40 Things at 40 Years

A few things I'm thinking about this trip around the sun.

  1. “Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” -Cheryl Strayed. In other words: you are allowed to change.
  2. You can trust the good, too.
  3. This is a love story.
  4. We are all a little bit of everything.
  5. Chase freedom, not happiness. Happiness is thin milk.
  6. What is not brought to consciousness, comes to us as fate.” - Carl Jung. Best get to know yo’self and what you’re up to. So when you get to where you were always heading, you’re not surprised.
  7. No amount of arguing with the truth will change it.
  8. It actually takes a hell of a lot of courage to be happy. I used to attach to my problems, my not-quite-rights, my self-pity, because if I let go of those things: then what? If I accepted that what I had was more than enough, who would notice that it’s not and fix it? What if God forgot me? What if everyone else eats all the pie and there’s none left for me? And most of all: what if my light was so fucking bright it burned me down? (I still do it, btw. Frequently.) It takes a lot of bravery to say: this is enough; I am going to stand in it; I am going to own it fully.
  9. Coffee, naps, music and ice cream are proof that God loves us.
  10. Parenthood is the great equalizer. Think you’re patient? Selfless? Mature? HAHAHAHAHA.
  11. It also works the other way around. Think love can’t move mountains? Or that your heart isn’t big enough to fit an entire universe inside? Sweet surprise.
  12. Self-care is a lot less about rubbing-lavender-oil-on-and-sinking-into-squishy-softness than it is not-leaving-yourself-as-you-breath-through-hard-edges.
  13. The universe has our back.
  14. Life is six thousand four hundred and fifty million times better without alcohol.
  15. We have so much work to do. 
  16. There is no loneliness like the loneliness of early sobriety.
  17. Loneliness has been one of my best teachers. More on that later.
  18. It’s a painful but intelligent design: in order to return home, we must first get lost.
  19. When I’m feeling lost, these two questions will always bring me back: Who are you? What are you doing here?
  20. I often want it to be about me, but it’s not about me.
  21. Life is not black and white. The truth always rests in paradox.
  22. I may not be lucky in love, but God has given me fucking goddesses as female friends.
  23. I’ve only just learned how to have and be a real friend. Sobriety gave me that.
  24. My baseline has permanently changed because of addiction. “This suuuucks can forever more be answered by, “Compared to what?” 
  25. Many people are not for me and that is ok.
  26. I am not for many people and that is ok.
  27. People will deeply misunderstand me and that has nothing to do with me.
  28. “Attention is the first and final act of love.” -Steve Almond
  29. I can still be jealous, self-righteous, condescending, petty, and cruel. I forgive myself for those things, mostly.
  30. It’s helpful to question what we consider difficult. Borrowing from Dawes, “Love is so much easier than you realize. If you can give yourself to someone then you should.”
  31. People promised me that I would reach a point where I wouldn’t regret the past or wish to shut the door on it. I didn’t believe them. I believe them now.
  32. Work is its own joy. I learned that from my dad.
  33. Pretty much all the answers are in this little book.
  34. If I have a spirit animal, it’s some combination of Louis CK, Ryan Adams and Mary Oliver. I really hope I have a spirit animal.
  35. It’s not our fault, but it’s our responsibility.
  36. “You can’t miss your boat. It’s yours. It stays docked till you’re ready. The only boat you can miss is someone else’s. Let them have theirs while you wait for the boat God made for you. God’s never early and never late. And know that love and life are patient. And that God is forever tries." - Glennon Doyle (I still have to work on this one a lot, but I’m closer more often.)
  37. This relationship is among my greatest blessings.
  38. My heart lives in the ocean.
  39. All the good stuff is in the mystery.
  40. There is no gift like this gift. There is nothing more precious than the pain of waking up to your life. Showing you this is the mountain I’m willing to die on.

xo, 
Laura

Laura McKowen

Laura McKowen, PO Box 315 , Swampscott, MA, 01907