Disappointment is underratedI am 51 years old. I have lived a good while now and on the surface I am a full-fledged adult: two grown kids, 17 years with my husband, own a house.

I know how to do my taxes, budget the household expenses, cook, clean, and make a bed with hospital corners.

I have traveled, had a career, helped lots of people, cared for pets, lost my mother to cancer and then executed her estate, all the while appearing mostly happy and in charge.

But. It seems I have a lot to still learn; am constantly reminded of what I don’t know.

What I didn’t know until recently:

1. Caring too much can bite you in the ass. Let your kids make mistakes, and be their soft place to fall when they need it most. Don’t think you are protecting them by keeping a smile on your face despite the hell you are going through. That only creates a false sense of stability and they see through it anyway.

2. The clothes can either be folded perfectly or left in the basket. A few wrinkles didn’t stop the earth from spinning.

3. Parenting is forever, it just shifts from me to them. My kids teach me things every day. Now that they are in their 20’s I realize that I can finally stop trying to impart my pearls of wisdom and allow the wisdom they have gathered to be imparted upon me.

4. Being kind is more important than being right. Active listening is the key, not thinking about my next retort. Just listen.

5. Dogs are here to remind us to live in the moment. Pure joy is walking your dog and watching them sniff about and then turning around to make sure you are still with them.

6. Happiness isn’t about cheerfulness. True happiness is from connection. Being understood is more important than smiling all the time. I am so grateful to actually know my kids and husband, warts and all, and that they know me. Honest communication and mutual respect is real happiness. There is enough chaos in this world, why allow it in your home?

Being in my 50’s is proving to be awesome.

Clarity, contentment and self-awareness are the things I appreciate most. Work, bills, spills and mess will always be there. Connection with your nearest and dearest is what really matters.

I think I am figuring out how to do this adulting thing. Have you?

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