The forty year old hangover is over. While the sun didn't come out shining today, the world is as it should be and I am fairly pleased about that.

I celebrated my birthday twice. Once in Australian time and the other in US time. Both were equally fabulous and without flaw. I spent the most amazing couple of days in South Beach Miami and just chilled. Somehow all of the expectations of turning 40 disappeared and I enjoyed the "now". 

Freaking out about turning 40 was wasting energy that could have been better spent elsewhere. I don't know why I started to look in the mirror and feel 10 years older, nor what started me thinking that my life is so miserable, when in fact, it is truly amazing. I am living the best life I could have ever imagined and I am doing things that I never thought possible. 
Normal is for the birds...

What I have learnt from this whole experience is that we should not focus our time and energy on things we cannot change. As much as many of us would like, there is no turning back the clock and no amount of trying to stop it is really going to change the reality of life.

But, the most important lesson I have learnt is not so much about age, as it is about taking a good hard look in the mirror and appreciating where you are sitting today. 

Wrongly, I have been viewing a different version of me - one that failed in accomplishing things that I would have thought I would have achieved by the time I was 40. And, it had nothing to do with financial success, business or recognition. It had to do with life, family and love. The most important things in life.

It's true that you would never want to be on your death bed and thinking about work. Instead, you would want to be with family and friends. Well, that's me anyway.

Over the course of the past few days, I have had more than 300 messages from people all over the world, wishing me a happy birthday. I didn't get around to reading them on my birthday, as I was busy - exactly how it should be, might I add. I also didn't take calls, because instead of being caught up in the wishes, I was enjoying the moment. The here and the now. I know that my close family and friends would appreciate that and understand that that is more important.

I spent the double birthday (Aust/US) in the most wonderful way. Beautiful food, a swim in the ocean and just quality time with a wonderful person. I did something that I have never done before. Tick. Took a risk. Tick. And was rewarded big time. Tick.

Now that I am forty, here are a few things I would like to share:

1.  Normal is for the birds. You don't have to be like everyone else and definitely not like the person next to you as that would be incredibly boring.
2.  Take a risk and never regret it. We spend so much of our lives taking the safe option and for what? Really, do you want to die knowing you did everything safe? I don't!
3.  Spend time with people just because you like them - with no agenda.
4.  Smile at every opportunity you can - at the person crossing the street, in the cafe, in the lift and in your car. 
5.  Don't ever be afraid to put yourself out there and play caution in the wind. 

And last but not least, be kind to yourself and live life. Forget about what you think you should achieve and instead enjoy the journey and the people in it. We all make mistakes but it is from these mistakes that we become better people. Try something new, savour something old and keep doing things that are new and exciting just because you can.

40 isn't 30, it's just a little different. Just like you and I.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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