For those unfamiliar, the title of this post comes from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. First, let me confess that I have never read the book. I know I should have but I haven’t so let’s just accept that right now. But for years, I have known that 42 is, in fact, the answer to life, the universe and everything. And as of March 16, I shall be 42.
Does that mean I am the answer to life, the universe and everything? Hmmm, as much as I can have some misconceptions of my own importance….I’m likely not the answer. But I know in my 42 years, I have learned a few lessons about life, love and how to get through the world.
- Heartbreak will not kill you. There may be moments when you feel like it will. There may be moments when you wish it would. But it won’t kill you. And there is a lot to learn in heartbreak. Both in terms of what is important to you, and how people can be kind (or not) even in the most difficult of circumstances. And it does get better. There are loves that it has taken me years to get over, but I have, and should I find heartbreak again, I will. I have absolutely no doubt about that.
- Divorce doesn’t mean that you failed. It means that the relationship came to an end but ending does not equal failure. It just means ending. I’ve been married and divorced twice. And I was ready to stay in a really unhappy marriage because I didn’t want to be seen as a failure. Eventually, I figured out how stupid that thought was and I ended my marriage but there are moments when I can get swept up in the idea that somehow “I failed.” I didn’t fail, the relationship just ended and hopefully we are both on a path to happier things.
- Staying married for your kids is a huge mistake. And it’s the weak person’s excuse. Is divorce hard on kids? Absolutely. But raising kids in an unhappy marriage is much more damaging. Parents have a lot of jobs but one of the most important is to model healthy relationships, boundaries and decisions to their kids. Years ago, I had a friend who was miserably married but he wouldn’t leave because of his kids and when I asked him the advice he would give to his son in the same position, he was dumb struck. I also think staying married for your kids puts a huge burden on them that they do not deserve.
- The toughest and most satisfying love affair you can have is with yourself. But falling in love with yourself can feel utterly terrifying. Which on some level makes absolutely no sense. You are the only person who will be with you all of the time. Why is it so much easier to give your heart to someone else who can potentially leave, than it is to give your heart to yourself who will be there, always?
- Don’t fake orgasm. Just don’t. It teaches your partner that they don’t have to do much to take care of you and you are worth more than that.
- And along that line – don’t feel guilty about having to teach your partner how your body works. All of our bodies are different and no one can read your mind. What one person likes may make the other person’s skin crawl. It doesn’t mean anything, other than our bodies are different and telling someone what you want is the best gift that you can give to someone who wants nothing more than to make you happy.
- And have sex with the lights on. Sure, most of us have some level of insecurity about our body but just accept and know that if someone is naked with you and making love – they are fine with your body. It’s much like Elizabeth Gilbert’s line from “Eat, Pray, Love” – “He’s in a room with a naked girl, he just won the lottery.” Recently, I almost apologized to my partner for not being prettier and realized how ridiculous that was. He was clearly very happy to be with me. Sometimes a girl just needs to shut her trap and enjoy.
- Make a weekly grocery list and just stick to it. It’s really that simple.
- And last but not least – no one is paying nearly as much attention to you as you think they are. No one. I am sure that most of us could wear the same outfit 3 days in a row and next to no one would notice. Most of us are just trying to make it through our day and really can’t worry that much about other people.
I am sure I have some other lessons to share but this feels like a good list. But most of all – happy birthday to all of us. And if you are so inclined, raise a glass (preferably a bold red wine or a hoppy beer) to me on 3/16 and let’s do this birthday thing right!
I'm a single lady living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with 2 cats named Leo and Toby (after characters on "The West Wing" - one day I will have the ability to recite the entire series by heart.That's a noble goal, yes?).
I've had a varied career doing a bunch of technical stuff that isn't that interesting to folks who aren't doing it but my real passion is writing.I also get the fabulous pleasure of coaching people from time to time and that brings me amazing joy and energy.
If you want to hang with me there are things you should know:I curse.A lot.I like hoppy beer.A lot.I like big and deep red wines. A lot. I adore my friends.A lot, a lot.I am passionate about politics (or a big geek about them - you choose).I'm an accidental but rather passionate Unitarian and few things make me happier than my dining room table surrounded by people I love.And picking paint colors, let's not forget that. Find me online here.