Creating My Own Zen: 40 Things I Learned Before Turning 40


Motherhood is hard. Wait, LIFE is hard. But the best part is we’re all in it together. Join me as we find our zen in the middle of parenthood, marriage, extended family, volunteering, and just generally enjoying our time here in Lake County.

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40 Things I Learned Before Turning 40

I am turning the big 4 – 0 this year. I am extremely blessed and grateful to still be here on Earth and equally nostalgic for all the wonderful experiences I have had so far. I wanted to make a list of the important lessons that I have learned, as I hope to impress these upon my sons. They are good reminders for everyone!

In no particular order:

  1. Having children is like having your heart walk around outside your body.
  2. Count your blessings not your worries.
  3. Everyone is fighting some sort of battle; be kind and brave.
  4. We are all the same on the inside; don’t judge others.
  5. Be thankful.
  6. Have hobbies, and make a lot of time for them.
  7. Life shouldn’t just be lived; it should be celebrated.
  8. Saving $10 off a $50 purchase is still requiring you to spend $40, so make sure you need it. If it’s a want, make sure you can afford it: spend money wisely.
  9. Do something every day your future self will be proud of: Work hard. Exercise. Save money.
  10. Dance. Participate in life. (Don’t just be a spectator.)
  11. Make vacations a priority.
  12. Keep annual traditions alive.
  13. Take pictures and print them!
  14. Be passionate about something, and let others be passionate about their interests.
  15. Make goals each year (personal and professional, and write them down.
  16. Life’s not fair; you’re not entitled to anything
  17. Laughter is important.
  18. Everything is comparative – experience, age, wealth, etc.
  19. Eat healthfully to stay healthy.
  20. Exercise to feel good.
  21. Maintain a good moral compass.
  22. Be a good friend, be a nice brother/sister, be a loving son/daughter.
  23. Throughout life make choices (not sacrifices).
  24. Spend time with people who treat you well.
  25. Never get in the car with a drunken driver.
  26. Have goals and work hard, but not too hard.
  27. Be silly once in a while (dress up in a costume and run a 5K just because).
  28. Sometimes a C is good enough (but getting all As is ok too!).
  29. Remember the good times and learn from the bad times, but then let them go.
  30. It’s better to be kind than to be right.
  31. Help others whenever you can.
  32. Life is short; don’t sweat the small stuff.
  33. Live in the moment, and use each day as a gift.
  34. Listen.
  35. There are two kinds of prayers: “Thank you” and “Help” (and God understands our prayers, even when we can’t find the words to say them).
  36. Girls can do anything boys can do, and boys can do anything girls can do!
  37. If you have to keep it a secret, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
  38. If you treat people nicely, and with respect, they will usually do the same for you.
  39. When all else fails, use common sense!
  40. I have a lot more to learn …

Did I miss any? What’s your biggest life lesson? Post it in the comments.

Cheryl is an aspiring writer from Mundelein. You can now follow her on her author journey on Amazon.

Get a copy of her first book, Letter’s to my Children, available on Kindle now.

Creating My Own Zen: 40 Things I Learned Before Turning 40
About Cheryl 49 Articles
Cheryl is a hyper-tasking mom (because who has time to only multi-task?) who stops to take pictures (and smell the roses), loves to jog (slowly) and volunteers way too much.


  1. Make things; make friends, makes memories,(of course make love) make mistakes and make amends if needed. Paint, build, sew,bake, cook, knit, sculpt, try anything and everything. But don’t be stingy. Give what you create away. Share your joy.

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