Life Begins at Forty

As my mother and her siblings reached 40, they were fond of repeating the phrase “Life begins at 40”. It was from the title of a self-help book their parents (my grandparents) kept in the house while they were growing up.

My Uncle Charlie, one of the youngest of the seven siblings, was a great joker. Every time one of his brothers or sisters would say, “Life begins at 40”, he would laugh and say, “Yeah, and ends at 41”. The year Uncle Charlie turned forty-one he died of a heart attack.

He was much loved and is dearly missed.

As a child, I remember being struck by the fact that it was almost as if he’d incited his own death by repeating that phrase so often, even though it was just in jest. Perhaps for that reason, I’ve always paid attention to what I tell myself about myself and my life. I try to be careful not to put my attention on negatives, but to keep it focused to the best of my ability on positives.

And yet despite practicing this positive self talk since I was about ten years old, there are still times when I catch myself saying all the wrong things about myself to myself and I must correct course.

What about you? Is there self talk you do that could use a little editing?

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6 responses

  1. Life is a group effort since we impact each other in such a big way, a kind of amorphous cluster, which is why it is not only our job to be positive, but our friends’ job to spout reminders of love as well. PS. Regina is awesome.

    April 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

  2. Jen FitzGerald

    There are plenty of things I need to reword when I talk to myself. Thanks for the reminder to talk talk positively oneself.

    April 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm

  3. :) Jen!

    April 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm

  4. Lecah

    There’s a scripture in the bible that says, “The power of life and death is in the tongue.” I have to remind myself of this all the time, because I believe it’s so true! By the way, I am not-so-patiently waiting on your next book…if you wanted to give me first dibs on reading it, I wouldn’t complain ;)

    April 8, 2014 at 1:56 am

  5. Lecah,

    I can’t thank you enough for commenting on this blog today! I got up at 4:30 a.m. as usual and got dressed for exercise class and packed my laptop (immediately after exercise I stop at a tea shop and write for a while to get my day started). But despite being dressed and ready to go I was so tempted to not get into a cold car and start my day, but instead to climb back into my warm bed. Then I saw your message and it was just the push I needed. So off I went to the gym and then to my favorite tea shop. Thanks you! You made a real difference for me today!

    Regina

    April 8, 2014 at 10:03 am

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