What I've Learned in 44 Years

Monday, August 31, 2020

Today I’m 44 years young. There are days it feels like I’ve been in my 40s forever, and other days where I wake up and think I’m still 35. I wish. A friend of mine had a birthday last week and she created a beautiful blog post detailing 48 things she’d observed in the past year. While I’m not going to replicate that and list 44 of my own, I did want to share a few observations I’ve had over the last year myself, especially in the last six months (which have felt like the equivalent of two years).

I must get outside for a walk at least once a day or I get grumpy. Luckily, I have two dogs, so they help keep me active, although I usually go out without them at least once a day for my own "me" time.

Wearing make-up just feels weird now. I usually throw on some eyeliner and chapstick, but it takes a really special event (like photos or something) to make me actually smear the foundation on.


There’s nothing better than a pair of comfortable pajamas. I bought a few inexpensive pairs from Target recently, and I’ve been sleeping like a dream ever since.

I may be in my mid-40s, but I’m still not ready to let myself to surrender to all the grey hair yet.

Cooking and baking soothes me. It never fails. If I have a deadline, you’ll likely find me in the kitchen, making cookies, whipping up a batch of soup or attempting to meal prep three different things for the week. And I may grumble about it, but I enjoy feeding the other people in my household—it makes me proud.


I have an addiction to kitchen gadgets. My latest purchases are a handheld frother so I can whip up milk for my coffee and a Ninja Foodi air fryer. I also own a slow cooker, an Instant Pot, two blenders, a Keurig, a regular coffee pot, a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, a food processor, and maybe a few other things. I have a problem, but my kitchen has lots of storage so that's helpful.


You have to continue to promote your work, because you can’t expect to just be “discovered” one day. I feel weird doing it, but there are times I tell my friends I had something published and they never would have seen it if I hadn’t told them. Same goes for announcing awards and notable items on places like LinkedIn. 


How to cure writer’s block: get a day job where you have to write copy all the time and interview people and not have time to work on your own creative projects.

Pay it forward whenever you can. I love helping and encouraging other writers, because it look me a long time to figure some things out on my own. If I can save another writer time and energy I'm happy to do it. 


Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Work towards them a little at a time each day.

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and magazine editor who created a true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas, in her 44th year of life. Learn more at FinishedPages.com.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--If it makes you feel any better, I found my most "freedom" in my 50s, so perhaps that will give you hope.

In other words, if you're feeling free in your forties--to not wear make-up, to surrender to your kitchen gadget addiction, to insist on taking "me time"--even better days might come in another 6 years.

Good for you. Promote yourself. Dye your hair if you want. Keep producing your podcasts (I'm still behind. I'll have to have a hellaciously long binge session;). Keep on being true to yourself.

Nicole Pyles said...

Happy Birthday Renee! I love your life lessons. I am so with you on the makeup thing. Blush, liner, and mascara is my go to, and maybe some tinted lip balm. And that's on a good day. And promoting takes so much effort! I struggle with it but it's so important! I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Theresa Boedeker said...

Happy birthday! Great life lessons. Here's to many more years of discovering more things about yourself.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Happy Birthday Renee. May you live this day and every day to the fullest and achieve all of your goals and dreams along the way. You've learned some great life lessons.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Happy birthday, Renee!! I hope you're enjoying your day and taking time for you. =o)

I haven't reached the no makeup thing yet (I wear mascara and love lipstick, but since I'm nearing 5-0MG, not a lot of foundation because it emphasizes wrinkles, but I have to wear some to cover my rosacea) or the no hair dye thing yet--although I haven't gotten my hair done since January, nearly 8 months ago, because salons are still closed here, so I'm wondering if I need it?! But I miss being blonde. I also love to cook and have a kitchen gadget fetish. But more of a major book and writing class habit. :)

Promoting your work is important, and paying it forward. I love your wisdom on how to cure writer's block! And it's true, all the little things add up when we work toward them each day. Your podcast is an amazing accomplishment! Happy birthday, love. <3

Sioux, I was just listening to an interview with author Lidia Yuknavitch yesterday, and she was saying how women in their 50s have a certain hotness because they have that I-don't-give-an-f attitude. :)

Mari said...

Happy Birthday Renee! The 50’s are fantastic and the 60’s are sensational! #JustWriteON!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Happy Birthday!

I'm with Sioux. If you think 40+ is liberating, wait until you hit 50.

So happy that you count writing among your gifts because your work, including your podcast, are gifts to all of us.

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--So far my 40s haven't been too bad, so I'm looking forward to the next decade. My latest kitchen gadget I bought for myself was that handheld milk frother from Amazon, and topping my coffee off in the mornings with that has been so worth it!

Nicole--It's gotten to where foundation feels so heavy on my face, and lipstick is a no-go right now because of the masks, so I'll stay in the make-up free club a little longer, too.

Theresa--Thank you for the kind birthday wishes!

Jeanine--At least there's no age limit on how long we can keep writing, right? Thank you!

Angela--I can't even tell that you would need to dye your hair right now. The color is gorgeous!

Mari--You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you!

Sue--Thank you for saying my words are gifts to others. It makes the struggle worth it knowing people feel that way.

Cathy C. Hall said...

A day late to the party but still wishing you the best in your 44th year, Renee! My forties were so incredibly busy and yet I got SO much done, way more than I get done now when life is distinctly un-busy...maybe you can explain that mystery of the universe to me, O Wise Birthday Woman??? :-)

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