I’m turning 40 next week. I guess I should be planning a big birthday party, but after giving some thought, I’ve decided to go with something different this year.
You see, I’ve never been the type of person who’s followed a crowd or have I ever lived a standard normal life – whatever that is? In fact, if everyone was doing the same thing, I always choose to be different. Sometimes being different wasn’t a matter of choice, it’s who I was.
In the past, I’ve always planned a birthday celebration filled with friends and family. The celebration was always with the intention of letting go of all things negative and only bring all things positive to the next coming year. It was a celebration of a new beginning and taking those life lessons with me, to be a better woman.
Every year all friends welcomed the new year and not once did someone ask, “are you depressed because you’re getting old?” Society feels that turning 40 should be a year of sadness and depression. Especially if you’re a woman. Why is that? So I thought to myself, am I missing something? Is there something they see that I don’t see? So I started reflecting on my life to see if there was a reason to be sad or depressed. And I found nothing to be depressed about. In fact it wound up to be a perfect reflection of where I am right now.
Here’s what I’ve discovered about myself at 40:
1. The Power of One Simple Word, NO
When we are young—or even in our 30’s—we often have a hard time saying no to things we don’t want to do and often say yes to everything because we’re worried that we won’t know what we’ll like if we don’t try it. But by 40, you know what you like—and what you don’t. You no longer have to pretend to. Finding the word NO has brought so much more experiences into my life and choices that I am proud of. I don’t have to be somewhere I don’t want to be, but I choose to be. Trust me, saying no to something you know you don’t want to do, won’t hurt that person. They’ll get over it.
2. All The Right People Are Left Standing Beside You
Take a look around you. Who do you see standing beside you? I do mean beside you, not in front of you or behind you. By the time you reach forty, you also learn to do a little friendship cleaning. You get rid of the girlfriends who never had anything positive to say, or the boyfriends who never knew how to support your success or dreams. Perhaps you learn after a few constant disappointments, but you learn to know that only those who stand beside you are the one’s that deserve your undivided attention and the value they bring to your life. Haters will always hate, even from a distance. That’s exactly where they should be. Distant. By forty, drama is no longer attractive; it is merely repetitive. I’ve learned to shed those who bring me down and surround myself with the most positive people I know.
3. Trust That Inner Voice
We doubt ourselves and we lack confidence in ourselves when we are young, we all have. But over time we learn to trust that inner voice, our feelings. After all, they’re your feelings, and there are no such things as wrong ones. Don’t second-guess that feeling in your gut! Ever since I started following those gut instincts, I haven’t been wrong.
4. Opinions Are Exactly That, Opinions
Listen, we know you can’t escape family or trade them in for another. You also can’t change who people are. And everyone has an opinion on how you should live your life. We can’t control what comes out of their mouth sometimes, but we can change how we respond to those interesting opinions. No need to have a meltdown over someone’s opinion or even get into a debate. It’s their opinion, you have your life to enjoy anyway you choose to, with your head held high. Sometimes even those who love you, don’t know what’s always best for you.
5. Learn to Let Go of Fear
If you think it’s scary to age, it’s not. Every year should be an excellent time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished: the impossible career goals you’ve met, the marathon you ran and the relationships you’ve built, whether with a significant other or a group of friends. But as you reflect on success, it’s also a time to reflect on goals you still want to accomplish, like taking that trip you’ve always wanted to take or learn a new skill, for the sake of passion. You are still young, fit and healthy. Your mind is sharp, and you’ve still got a long way to go. Don’t let age keep you from fulfilling your dreams, dare to explore, fearless.
Look, I’m not in denial. I know that I won’t live for eternity and my health will slowly catch up to me, but why should one feel like forty should be the age to stop living or making dreams come true? We just have to make some minor adjustments, and sacrificing my happiness is non-negotiable.
Why Celebrate at an All Girls Orphanage?
So by now you are asking, what all this has to do with me choosing to celebrate my 40th Birthday at an all girls orphanage, right? For me, turning forty is the beginning of life filled with light, knowledge and clarity. For the most part, I have everything I personally and mentally need. I am a successful woman in so many ways, but getting to this level wasn’t easy. In fact it was very hard.
According to statistics, I was never suppose to be where I am today. A once upon a time, immigrant from Mexico, raised in the ghetto, pregnant at 18, high-school drop out, single parent, was never suppose to make it – some of you may already know this story. Today, I have my son in college, who’s majoring in Computer Science, financially independent, work at an awesome Digital Marketing Agency, leading a Social Media team where I consult Fortune 500 Companies and many other levels of organizations.
However, today my goal is to inspire more Latinas and all women to explore industries like technology, so they can become innovators and leaders. I didn’t get to this level of success alone. I’ve been blessed to have met the right people in my life, the people who believed in me and took a chance on me. I owe those people who gave me, “a statistic”, a chance. I want to those who took a chance on me to know, that their mentorship, time and advice didn’t go to waste.
Perhaps this post may seem selfish of me, but this year, for my birthday, I don’t want a big party and I don’t need presents. What I would enjoy more than anything for my birthday this year is to give young girls an opportunity for an education and I would like those who know me, my friends and my family to make this happen.
How to help make a birthday wish come true:
For my 40th, thanks to the non-profit organization, the Orphaned Earring, we would like donations of school supplies, such as notebooks and pencils to an all girls orphanage in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, so they can have a chance in life to learn, dream and hope. Most of the young girls come from different background, abused and abandoned. All though they are pleased with currently having a roof over their head, they will most likely never have someone believe in them and tell them that someday they can succeed, regardless of their current challenges.
Wouldn’t it be great if we can show these young girls that there are people out there that do believe in them? Providing them these basic tools can be the beginning of hope for them.
To learn more about the Orphaned Earring and their cause, please visit their website: The Orphaned Earring.
You can mail/ship your donation of notebooks and pencils to:The Orphaned Earring P.O. Box 1565 Hawthorne, CA 90251 or Send a donation via paypal or Square Cash to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Orphaned Earring and myself, will personally deliver all donations to the orphanage this month. But please feel free to continue to support the organization after this month has passed.
My passion is to inspire women and young girls to embrace their inner geek, and sometimes that means going back to basics by providing the tools they currently need. In this case, for this group of young girls, it’s hope, notebooks and pencils.
Helping make this wish come true brings me closer to accomplishing a bucket list full of dreams.
I thank you for spreading the news and for your kind donation. Let’s continue to pay it forward and show all girls can embrace their inner geek. No matter where they are in the world.