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In honour of Jessika’s big birthday this year, I reflect on my own.

I turned forty this year. I was looking forward to it like nothing else. Turning forty would solve everything! My discontentment in my day job, my stalling out of my handmade goodness. . . I would have a booming freelance biz on the side, and my house would always be clean! I’d have dinner on the table at six every night, and my darks would never fade!

And, well, I didn’t all quite turn out that way, but let me tell you what I do know, now that I am forty.

It’s hopeless to try to make pavlova on a damp day.

Eye cream feels good.

Exercise, while encouraged for its physical health benefits, is actually best at bringing your spirits up, spurring brainy thoughts, and getting in touch with your soul. It has nothing to do with size [fill in the blank] clothes, or placing in a sporting event.

Even though you might not have seen them in years, and even though your respective spiritualities and lifestyles don’t jive at all, it is important to visit your uncles and your aunts. It means as much to them as it will come to mean to you. Graciously accept the teacup-and-saucer sets that they offer you to take home.

You don’t have to make laundry or vacuuming or dishes into a big deal: it all has to be done, like flossing and getting up in the morning. So, because we are grown-ups, we do it.

The stupid things that you did when you were in your twenties really have made you who you are. So you didn’t get a Rhodes scholarship. You survived and it may give you something to write about one day.

You can be a leader, in ways that you could never even have imagined. When you think, “This is so lame, why doesn’t anyone do something about it?” that’s your cue to do something. People will follow.

Fancy hotels really do have nice sheets. And it’s okay to like that.

When your friends complain about their no-longer-absolutely-taut tummies, it has absolutely nothing to do with you. You dream that they could love themselves the way that you love them, but it has nothing to do with you. Pause, blink, and change the subject.

Competing with others (when you’re not a professional athlete) is closely related to how you feel about yourself: everything begins to get so much more spacious when the competition ends.

People might come and go, and it will all be okay.

I like to say that everything changed the day I turned forty. It did, and it didn’t. Maybe I’m wiser; maybe I’m more light-hearted. Things that I used to think mattered really don’t. And I’m still working on dinner times and my darks wash.

Happy birthday, Jessika! May you be smarter than the rest of us, and sooner. Keep your spark lit, and if your flame starts to flutter, always come back to the community of friends that you built. xo

Editor’s note: in all the rush and bustle of this month Lori-Ann’s lovely post got pushed past my birthday week but I think these are the perfect words to see us into a new year. A gentler, more loving, wide open year full of acceptance, change, and journeying with friends. Thank you for the gift of your words Lori-Ann! xoxo Jess

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Lori-Ann Claerhout has written 9 posts on Oh My! Handmade Goodness. Lori-Ann crafts words in the modern, energy efficient house that she and Mike built in Canada’s near boreal forest. Here, she cross-country skis, swims, dreams at the stars, spreads love in her communities, and constructs ideas in the woods.
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  • http://www.threebysea.com nicole : three by sea

    Amen, sister. It’s nice getting a bit wiser, happier, and more at peace with it all, isn’t it?

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Yes! Yes! Yes! I’ve always loved getting older & celebrating my birthday + the lessons learned while climbing and falling. I swear every year out from 16 just gets better and better! I’m not sure why everyone tells you that teen years are the best of your life, it seems the older I get the more my skin fits me, the deeper my breath reaches, the more my arms stretch & encompass. I am thankful I have some of the most radiant women in my life leading the way-I’m looking at you Lori-Ann & Nicole!

  • http://www.tricotaria.com Andreia

    Happy birthday Jessica! I’m almost there too :)

  • http://stephdouglas.com Stephanie Douglas

    Love your post Lori-Ann and after turning 50 last year, I’m still working on laundry and dinner times.

    The absolute best thing about turning 50 and now, soon to be 51 was witnessing Jessika’s 30th birthday and the incredibly wonderful woman she has become and the brilliant women I have had the chance to meet through her. Have a wonderfully joyous New Year.

  • http://www.cpercydesigns.com.au Chrsitine

    I love these words “Competing with others (when you’re not a professional athlete) is closely related to how you feel about yourself: everything begins to get so much more spacious when the competition ends.” So true. These words should be turned into a one of those pretty images you pin in Pinterest.

  • http://Borealtrim.com Lori-Ann

    Thank you for all of your thoughtful comments! And Christine–you’re right. Who’s up for making an image of the “competition” line?

  • http://www.manusmade.com Tania Wojciechowski

    Lori-Ann – so thoughtful, I love it. I’ve done a lot of reflection too since i turned 40 a couple of years ago. So many of my own changes have come since that time, and you’re right – it’s like I’m easing into the person I’ve always been – no longer fighting it, no longer wanting to be something different. I always thought I’d have it completely ‘together’ by this time. I don’t, and that’s ok. The surprise for me has been to realize it’s all been me all along, now it’s time to fully dive into all that that means, and live life solely from that beautiful space. xoxo