40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years

I celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary and 40th birthday this week while the world wept.  Sorrow still clings, but life goes on.

I hate that it does sometimes. It seems like time should stand still, school should be canceled, and jobs abandoned with the loss of such innocence. And women who are too young to turn 40, don’t.

Life continues, but we are never the same. Armed policemen frequent my kids’ schools, my children’s questions have gotten harder and my answers, fewer. With unprecedented tragedy that shakes a nation, we hold our babies closer, we beseech God more and sadness mingles with joy this sacred season.

I’ve learned a lot in my journey and I still have much more to grasp. 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years:

  1. Getting bangs makes you feel 35
  2. And makes you *think* you’ve lost 5 pounds
  3. Parenting gets harder
  4. Marriage gets hotter
  5. I will struggle until I die
  6. The sadness in our world makes me long for His Kingdom on earth
  7. The “baby” weight is just called weight after 40
  8. Going with your twin sister to get a nose ring on a Thursday night at 8pm will make you feel 40 years old
  9. Backing out, even older
  10. I will always be old to my kids
  11. But never too old to believe in things I can’t see
  12. I will always have a frequent shopper card to the emergency room (product of being in THAT family)
  13. It’s okay to pass up a good deal if you don’t need anything
  14. It’s good to break rules every once in awhile
  15. I will never catch up on laundry
  16. I’m okay with never catching up on laundry
  17. Life’s too short not to say I’m sorry
  18. The urge to have another baby will pass (hopefully)
  19. 40 is a good year to get a puppy (hint, hint, honey)
  20. Sweet tea catches up with you
  21. Asking your hubby for an exercise bike for your birthday will put him in a pickle (he got me sassy boots instead)
  22. I just don’t have time for everything (I’m looking at you Twitter)
  23. Age brings freedom: I just don’t care about some things any more
  24. Having a slew of 20 and 30-something moms ask you for parenting advice will humble you every day
  25. Related: I still don’t know what I’m doing
  26. I need God more today than I did yesterday
  27. And also chocolate
  28. Babies grow up too fast
  29. Then one day they are smarter than you and they know it
  30. Never let them in on this knowledge
  31. Write even when no one reads
  32. It’s okay to believe you are beautiful
  33. And It’s okay for your beauty to have nothing to do with the way you look
  34. There’s no shame in being yourself
  35. God is full of good surprises (yesterday I got one for Mercy House that floored me!)
  36. To be absent from the body, is to be present with Jesus
  37. Be happy–dream big, live scared, this is it
  38. Be kind to others.
  39. Be good to yourself.
  40. Evil will never win


  1. 3

    Wendi says

    Happy birthday Kristen and happy anniversary. Welcome to the 40’s, they really are great years. I smiled and related to so many things on your list. :)

  2. 6


    well, i love this list. and somehow i missed that you have a twin (i know, i know, it means i’m a sporadic reader….) i have a twin, too and she is my best friend and we would giggle and chicken out of nose rings too but it would be one of our favorite nights ever.

  3. 9

    Amanda says

    I need to accept #5. I’m not going to wake up one day and it will be magically easier. It might not always be the same struggle, but it will never be easy. And apparently I need to get bangs.

  4. 10


    I can’t even tell you how much I love this!!! Some of these I have learned… some I’m still learning. Hope you had a great birthday.


  5. 11


    Love this…great list and thoughts. Nice to meet you! Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Um, happy “end of the world day” (tomorrow and all the other times it is supposed to happen and was supposed to happen yaddayaddayadda) and more so Happy Anniversary!

  6. 13

    Tamara says

    I love #31 the most…write even if no one reads! Great advice. Because someone, somewhere will always read it. =) Merriest of happy New Years!

  7. 15

    Jenny says

    Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary! God has blesses you with being real and down to earth and thats something special! Thank you for being yourself :)

  8. 17

    Kristi M. says

    Love your list! I turned 40 yrs last year and celebrated 18 yrs of marriage this year. I can relate to your 40 things! :)

  9. 20


    I adore this list!!!! I just celebrated my 39th birthday a few weeks ago and decided to write down 39 things I want to do before I turn 40 and then do them! I love the idea of this too and may just need to do this myself next year. I especially like #24 and 25.
    Happy Birthday (& Anniversary) Kristen!
    Please keep writing!

  10. 21

    CW says

    Happy birthday! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog; may the Lord bless you.

    I know this is presumptuous, but I feel the need to say: maybe the urge to have another baby is from God. Perhaps He has plans to reward you (Ps. 127: 3).

  11. 24

    Jessica says

    Well said. Forty brought a lot of inner freedom to me as well. I am so grateful for the years the Lord has given me. Thank you for your blog and for your ministry. Yours is one of the few blogs I still read. Partly because you are a Texan and I can relate at that level, but mostly because you are real and honest, qualities that I greatly admire. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>