40 things I learned by 40

If you have been reading along you know that we have been focusing on love this month….not necessarily romantic love, but rather those things you might be a little embarrassed to love, and well, love filtered through the eyes of some dinosaurs. This month I am going to tackle what is probably the most difficult type of love. Loving yourself.

Two of the ladies hit big birthdays this year, and hitting a big birthday can trigger a desire for introspection. You’ve made it this far, so what did you learn? What would you tell 20-year-old you? This, plus, have any of you seen this Vogue list? Frankly, I barely got through the thing. It’s astounding in its lack of relevance and practicality. But it did inspire me to , as our Honorary Lady Gary says, turn inward, and take a look back at what I did right, what I did wrong, and what stuff makes me realize that yeah, maybe I’m doing all right.

Your mileage to this list will vary, you might think it’s terrible, or just as irrelevant, but I hope it inspires you to make a list of your own so you can take stock of what you learned, how you have grown, and what a long way you’ve come baby.

Tiny Doom’s 40 things I learned by 40

  1. Don’t listen to your High School Guidance Counselor
  2. It’s ok not to want kids
  3. You are just as valid if you are a mother of pets, plants, other humans, dragons, or nothing
  4. Be reliable
  5. Be capable
  6. Be open to compromise
  7. It’s never a good idea to idolize someone, everyone is human
  8. Know what colors look good on you and wear those
  9. If you want a tattoo, get a tattoo
  10. Do your research
  11. It’s ok to be a little weird at work so long as you can back it up with #’s 4 and 5
  12. Friendships drift and that’s ok
  13. Pay your bills on time
  14. You can adapt to almost anything so don’t be so afraid of change
  15. Put stuff in your Amazon shopping cart and then give it 24 hours before you hit buy
  16. Look forward, not back
  17. Avoid self-help books
  18. When it comes to skin care most expensive stuff isn’t always the best stuff
  19. It’s ok to drink most of your liquid in tea form
  20. Eat your vegetables
  21. Scarves really do keep you warm
  22. Take care of your feet! I cannot stress this enough
  23. You don’t have to smile when someone tells you to
  24. Always act like you are supposed to be there-it’s ok to fake it
  25. Watch all the crap movies and TV you want
  26. Say no
  27. Red lipstick
  28. It’s not bullshit that doing nice things for other people can make you feel better
  29. Bring your lunch to work as much as you can
  30. Make a family that’s not related to you by blood
  31. Mittens are better than gloves
  32. Just do the thing, you’ll feel better when it’s done
  33. Walk there when you can
  34. There is a certain joy in day drinking (as long as you don’t make it a habit)
  35. Don’t be afraid of new technology
  36. Always keep your own bank account no matter how in love you are
  37. Try to travel if you can
  38. Learn to make things-food, socks, plans
  39. If people make you feel bad about yourself, don’t hang out with them
  40. Never turn down a piece of pie

Ok, if anyone else feels like taking on a list, I would love to see it.



  1. Gary

    Excellent list. As someone closing in on 50, I’d add the following:
    1. Your favorite songs will eventually only be played on the oldies station and that’s ok.
    2. Hats keep you warm. Umbrellas keep you dry. Wear one and use one.
    3. Go see a doctor. Weird pains happen as you get older and a regular check up is necessary.
    4. Don’t fret about getting older. It’s better than the alternative.
    5. Always be yourself. If that’s not good enough for some people then you don’t need them in your life.

  2. Brian

    LOVE your list Tiny Doom! Mind if I add some? I’m in my mid 40s so…
    1) Mulch is a good thing.
    2) Plant something if you have the space. Hang a plant. Maybe have a little garden if you can. Veggies you grow? Better.
    3) A lot of people will let you down. It sucks. Be happy if you have one or two that don’t. Keep them close.
    4) Ask questions. Lots of them. Who cares if people think you don’t know stuff. It is better to ask and be smart than not ask look smart.
    5) Things are neat. Experiences are better. If you have to choose between both, consider that memories don’t take space in your closet.
    6) Duct tape? Have some. You never grow out of needing it.
    7) AAA car stuff? Just pay for it. You don’t want to worry about getting a tow from New Hampshire to Boston when you have that little trip away and your car dies. And locking your keys in the car. Still sucks. Nice to have somebody who can get your keys at 3 am.
    8) Agree to disagree.
    9) Be willing to listen. You don’t have to agree. But listen. You may learn stuff. And, worst case scenario? You seem like a good person who’d trying to care.
    10) Be kind.

  3. Mel

    It’s ok if someone’s list is not so relevant to yours. Your path is still ok and your list is your own.

    Also, your differences can make for just as great friendships as your similarities.

  4. The Red Menace

    All of you have great lists! As the other Lady who turned 40, here are mine:
    1. Spend a lot of money on a quality bra. It’s worth it.
    2. Buy more than one of the above.
    3. Have a plan.
    4. But be flexible. The plan might fail, and that’s okay.
    5. Tough conversations don’t get easier the longer you put them off.
    6. Being passive-aggressive is for the birds. Say what you mean.
    7. Dinosaurs are cool.
    8. Treat other people like actual human beings.
    9. But if they betray your trust, don’t be afraid to tell them to go to hell.
    10. Yes, eat your vegetables, but don’t boil them for god’s sake.
    11. Say yes to things.
    12. Sometimes it’s okay to eat popcorn for dinner. Or breakfast.
    13. You really, actually can accomplish anything you put your mind to.
    14. But sometimes the cost is too high, and it’s okay to NOT want to.
    15. Being right doesn’t necessarily matter.
    16. Pay attention to your surroundings, not just for your safety, but for others.
    17. You probably will feel better if you move more in your day.
    18. Avoiding photos usually makes them worse.
    19. No one noticed that dumb thing you said/did. They’re mostly paying attention to themselves.
    20. If someone sucks the life out of you, let them go.
    21. You can’t control everything around you, so don’t stress about it.
    22. Read everything.
    23. But especially read what makes you happy.
    24. Don’t be afraid to have feelings.
    25. But don’t expect everyone else to accommodate them all the time.
    26. Have friends who are the same gender as you, and friends who are a different gender than you, and friends who are not part of the gender binary at all.
    27. Don’t be ashamed of what you love.
    28. Don’t be nice, do be kind.
    29. Get that hair cut. Hair grows back.
    30. Making bread is super satisfying.
    31. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
    32. Being an adult isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
    33. Sometimes you’re the best person for the job.
    34. Listen more than you talk.
    35. Pay attention to patterns. They’ll help you learn about the world.
    36. Conspiracy theories make no sense.
    37. Love is more important than romance.
    38. It’s not that hard to make a difference; you just have to actually do something.
    39. While friendships can drift, you can pick up with people after years – be open to it.
    40. You really can make a theme party out of anything.

  5. Linda

    Love the lists! As a 54 year old I would add
    Have friends older and younger then you are. You will learn a lot from each other.

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