10 Things I Took for Granted in my 20s and 30s but Adore in my 40s

  1. Sleep. Kids…work…travel…stress…kids (did I say that one already?) There are so many things that seem to be conspiring to sabotage sleep. Even quiet moments in the morning when I try to keep my eyes pressed shut and force a few more minutes of sleep before the alarm goes off end up consumed with a running list of things I need to do for work, for the kids, around the house, etc. While a full night of sleep is a rare experience, the afternoon catnap is non-existent. I’ve found that it’s not even just the time but the mental freedom to just let everything go for the 30 minutes required to really get in a good snooze or to stay under the covers in the morning with that mental list hovering over my side of the bed like a menacing thunder cloud of tasks.
  2. Springing Forward – it used to be all about that extra hour of sleep (see #1) but now the upside of an extra hour of daylight far outweighs the one hour lost on Saturday night. It means a little more productivity out of each day. It’s like an extra hour in which to get things done.
  3. A good dump. OK, TMI perhaps, but now I know what all those people in the Senokot commercials have been singing and dancing about all these years to the tune of “I feel good!” As an added bonus, this is often the only time and place in my house that I have complete privacy behind a locked door.
  4. Reading. I used to be a bookworm. I read ravenously. One of our family rules growing up, the one I was most likely to get scolded for breaking, was “no reading at the table.” Even in school I’d find time to read a good paperback every once in a while, between assigned reading texts. These days, aside from work materials, I’m lucky if I get in a thorough skim of the Wall Street Journal or, in a particularly indulgent few minutes, an entire magazine article. My beloved Vanity Fair articles seem like full-length dissertations these days so I have to settle for looking at the pretty pictures or US Weekly’s “Who Wore it Best”.
  5. That first sip of an ice cold beer. Back in college it was all about volume and we weren’t particularly concerned with whether it was served in a frosty glass…or was cold at all. Free always trumped Cold (and often, Free trumped Good!). Back then we drank for a specific purpose; suffice it to say, if one drinks in their 20’s and beyond like one drank in college, an immediate 12-step intervention would be called for. Now, the social aspect, the relaxation, the celebration of the end of a workday, celebration of getting all the kids into bed and read to, or a social or relaxing moment is more likely the impetus for a drink. Especially on a hot day, the first icy gulp of a freshly opened or poured beer as it leaves a delightful chill down the throat and esophagus is just heavenly.
  6. Laughter. Not just the LOL from behind a computer screen, or the polite chuckle at a colleague’s joke (that really wasn’t that funny anyway, but you’ve got to sit on a committee with this schmuck so yuk it up) but real hurts-my-stomach, tears-in-my-eyes, can’t-stop-to-explain-to-someone-what-the-hell-is-so-funny laughter. The kind of laughter that you can’t tone down even though the folks at the next table are shooting you annoyed glares, or that makes you choke on your last sip of wine. When I think about how many nights in school my friends and I sat around cutting up and laughing hysterically at the most random of jokes and occurrences, it strikes me how infrequently in our busy days, weeks, months and years we really let loose and bust a gut laughing. I miss it. But I do cherish it when it happens.
  7. Being Bored – I remember many times as a kid, whining, “I’m bored” to my parents and really meaning it. There was nothing I was responsible for that was undone and the piles of toys, books and video games and the vast outdoors offered no amusement. How I miss that true feeling of boredom (along with all the baths and naps I protested as a kid)! Even in the rare instance where everything is checked off of my “pressing” to-do list, there are always a million more things that really should get done. Before I even have a second to feel bored, I feel guilty knowing that there are way too many things to do to justify the indulgence of feeling bored.
  8. Getting Mail – Now that most of my bills are received and paid electronically, there isn’t much of interest that comes in the mailbox, which is a shame. Pretty much anything of interest now comes electronically, which is a shame – party invitations are now evites, thank you cards are electronic, pictures are sent digitally, magazines are on one pad or tablet or another. The holidays provide the last bastion of opening the mailbox and finding actual paper cards that sometimes even have a hand-scrawled holiday wish and signature underneath the pre-printed message.
  9. Compliments – Maybe we’re just busier as a society or maybe the walls of social distance have gotten a little thicker, but I find that people are not as generous with compliments as we used to be. Even though it’s not necessarily as special as a compliment from family, friend or significant other, a compliment from a stranger can still make my day. They have nothing to gain and may even risk embarrassment or rejection for going out of their way to provide a compliment, so somehow it carries weight with me. So don’t be stingy with the compliments; who knows…you just might be providing the few words that make up for someone’s bad morning, make someone smile or make someone’s day.
  10. Lounging – coming home after work and slipping into something cozy to just CHILL. Watch TV, read a magazine, surf social media, paint my toenails…whatever. Just being home and relaxing.  However, sitting around in bed or on the couch drinking a goblet of wine in those old grungy sweats or worn out yoga pants looks like a drinking problem in the making… but lounging in some fabulous, comfy loungewear while sipping a bottle of wine is just fabulous!



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