Monday, May 24, 2004

Life lessons learned by 40


Women who rock are ones who follow the beat of a different drummer

By Peggy O'Farrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Am I a grown-up yet?

I'm asking myself that a lot this year. Like roughly 4 million other Americans born in 1964, I have reached my 40th birthday. We are the last of the baby boomers, a generation we don't quite identify with, but often prefer to Gen-X, in terms of identification.

For me, big birthdays inspire reflection. (They also inspire alcohol consumption - moderate, of course - so it's possible there's a link there.)

One of the lessons I've learned along the way is that, if you're paying attention, you never have all the answers because you keep finding new questions to ask. And that's a good thing.

Other life lessons from my first 40 years:

• My aspirations have gotten higher; the rest of me has dropped an inch or two.

• Life is too short for shoes that hurt.

• Apple pie a la mode is all the proof I need of a benevolent universe.

• Love and hope are things you do, not things you have.

• If a man says he's not good enough for you, believe him. Depending on the man, that might be the only thing you should believe. Corollary: If you don't know his last name, phone number, address, place of employment, parents and best friend, he shouldn't know your ATM code.

• Some days, the only battle you win is picking the right lipstick. Celebrate it anyway.

• Pat Benatar still rocks, and always will. Ditto for Madeline Albright, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, Katharine Hepburn, Maya Angelou and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, just to different rhythms.

• I love the poem, too, but why wait till you're over 50 to wear your red hat?

• Sheryl Crow was right: It's not having what you want; it's wanting what you have.

• Yes, you are strong enough. When the time is right, you'll find that out.

E-mail pofarrell@enquirer.com




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