Forty at Forty

Charlene Norman
6 min readSep 30, 2023

Today’s post is a bit longer than usual and is not even mine!

One of my social media buddies broadcast that his newly turned 40-year-old wife had written a list of 40 nuggets she had learned in her 30s. At least one or two things on this list will resonate with you.

  • Don’t be afraid not to know something; just say, “I don’t know,” and then Google it if you give a sh*t about it.
  • In the grand scheme, anger does not last. Love lasts. We typically only feel anger TOWARD something we love or in DEFENSE of something we love.
  • The sh*t you are ashamed of is your magic ingredient. It just needs to be alchemized.
  • The only thing you can control is your desire to control everything.
  • Having fun and feeling joy is not something you earn. It’s something that feeds your life’s purpose. It’s fuel.
  • If you regularly feel lonely, you need more time alone.
  • Everything you do is art. What you eat, what you say, how you think, what clothes you wear, who your friends are…it’s all art. And if you aren’t comfortable with creation, your life will feel empty.
  • If you’re afraid, you’re onto something.
  • If you are searching for beauty, you’re missing it.
  • Animals teach us everything we need to know about how to be human. It’s important to remember that we are an animal.
  • If you feel yourself being competitive, it means you’re selling yourself short.
  • Everyone deserves a compliment. But there is enough criticism in the world.
  • There are too many problems in this world. It’s overwhelming. Don’t be overwhelmed; just nuzzle into your skills. Your skills will solve the problems that you were meant to help the world solve. The rest is just not in your hands.
  • Even with the best intentions, people will see the worst. Instead of being offended, try to use it as evidence that you are doing something important. And be open to hearing what they think, but steady in what you feel is true.
  • People are in pain. All people. This is both sad and a really profound invitation to connect.
  • Don’t pander. Don’t pander with the length of your hair, the clothing you wear or the company you keep. Nothing is less powerful, less attractive and more flaccid than doing something, and I mean ANYTHING because you think other people want it. Show up as you. The energy of that will make people like you, even if they are shocked they do. But if they don’t, chalk it up to a nice preservation of energy.
  • You can love something on or about someone else and it can be wrong for you. This pertains to the cut of a shirt, a parenting technique, a style of humour, or really anything. Unfortunately, not everything is as clear as shoe size, but we would not try to walk around in shoes that don’t fit. We also wouldn’t condemn the ones that don’t. They are just for someone else.
  • Don’t make choices from a fearful place. Don’t be rushed into something because it feels safe. Betraying ourselves is NEVER safe. No matter what the map says, you will land in dark territory if you don’t trust your compass.
  • Most of our patterns are simply pain avoidance. Patterns control our lives. The discipline of becoming comfortable with discomfort is revolutionary. Sometimes it’s meditation, and sometimes it’s a three-breath pause. It’s alchemy.
  • No one is actually trying to hurt you. Everyone is just trying to save themselves. Do your best not to take things personally. It’s difficult because you are also trying to save yourself.
  • Every human alive is creative. The act of living is creative. Seeing the way people create their lives is a nonstop art show. It’s a moving, breathing, evolving gallery. Don’t forget to notice.
    It is scary to be loved. We try to protect ourselves from it while tirelessly trying to earn love. It’s confusing and a little embarrassing, but it helps that everyone does it.
  • Dogs are pure love. Do not smack a dog for forgetting what is right and wrong. They aren’t trying to be bad; they are just super, super excited to be alive. We have no idea how thrilling it must be to be in a constant relationship with almost catching that squirrel or DEFINITELY barking away the mailman.
  • Every single life matters. Even wasps. Grubs. Beetles. Mice. Don’t use pesticides and poison; use compassion and wonder. Those things will really amplify the magic in your life.
  • Your body will change. Some of the changes won’t be fun. Oh well. You still have a body, and that’s still a sh*t load of fun.
  • Money is important. The way you make it is even more important.
  • Smile at children. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whether you know them or not. Smile at them. Help teach them that it feels good to be kind.
  • You don’t earn your space by being beautiful or pleasing. You earn your space by being as potent of a version of yourself as you can muster.
  • Kids grow up. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes they will be mean, sometimes they will scare you, sometimes they will forget to hug you, or they will push you away. When you have a sacred seat in their life, you have to pay for the ticket. The currency is thick skin.
  • If you feel yourself taking something personally, you know your ego is at the wheel. Where your ego wants to believe everything is about you, your truer higher self knows everyone is just stumbling blind and nothing is about you at all.
  • If someone gives you strep throat, you wouldn’t refuse them amoxicillin because you were angry they gave it to you. Such is forgiveness.
  • What the Hallmark cards say is true. Growing old with someone is about falling in love with them over and over again. People are dynamic and change as they grow. If you aren’t willing to meet a person over and over again, learn from them over and over again, and appreciate them over and over again, they will become a part of your past. This is about more than romantic relationships. This is everyone you plan on making a life with.
  • I can create beautiful things. Doubting that is an act of violence to myself. Believing that only requires seeing what is in front of me.
  • Sometimes, being disliked by people is a huge compliment.
  • I have needs. Not having needs is not a virtue; it’s a sign of being in a state of zombie-like living. I want to have needs and demand that the needs have value. Both to myself and the people who want a VIP pass to my life.
  • Family is not defined by biological material. It’s defined by your willingness to love someone more than you dislike them at times.
  • The only diet/wellness plan you ever need is listening to your body. When that is hard, DON’T invest money in someone else’s profit-based scheme. Invest time in yourself. Then, your body will be able to be its best self.
  • If you hesitate to do something because of what people might think, it’s almost mandatory that you do it.
  • Grief is a heavy and inevitable part of life. It feels like inertia. It feels like vinegar on an open cut. It feels like having no lungs. And sometimes you can heal, and the grief becomes a memory. But sometimes, it is not something that can ever heal, and you will wear the grief forever. The way that kind of grief matures is that it becomes bittersweet. Like a tattoo of a person you loved, or a person that you used to be sprawled across the skin of who you are… like stretch marks.. the silvery indent of reluctance and discomfort. Strangely, you don’t want to live without it anymore. It’s a reminder of what you had. Life will always grow, and love is still worth it… even when it feels like grief.
  • Eternal youth is possible but has nothing to do with creams or injections. It has everything to do with seeing the joy right before you whenever possible.



Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.