Barely one month into the 4th decade of my life, I wish to continue with my musings about what’s special about turning 40. I would like to start with a quote: Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art. –Stanislaw Jerzy Lec. If you haven’t yet, please take time to read the Part 1.
Again, here are the special things about turning 40 and some tiny tidbits of wisdom you might want to consider pondering upon:
6. You laugh at your mistakes.
Mistakes are a part of learning, and learning is a part of life. Ergo, mistakes are a part of life. Oprah put it best when she said that Failure is a great teacher, and, if you are open to it, every mistake has a lesson to offer. Who isn’t afraid of failures? Who isn’t afraid of taking risks? I am not! Just as long as they’re small! But, probably like all others, I am terrified of committing huge mistakes! What I learned is that, it’s easy to laugh at the petty mistakes we make every day. But laughing at big ones, especially if it involved people other than yourself, takes time for you to be able to laugh it off. When you look back, however, you will be able to realize that mistakes teach you a valuable lesson. You may even smile and laugh a bit with a sigh of gratitude that you went through it.
7. Forgiving comes easy
Over the years, I saw the reality that people spurn failures. Instead of owning up, the reflex is to blame others. Sometimes, when you blame others, you are just telling the truth. It is indeed, their fault. But mostly, you are partly to blame. And the more you feel guilty, the more you tend to point fingers. Yet, even if you say with conviction that it was not your fault, deep inside, you know it’s you. If it’s hard to admit, then it’s harder to forgive yourself.
Here’s what I do. I lower my expectations on myself and others. Demand, I do not. I practice expecting the least. Trying to be a perfectionist when we are all but human is out of the question. When you do this, forgiving becomes easy. When something goes wrong, I analyze. Matter-of-factly, I find fault on myself and others, then I try to forgive myself first. That way, it’s easy to forgive others.
8. Moving on and letting go is easier too
We commonly hear the adage, Forgive and forget. To tell you the truth, I am a half-believer. I make effort to forgive and I make effort to remember. LOL! Hear me out! I do not consciously forget because it’s my way of protecting myself. We, Filipinos, use the term “dala,” meaning learning something from a negative situation. And when people describe you as “walang ka-dala-dala,” it means that you haven’t learned from your mistakes. I don’t want to be that person, hence, the effortful remembering part.
But I guess, with maturity after turning 40, when you begin to only care about things that matter, and drop petty little rifts, then you begin to consciously forgive and unconsciously forget. It’s funny when I find myself forgetting what I am fighting with my husband about, in the first place.
9. Giving becomes your second skin
When you have been blessed with 4 decades of life, knowing the people you love, smiling at joyful moments, and surviving the toughest battles, you begin to feel grateful for everything, especially life itself. Well, you may certainly still hope for a lot of material things but only those that you believe are really useful and necessary. As I do!
But then, it’s like your eyes and ears form new short-circuit connections with your heart and you become more perceptive and sensitive to the needs of the people around you. Actually, I felt this when I became a mother. It was when I learned that my love for my child can overflow from my heart and spill from all the crevices of my body to those around me! So I understood the needs of my students more and how their parents felt. And even when I am just around 10 years older than my colleagues, I feel like I have a mother’s love for them and that I want to offer them something that only their mothers can. Like there was an invisible network of mothers that I just became a member of. And the only rule was to take care of each other’s children! Weird, but true. Since then, I find myself giving more of what I think and feel, people around me, need. Sometimes, I don’t think at all.
10. Your connection to your Creator is stronger than ever
Feeling connection with mothers, near and far, I miss mine more than ever. She passed when she was 54. I can’t help but think that if I were to leave this world the same age as she had, then I have just 14 more years to live. Is that time too long or too short to prepare for it? And how do you prepare for it? I prayed and I heard that time alone can do so much. Through joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures, fullness and emptiness, our God stayed close with us. His son, Jesus, even carried us when we were too weak to walk ourselves.
Years and years of praying gave me the heart to know my Creator, to follow His Will and to trust in His Provisions. Turning 40 at the time of pandemic, I feel I am a favored child of God. Not everyone is blessed to live this long. I sincerely thank Him for my life and for everything this life gave me. No one knows the time and day of our reunion with Him. When that time comes for me, I surrender. My only prayer is for Him to stay close with the loves of my life and take care of them always.