A good friend told me, “You can turn 40 or die. The choice is yours.” I chose the former, and can now pass along wisdom I’ve accumulated in the four decades I’ve been alive.

1) Doing life with the yahoos in the above picture is all I need. Any other blessings that come my way are icing on the cake.

2) Women’s fashion choices range between Betty White and Selena Gomez. There is little middle ground.

3) True friends love you. Their loyalty has nothing to do with whether you’re skinny, youthful looking, or a good housekeeper.

4) There are no trophies awarded for enduring natural childbirth, tolerating gray hair, or refusing anti-depressants.

5) A good night’s sleep fixes most things.

6) A nap fixes everything else.

7) Dogs may be man’s best friend, but Spanx will never let a woman down.

8) Attitudes and perspectives do a 180 when a child gives you a hug.

9) The “cool lunch table” exists beyond high school. The difference is you eventually learn not to care whether you’re invited to sit at it.

10) Enough water, a Vitamin D supplement, plenty of sleep, and a good dose of fiber will cure almost any ailment.

11) My children are not my clones. That’s okay. If they turn out to love God and love people, I will consider my mothering successful.

12) Tight jeans say “Lay off the late-night snacks.” Loose jeans say “Eat another slice of pie.” Scales need not apply.

13) Enjoy the moment. Not every activity needs to be filmed or captured with a phone camera.

14) Marriage is not a competition. You and your spouse are on the same team.

15) Loving actions rooted in anything other than Christ’s love are simply known as “nice.” I refuse to be nice.

16) Schedule a yearly physical with your doctor. I’d rather have 15 minutes of uncomfortable interaction that may prevent a horrible disease than be absent from my family’s life.

17) Smile more.

18) Overcoming your fears should never apply to heights. I do not have to go skydiving to be a loving wife, mom, or successful career woman.

19) Register to vote. Then vote in every election, no matter how seemingly insignificant or inconvenient.

20) Jesus did not come to earth to live a human life, die a criminal’s death, and raise Himself from the dead for us to walk around in hopeless despair. We have Hope! Let’s start living like it.

21) Reframe your “mistakes” as “lessons.”

22) Spend more time creating memories and less time accumulating things.

23) Always see the best in people.

24) If you feel like you’re ready to explode, ask yourself, “Will this matter tomorrow? Will I remember this in a year?” If not, take a deep breath and save yourself regret.

25) Insert random thought because coming up with 40 things is harder than you thought.

26) Find a therapist. Schedule regular appointments. Repeat as necessary.

27) Everyone else doing Zumba or Yoga looks stupid, too. Just do your thing.

28) Pay compliments.

29) Offer grace.

30) People often say, “I’d tell my 20-year-old self…” and then offer a life-changing piece of advice. I don’t know what I’d tell younger me, but I hope older me looks back with a smile.

31) The most powerful two sentences you can say are: “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?”

32) You’ll never regret holding your tongue or hitting the backspace key.

33) Use all your vacation days without feeling guilty. Your employer gives you them for a reason.

34) Prioritize regular alone time with your spouse. This time can be spent talking or “talking.”

35) Ladies, speak your mind. If your husband says, “What do you want to do?” and you say, “I don’t care” but you really have a preference, you do not have the right to be mad simply because he can’t read your mind.

36) Try something new. I did, and I now have three crappy paintings hanging in my house.

37) Don’t be afraid to spend time with people older or younger than you. Friends in various seasons of life are great resources.

38) If I want to be healthy and spiritually mature at 80, then I can’t wait until then. I need to implement intentional habits today.

39) Decaffeinated coffee is useless.

40) Turning 40 is one more day I have to walk with Him, and God’s not done with me yet. He’s not done with you, either because “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)