Why I Care Less Since Turning 40
Want to feel better about turning 40? Learn to care less.
Do you know what is awesome about hitting your 40s?
Seriously. The older I get, the less I care about the things that don’t really matter.
And friends, it feels fabulous.
I’ve always given waaaaayyyyy too many cares.
Cares about what people thought of me. Cares about being perfect. Cares about not making mistakes and everything going smoothly all of the time.
Finally, finally, I am learning that life just doesn’t work that way.
There are always problems.
Always bumps in the road
Crappy things happen. Things don’t go as planned.
But now I know that once I cross a hurdle, whether it’s a small one or a big one….there is another hurdle in my path.
The hurdle might be just after the hurdle I just crossed. Or it might be several strides away, in the distance.
But if there’s one thing I know…..the track will always have hurdles. That’s pretty much a given.
So, I’ve started a new thing. It’s called caring less.
Learn to Care Less About Things That Don’t Matter
No, not caring less about life. Not caring less about working through things. But caring less about the crap that really doesn’t matter.
Take our morning routine, for example. It used to stress me out horribly.
Each day, I sang the song of the frenzied mom rushing an unmotivated child out the door.
“Get dressed. Brush your hair. Have you washed your face? You need to eat something. Brush your teeth. Is that what you’re wearing? Where is your coat? Please eat something. You need a coat. Do you have your homework? Really, you need to eat something. Get your coat. You have to wear your coat. Did you really brush your teeth?. We have to leave. We need to go. We have to leave. Now. Let’s go. Are you ready? Let’s go or we’ll be late. We’re gonna be late!”
For quite a while, it ramped up my anxiety. Every single day.
But not anymore.
Because last week, I just stopped caring so much.
I remember the moment so vividly. Sitting at the stoplight. Daughter picking out songs to play for us on my phone. Not a care in the world.
And I thought to myself: Why the heck do I care if she has a tardy?
I mean, really. Does it really matter? The light turned green and a wave of calm washed over me.
A few tardies here and there are not going to determine her path in life.
Twenty years from now, she won’t look back on her time in middle school and think, “If only I had achieved perfect attendance and no tardies, my life would have turned out so much better.”
I’ve decided that this is a good filter to apply when deciding how many cares to give in a situation.
Will it matter 20 years from now? Ten years? One year? One month?
If it won’t matter down the road, then I will care less and give zero you-know-whats.
Look, it’s not that I just completely don’t care. Chill out if you’re indignantly thinking “BUT YOU CAN’T BE LATE EVERY DAY.” Calm down, Karen.
I’m not advocating being late every day or acting irresponsibly. But I know that getting all worked up about certain things isn’t going to help. It’s not going to make things better. Getting angry or frantic or irritated is pointless in so many situations.
Care About What Is Important In Life
I’ve reached a point where I know what’s really important in life, at least in my opinion. Here are three of my favorites:
- Love. Loving others. Loving life. Loving yourself.
- Kindness. Helping others. Being a bright spot in someone’s day. Good energy and good vibes.
- Purpose. Going after goals. Trying to make a difference. Living fully. Having fun. Creating connection.
Ues Your Time Wisely
Time is limited. I don’t want to waste it ranting and stressing because my daughter is five minutes late to class.
Or because the line at the grocery store is 10 people deep, someone looked at me funny, or someone sped by me on the street and flipped me off for driving too slow. (It’s happened.)
Stop Sweating the Small Stuff
I’m realizing that the path of least resistance is a hell-of-a-lot more fun than fretting about the small stuff.
Think about it. What good does it do us to get all worked up and mad or stressed and scared?
Those are valid feelings, sure.
And I’m a big advocate for feeling your feelings.
But what good does ramping them up really do us?
I still feel a little anxiety when we’re running late for something. And I probably always will, because I HATE being late.
But hanging on to the anxiety and ranting over it won’t get us there faster. And in the end, will the things I fretted about have really mattered?
When I look back on my life and the things I’ve fretted about the most, then the answer is no. Most of the things won’t matter at the end of my life. In most cases, they don’t even matter now.
Care less about the little things and care more about the big things that really matter in your life.