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40 Things I have Learned in 40 Years

Lordy, Lordy, look who’s 40! I can hardly believe today is my 40th birthday! Today on the blog, I thought I would share 40 lessons I have learned in my 40 years!

And in David Letterman fashion, let’s start at 40 and work our way to number 1! Although, honestly, they are really in no particular order! They are just written as they came to my mind!

40. Find Joy in Every Day

Yep! In 40 years, I have had some good days and some bad days, but there is truly something every day that can bring joy. Some days, almost the entire day is great, and other days, finding that joy is as small as a sleepy, snoring dog beside me as I work.

39. Do What Makes You Happy

For 13 years, I was an elementary school teacher! I truly felt like that is what I was called to do! But the last several years of teaching, I was very stressed. I remember thinking that I was not qualified to do anything else! After many prayers, I told Briton, “I think I am going to start a blog!” That was about 6 years ago, and I cannot believe that I get to do *THIS* as a job! And that brings me to my next point…

My first first grade class. They are now graduated from college!

38. Follow Your Dreams

It is easy to get in a daily routine! Trust me, I have been there! When I decided to stop teaching and go after blogging full-time, it was SCARY! I carried the insurance since Briton was self-employed, I had a steady job that paid the bills, I had retirement investments in teaching. But I followed my dream, and I still cannot believe this wild ride! So if you have something you have been dreaming of – big or small… GO FOR IT!

37. Say “YES” as Much as You Can

At my baby shower for Henry, the ladies in the room went around and shared one piece of advice for me as a new mom. I honestly do not remember any of them but this one, “Say ‘yes’ as much as you can!” But that advice has stuck with me! Often times (at least for me), a first instinct is to say “no”! Saying “yes” opens so many doors!

This picture was taken right before Henry’s first plane ride! He was about 5 months old.

36. Sometimes You have to Say “No”

While I do try to say “yes” to as much as I can! Another piece advice that has stuck with me is this, “Sometimes you have to say ‘no’ to some things so that you can say ‘yes’ to the things that really matter!” Saying “no” is hard for me to do! I am a people pleaser who just wants to help! But I have learned over the years to prioritize the most important things I need to say “yes” to!

35. Set Boundaries with Work

It is sometimes hard to draw a line between work and home! And if you work from home like Briton and I, the line becomes even blurrier! Someone once told me, “The great thing about working from home is that you can work whenever you want! And the hard thing about working from home is that you can work whenever you want!” Set boundaries!

In 2020, we turned our guest room into an office for me.

34. Do Something Every Day That Makes You Smile

As I type this, I am watching Ted Lasso, and I just got done laughing until I had tears in my eyes! Laughter truly is the best medicine! Smiling actually burns more calories than frowning anyway! Ha! Researchers have determined that just 15 minutes of laughter a day can help you burn between 10 and 40 calories, depending on your weight and how intense your laughter is. So burn those calories!

33. Find a Crew that Celebrates You

Social media is definitely a “highlight reel”, and sometimes it is hard to celebrate other’s successes! But the great news is that there is enough success to go around for all of us! So find a crew that celebrates when you have a success! And do the same for them!

Some of my dearest college friends!

32. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

I remember reading another quote, “Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s almost all small stuff!” It really stayed with me because truly almost everything is “small stuff” and not worth letting it ruin your day! After my sister passed away from cancer in October 2020, it truly put my life into perspective!

31. Be Willing to Help

One thing that truly brings my joy is helping others! If I am available, I am always happy to help! When my sister was sick, I found that the village I was helping along the way took the time to help ME!

30. Take Care of Yourself

It’s hard to do sometimes – especially as a wife and mom! We spend so much time taking care of other people, being a free taxi service, a chef, a cleaning service, and more! Sometimes (often times!) it’s hard to pause and take care of ourselves!

29. Drink Your Water

When I was still teaching first grade I struggled to get my daily amount of water! I was also struggling with some major digestion issues! I went to see a biochemist, and one of the things he stressed was the importance of getting my daily intake of water. He recommended getting 8 ounces of water every hour from the time that you wake up. Then after you eat a meal, you should wait three hours before drinking 8 ounces again. At first, I had to set a timer on my phone to help me remember, but now it comes more naturally! It has made a huge difference in my digestion.

28. Allow Yourself Some Treats

Yes…. most of the time I try to eat healthy “whole” foods. But when I am on vacation or out, I will splurge! And it’s okay to do that sometimes! Don’t beat yourself up if you “cheat” occasionally!

27. Go Out with Friends

The older I have gotten, the more I just want to be home! And honestly, when I am invited out, much of the time, I just want to stay home! But I ALWAYS have a great time when I do it!

26. Take a Getaway with Friends

Boy, it can be hard to organize the schedules of friends for a getaway! These ladies are my best “blogger” friends! We talk almost every day through text or messages! It has been so good for my soul to have a great group of friends that support, uplift, and encourage!

This picture was taken on our latest trip to Mexico for a few days to getaway!

25. Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses

I am really good at some things, and I stink at other things! I always joke to Briton that I am really good at shopping and have found a way to make a living doing that! But I am AWFUL at doing my books and taxes! Luckily, I have an amazing support system (Briton and his dad!) to help me! Also, I learned last week, that I am not an expert at cleaning dryer ducts!! I watched a YouTube video and was feeling pretty good about what I needed to do! I ordered the tool on Amazon, and I was doing an amazing job at getting lint out…… and then…… the brush broke off and got stuck at 5 1/2 feet in! Long story short, we finally got it out a week later! I say all of this to say that it’s okay to not be great at everything! Know your strengths and do them!

24. Be Flexible

Life does not always go as you planned! Heck, my day rarely goes as I planned! Accept the day as it comes and be flexible!

23. Show Grace

Sometimes people make mistakes! Your reaction can make their day better or worse! And more than likely, you are teaching your kids how to act! Turns out they, do listen to some of the things you say!

22. Get a Dog – or TWO

We have had Sammy (black & tan) for 7 years and George (ruby) for 2 years, and they are constantly by my side! Honestly, they have also been such a calming peace since my sister passed away. They have really helped with my anxiety.

My two buddies – Sammy (left) and George (right)!

21. Life is Not Fair

If you would have told me at Christmas in 2019 that my sister would not be there the following year, I would not have believed you! She was one of the healthiest people I knew. But in May 2020, she was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away later that year in October. Life is not fair.

20. Ask for Help

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always like to ask for help! My personality just tells me that I can handle most things on my own. It is OKAY to ask for help and delegate! Many hands makes light work!

19. Know Your Limits

As much as I tell myself that I am Superwoman and can do it all, I really CANNOT do it all! Listen to your body! If it it telling you to take a break from work, take a pause and do some physical activity! It is okay if you can’t do it all! Set your limitations and know when need to take a break!

18. More Self Care

It might sound selfish, but I get massages on a regular basis! Not only does it help my sore muscles heal, but it forces me to relax for an hour! Whatever it is that helps you care for yourself better, DO IT!!

17. Take More Deep Breaths

Deep breathing not only helps relax you, it also gives you more energy! That fresh oxygen is invigorating to your cells! I was told that you should do five minutes of deep breathing five times a day! I am horrible at remembering to do this! But man, I do feel better if I manage just to give minutes of deep breathing in a day!

16. Rest

Hello, my name is Candace, and I have a hard time just “being”! I am constantly doing something! Even when I watch a show, I am usually working or folding laundry! I made it a goal this year to stop working at 9:00pm so that I can just “be” while watching a murder mystery with Brit at night! I try to get 8-9 hours of sleep every night because that is what my body needs!

15. Set Goals

I am a goal digger! For my business especially, I set goals so that I can continue to grow! Goals are great for your personal life as well! I made a goal to be in the best shape of my life before turning 40! Not sure if I made that one or not, but I feel great! Even though I am not 40, I still feel like I am in my 20s – well, most of the time!

14. Make a Dream Board

Along with setting goals, I also made a Dream Board! I have personal and business dreams on this board! I definitely believe in the power of positive thinking! I see my dreams every day and have already made some come true! Up next… finally publish the children’s book I wrote years ago when I was still teaching!

13. Travel

When I was younger, we didn’t really travel much! My mom is from Tennessee, so most family vacations were in her hometown in Tennessee! Now that I am older and can afford to do more trips, it has been a blast traveling to places I have never been and seeing the history of each trip! Since my sister passed away almost three years ago, saying “yes” to travel and living in the moment has become even more important. Last summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Rome to visit my brother and sister-in-law! It was one of the best trips I have ever experienced!

This picture was taken in Rome, Italy right before we toured the Coliseum.

12. If the Shoe Fits, Buy it in Every Color

Okay…. maybe not EVERY color! But when I really love something, I usually do buy it in multiple colors because I know I will wear it over and over again! I like to use my “shopping calculator” to see if the purchase is worth it! I divide the price on the number of wears I will wear the item and decide whether it is worth the price!

11. Tip Generously

My first real job besides babysitting was waitressing at a local restaurant! I was paid $2.13 an hour plus tips! And while I am sure the hourly wage has increased over the years, it is still so important to tip generously! Leave that extra dollar or ten and make your server’s day!

10. The Pain of Grief Gets Easier

Well, this is a hard pill to swallow. My sister died over two year ago, and while the freshness of grief does ease with time, it is definitely still something you feel daily. I read a quote that reminded me that me that burden of pain doesn’t get lighter, you get stronger at carrying it around. You will know you are past the worst of grieving when the memory of a person brings you more peace than pain.

9. Hardships Make You Better or Bitter

Life can definitely throw some curveballs your way, and when tough things happen, you have a choice to become better or bitter. It is not always an easy road, but by sharing my story it has helped me become a better person. I would not wish the loss of a sibling on anyone, but I know God is using this situation for the good.

8. There will Never be a Perfect Time

Often times in life we want to say, “I will do this or that when _____.” But I am hear to tell you, there will never be a perfect time! There may always be something standing in your way, but if you have a dream, do not wait around in the hopes that it will come true! Go after it!

7. Stay Active

One of the biggest things that has helped with my anxiety since my sister passed away is staying active!! I play pickleball most weekday mornings and then do a short weight lifting workout after that! I have never felt better! Sure, my body still has stretch marks and a c-section scar from my kids, but those are just part of my journey!

6. Shop on the Outside Aisles

Yes, there are a few items that you may occasionally need from the inner aisles, but the outside aisles are the ones that have the food that is the healthiest!! Bring on all the fruits, veggies, and proteins!

5. Don’t Buy Your “Weakness” Food

I love chips and pretty much all salty snacks! I also love fruity candies! And while I won’t occasionally splurge and eat them, I purposely do not purchase them because I do not have the willpower to resist them! So if I avoid purchasing them, I make much better eating decisions!

4. Make the Memories

We had the realization that we have 6 years left with Henry and only 8 years left with Lucy before they had to college and start a life of their own! We try to take the kids to experiences as much as we can!! In fact, we also love when family members take them on experiences for birthdays and Christmas rather than give them a gift!

3. Be Kind

I always tell my kids, you may not be able to control what someone does with the kindness you have extended, but you will never regret being kind to someone! And you never know how that kindness will come back to you!

2. Nothing is More Important than Family

If there is one thing I learned more than anything in 2020, nothing is more important than family! We are so fortunate to have almost all of our family within 30 minutes from our house!

This was our last family photo taken in 2020 before my sister passed away.

And above all….

1. Love God

I honestly do not know how someone makes it through a tragic situation like losing a family member without the promise from God that you will see them again! I sure make a ton of mistakes every day! I am grateful for the grace I am shown! Loving God is a part of who I am, and I hope I am able to share that with everyone around me!

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