Before you fail.  And then it just is what it is.
9) Being original is overrated.  You didn’t invent the wheel and neither did the guy before you.
10) You don´t need permission from anyone to do it your way.
11) It is really, really, really hard to break a habit.  But not impossible.
12) Living your life to make others proud will end in disappointment for everyone.
13) Do what works for you, not the other guy.
14) Dieting was invented by Westerners.
15) You CAN stay skinny if you eat REAL (not fake) full-fat food.
16) A little McDonald´s never hurt anyone (despite what they said in Fast Food Nation.)
17) I don´t love the gym, but I do like exercise
18) Sometimes Starbucks IS the best option; don´t feel guilty about it
19) There is no right or wrong way to travel
20) Never believe someone else´s opinion about a person or a place.
21) I have trouble being patient.
22) Sometimes I can be a little needy.
23) And that´s ok.  Nobody is perfect.
24) The people that really love you know about your annoying parts and love you anyway.
25) It´s ok to get opinions.  Just make sure the final decision is yours.
26) You need to respect your own thoughts and ideas before anyone else will.
27) You CAN live without the Internet.
28) America is THE land of convenience and it is addictive.
29) Two people can be different and still make it work.
30) True happiness involves sacrifices.
31) There is no such thing as being happy all the time.
32) It´s ok to sometimes dislike the people you love.  And for them to dislike you.
33) Every fight is not the end.
35) It is impossible not to have preconceived expectations. Just be open to the possibility that they may be wrong.
36) Love alone isn’t enough.
37) Some people never change.  And that is not your problem.
38) Opinion pushers are everywhere.  Learn to tune them out.
34) Traveling solo is terrifying.  And necessary.
39) It is possible to create the life YOU want.
40) It really is better to have less money and more freedom.

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