Tomorrow I’m turning 40. Even as I type it, it seems surreal. I’m not sure how this happened, but I’ve decided I’m owning it. Like a shiny medal that announces I’ve accomplished something. It’s a promotion that can only be attained by living this long. It’s an invitation to join the exclusive club of “Been There, Done Thats” where the members nod to each other in silent understanding.

It’s having to get a bigger trunk to store up all the life lessons you’ve learned along the way. I’ve gathered up a lot of those by now. And today, I’m sharing 40 of my favorites with you.

1. 40 is a lot younger than I used to think it was.

2. Laugh lines are proof that you’ve had a fun life.

3. Diamonds are not a girl’s best friend.

4. Hard work teaches lessons that nothing else can.

5. Never be too proud. There is always someone who is better than you. Never be unthankful. There is always someone less fortunate than you.

6. Think before you speak. {Proverbs 29:11 “A fool uttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth it in til afterwards.”}

7. Rules should never be more important than people.

8. Never take your family for granted.

9. Fresh flowers can make a house feel like home.

10. Write thank you notes.

11. Count your blessings.

12. If you say, “My child would never___, ” it’s almost guaranteed that they will.

13. Treat him like a king and he’ll treat you like a queen.

14. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make time stand still.

15. Distance cannot separate true friends.

16. You will rarely regret being generous.

17. Dirty dishes actually can wait.

18. Exercising your creativity is very therapeutic.

19. Even the meekest mothers have a crazy Mama Bear side.

20. God never looks at anyone and sees a hopeless cause, and neither should we.

21. Laughter really is the best medicine.

22. Learn how to forgive. Even the people who will never ask for it.

23. Sooner or later, we all quote our mothers.

24. Don’t worry about what’s at the bottom of the cliff until you know for sure you have to jump.

25. God is good all the time.

26. Sometimes you just need to cry.

27. It doesn’t have to be made from scratch to be delicious.

28. If you really want to encourage someone, encourage their child.

29. The laundry can never be completely caught up unless you are doing laundry naked.

30. Never underestimate the power of a praying parent.

31. Jesus never fails.

32. It’s hard to be angry with a gracious person.

33. The best investment you can ever make is in the life of another person.

34. All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. {Romans 8:28}

35. One of life’s greatest blessings is being married to your best friend.

36. Never miss an opportunity to encourage someone. It may stay with them their entire life. Never take the opportunity to tear someone down. It may stay with them their entire life.

37. Learn from other people’s experiences as well as your own.

38. “Pomp and Circumstance” makes me cry every time.

39. God’s plan is better than any plan I could ever come up with on my own.

40. Happily Ever Afters can and do happen. I’m living proof.