I remember when my Mum and Dad turned 40, when I was about 10 and 12 years old respectively.
They were really f#cking old.
And yet here I find myself at this momentous occasion on Sunday.
So basically with this accomplishment, comes the acknowledgement, that because I’m so old now, I basically know everything. So please children, let me light my pipe, get comfy in my rocking chair and gather around while your dear friend Ciara imparts you some life advice.
Cause since I’m old now, I’m wise (in case you didn’t know, now you know.)
40 Life Nuggets I’ve Learned at 40.
1. Having a voice is a privilege. Use it on those that don’t have one.
2. If someone or something triggers a strong reaction from you, step back, examine it, and ask yourself why. Often its where some of the greatest self-growth can be found.
3. If something feels so far away from you, envision what you want or who you want to be, and come back to it. There will come a day when you are that person (*If shy Ciara McCormack, age 14, that used to cry every day at school was voted class clown at age 17, you all can do anything too).
4. The less secure people are in their choices the more they will ridicule others (Learned for the first time after stopping drinking and going to college parties, circa 2000)
5. Somewhere along the line, some of us learn or think that we are selfish if we take care of ourselves first. From having a chronic issue with no putting myself first and dealing with its dire consequences, I implore all of you to guilt-free, put yourself first. There’s a reason they say on flights to put your mask on before assisting other passengers.
6. If you want to make a difference, you don’t need to dig ditches in foreign countries. Just make the world around you better. Shout out to my good friend Aimee Hartley for teaching me that after digging ditches in foreign countries circa 2000.
7. Change takes effort. Nothing changes unless you’re self-aware enough to recognize you’re not happy with your life, and brave enough to blow it up ( *editors note, try and figure it out and act on it before the blowing it up phase)
8. The truth will set you free (Thank you to a certain viral blog for helping me figure that out.)
9. Nothing is more meaningful and soul filling then when you’re vulnerable, having people that you don’t know, having your back (Shout out to Curva Collective, Southsiders, Timbers Army and hundreds/thousands of people walking out of games this year)
10. It doesn’t matter who a person is, whether they are family, a long time friend… if they are causing negativity or drama to your life, you are allowed to (if possible, gracefully and lovingly) let them go. You don’t owe anyone anything.
11. The best thing to fill your whole heart and soul is to be outrageously kind and generous to someone. Bonus points if you don’t know them.
12. Hanging out with little kids is the best way to turn a shitty day into a bright one.
13. The best way of changing your relationship with anyone, is first to change your relationship with yourself.
14. Reactions are from your own undealt with wounds. The second you don’t (genuinely) react to things that usually trigger you, is the second you have evidence that you have healed your own wounds (Go follow the holistic psychologist on Instagram, she is a genius).
15. Everyone is projecting their own stuff on to everyone else. Don’t take anything personally, its never about you. (The Four Agreements- great book, highly recommend).
16. Life is a massive paradox. Doing the opposite of what we think we should do, is often what will bring us closer to whatever it is that we want. (Soccer analogy, the more I didn’t give a shit as a player, the better I played, which brought me closer to the goals that I had).
17. Hard times are the best time to really get a stripped down, genuine view of everything and everyone in your life. No information is more valuable.
18. Get off your phone. Like seriously, put it away for a day, two days. We are all addicted, and going down the scrolling rabbit hole isn’t good for any of us.
19. The best way to get out of a funk is a) to take inventory and be grateful for what you have (you can always find something) and b) do something for someone else.
20. With consistent practice you can achieve anything (Ciara the bad soccer player 1990- Champions League Finalist 2003).
21. Most of us numb our pain and don’t want to feel or acknowledge any of it. Some numbing is obviously damaging, namely drugs and alcohol, but I’ll argue that some of the most dangerous numbing comes in the forms of accomplishments that society pats us on the back for. Don’t waste another minute of your life numbing. I promise you, you can handle whatever it is that you stare in the face and get to the bottom of, and it will be the best decision you ever made.
22. The quickest way to get into financial trouble and get taken advantage of is letting someone else control your finances (*lessons learned from the great Ciara McCormack financial crisis of 2016).
23. The quickest litmus test to know if you’re on top of your finances is to know how many subscriptions you have and when and what credit cards are getting charged (*Editor Confession: I once found I had TWO Amazon Prime subscriptions. Added confession: I rarely order from Amazon.
23. It is one of the most empowering things ever to set boundaries and to show yourself the love and respect to stick to them.
24. We don’t change patterns of behavior unless we do the work. Whatever we grow up with is what our normal is. We can change those patterns and create new ones whenever we are willing to step in and do the work. Every second you’re wasting playing the victim is one that you could be putting in to living a more fulfilling life.
25. Our health is the biggest gift we are given. There is nothing more important to spend our time and energy on.
26. Minimalism really is mentally freeing. Marie Kondo knew what she was talking about.
27. People who always blame other people or insist in playing the victim, are terrified of the consequences of shame and guilt should they take responsibility for their actions. I promise you, you’ll be able to handle all of it and its where the real growth and magic starts.
28. The best way to grow, learn and understand others, is to travel and spend time with people who are different to you, and who often have a much different perspective.
29. Appreciation is the biggest gift you can give another person.
30. You never, ever know what another person is going through. Always be kind. If you don’t know how to help someone that is going through a hard time, a simple text message telling them you’re thinking of them is sometimes just enough.
31. Becoming aware of your ego is one of the most eye opening things that you can do for yourself as a person.
32. Start listening to how you talk to yourself. One of the most momentous positive shifts I had in my life was when I realized that the voice inside my own head instead of being cruel and cutting and judgemental needed to be filled with love and kindness. If you want your life to change for the better, start by being your own best friend.
33. No amount of outward validation will quiet your inward voice if you are living a life that you know is not true to yourself. In fact, it is the quickest way to torment your soul.
34. Worrying about something isn’t going to get you closer to it, and often if we take the time of really examine our worries, what we are actually worried about has little do to with what on the surface is stressing us out.
35. Let go of that which does not serve you. Friends, relationships all of it, will find their way back to you, if they are meant to.
36. Take the time to really sit and think about whatever your biggest dream is. If you know what it is, you are so lucky. Have the courage to chase whatever it is and support those around you in doing the same.
37. Embrace age. It is a gift. Getting older is something that not everyone has the privilege of doing. Be grateful for it.
38. Let life lead you. Trust it. Approach it with curiosity. Don’t fight it. When the time is right the doors will open.
39. There are so many things that will happen in life that we have absolutely no control over. Shitty things happen to good people all the time. Unfair things happen to people all the time. The thing that is most significant is the knowledge that we always, always control how we choose to frame it and how we choose to react (shout out to my winner of a mama that has been crushing that example for most of my life).
40. I think because I am now 2 days away from being 40, that I am extremely wise and have it all figured out. Just when you think you have anything figured out, life will throw you a curve ball and remind you that you have nothing figured out. I’m ready for it.