I'm no guru or life coach, but I feel confident that I've garnered quite a few bits of wisdom and life lessons in my ripe old 44 years. And so, in honor of my 44th birthday this month, here's 44 tips, from me to you:
44. Try your best to keep up with pop culture so you know what your kids are talking about!
43. Always teach your children, boys especially, to hold the doors open for others.
42. Put on your own oxygen mask first before you help others.
41. Buy the best washer and dryer you can afford, especially if you have children. My front-loaders are STILL my most valuable possessions, even after 10+ years.
40. Buy workout pants that fit. Otherwise you spend your entire cardio time hiking them up, over and over again.
39. Shop the clearance racks first.
38. This too shall pass. A new day makes everything better.
37. Yoga pants are acceptable. Short shirts with yoga pants are not acceptable.
36. You are right where you are meant to be. You may not realize it yet.
35. Everything happens for a reason.
34. PLEASE dress appropriately for your age. Mom jeans? NO! (Not yet anyway...) But dressing like a tween/teen at your age? That's a hard no.
33. Black is slimming.
32. Your friendships will change and evolve depending on what stage of life you are in.
31. True friendships require zero to minimal effort. They are natural.
30. Staying in is soooo much easier, but sometimes it's worth it to throw on a pushup bra, get out of those comfy clothes, and go be social. You might be pleasantly surprised.
29. At the same time, if you're really not feeling it, then by all means, just say no and stay in. Sometimes we are just too old to risk that next-day hangover. And besides, you really won't miss anything besides some more of the same small-town gossip.
28. Eat the cookie. Life is too short.
27. Chocolate always makes things better.
26. But then again, so does a good workout.
25. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a great experience. (Examples: trying a new exercise class; conquering a ropes course; joining a committee.)
24. Match your belt to your shoes. (Or better yet, just leave the shirt untucked. You'll be much more comfortable.)
23. Don't compare your life/kids/spouse to Facebook. Everyone is guilty of sugarcoating on Facebook.
22. Let your children see you succeed. Also let them see you fail.
21. Set good relationship examples for your children. Let them see you disagree. Let them see you compromise. Let them see you resolve issues.
20. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to rewards and punishments for the kids.
19. Family nights are an effort to plan, but are worth it.
18. So are family vacations. Your kids will remember them. (Don't you still remember your family vacations from when you were a child?)
17. The older you get, the more important a good bra becomes. Get professionally fitted.
16. Buy the good sneakers.
15. Get to know the parents of your children's friends. This becomes more and more important the older your children get when you can no longer pick their friends for them.
14. Drink 2 bottles of water and take Advil before bed if you've been drinking.
13. Carve in some time alone for yourself. Solitude is restorative.
12. Pick your battles. But know that the battles will forever be changing when it comes to raising children.
11. Eat ice cream for dinner sometimes.
10. Tan fat looks better than white fat.
9. If you're dressed in workout clothes, but don't manage to get a workout in due to unforeseen circumstances, it still counts dammit.
8. Hugs are healing.
7. Find a signature scent, whether it's lotion or perfume.
6. If you find a shirt you like, buy it in at least 2 different colors.
5. Always give goodnight kisses.
4. Splurge for a massage or a facial.
3. A bathroom cleaned by someone other than yourself is the best.thing.ever.
2. Kids will make you laugh and cry. Often in the same day. Or hour. Or minute.
1. You are always and forevermore changing and evolving. Even when you're 44.