I have so much to say about turning 40, I don’t know where to start!
As some of you may have seen on Instagram, I went to Miraval (a spa resort in Austin, TX) with my husband last weekend. Some of you wanted to see the resort and rooms, so I’m sharing some videos on my Instagram stories. And while I want to talk about the resort, I think it’s better to head to Instagram to see it. Here’s my synopsis: It was awesome, and I recommend it. I’ve been to better spas, but honestly, the whole experience was lovely and a perfect 40th birthday getaway. My husband and I actually got to relax, which is hard to do on a two-night trip. And that brings me to what I really want to talk about- what I learned in the last decade.
Maybe I should just start with this text my friend sent me…(For reference, “D” and “S” are my sons, and my response is in blue.)
And now I would like to amend this because one of the things I learned in my 30’s is that I don’t know anything about anything -ha! I mean, I think I’ve been through my mid-life crisis, but maybe there’s more!
So, here’s what I learned in the last decade:
I learned what I truly like to do. Before, I did whatever everyone else did or what someone else said was fun because I was not in-tune with what I truly like to do! Maybe it was because I just wanted other people to be happy with me? It was fine until I became a mom. Then, all of sudden, I would get this rare moment of free time to relax or have fun, and I had no idea what to do! Now, I know exactly what I like to do! I love to read, lay around in a robe, go on hikes, take hot baths, exercise, go on walks, eat good food, enjoy a drink with someone I love, have a really good, meaningful conversation, be around people I love (my boys especially), and learn new things. This is why when I thought about what I’d like to do for my 40th, a spa resort with classes was my perfect vacation spot. It was so gratifying to be there enjoying all the things I love to do and not be on some other vacation doing what people say is fun to do for a 40th. You know what I’m saying?
I learned not to care what people think of me. Now, this one I thought was IMPOSSIBLE!!! Seriously, I consider it a miracle straight from God. It was so engrained in me to make sure everyone liked me or was happy with me because my value and worth depended on it. My day was often ruined because I thought someone didn’t like me or because someone’s reaction to me wasn’t very nice. And Lord knows I couldn’t tell the manicurist to please not cut my cuticles for fear that she’d think I was a bitch. I know a lot of people get to this point in a lot of different ways, but for me, it was finally letting it sink in (travel from my head to my heart – the longest distance of all) that I was completely and unconditionally loved my God, just the way I am. He made me exactly the way I am. Therefore, I don’t need anyone else to like me or be nice to me. I am good, just as I am. In fact, I am not supposed to be any other way!!! Even when I’m not so nice, even when I make a mistake, even when my words are not perceived by others the way I want, or I am judged by someone incorrectly- it’s OK!!!! God loves me. After all, no one else knows me like God knows me, so why would I let their opinion, attitude, or thoughts of me determine how I saw myself and my worth? I had a lot of help getting to this point. A lot of people prayed for me, and I went to counseling for this for many years. It wasn’t an easy road, but I’m finally, mercifully there. A few books that helped me were, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging by Brennan Manning, The Rest of the Gospel by Dan Stone and David Gregory, and Brene Brown’s books.
I learned to give up the hustle. I think this goes hand and hand with the learning above. For years, I unknowingly felt like I had to prove that I was somebody, darn it!!! I may not have come from royalty (the humble suburbs of Houston, in fact), my mom may have been a little off her rocker, I may have been born with a birth defect and found it very difficult to read and write growing up, but I’m good, I’m cool, I’m somebody! I’m a good mom, wife, person! Look at me! Look at me! I’m OK, right everybody?! So I hustled to prove it. I was an A+ student and then a Top Sales Rep. Then I became a mom, and we all know you don’t get any kind of “attaboys” or “good jobs” for that, and my identity started to crumble. So I started C. Style because I desperately needed this confirmation from others!!!! I put my all into becoming somebody on my blog, Facebook and Instagram to prove once and for all that I was somebody, darn it! Well, that didn’t work. Like, at all. A big old flop! I mean, I couldn’t control what people thought (or wrote about me). I can’t know what people are going to “like” or subscribe to! I can’t control or know what is going to be popular or what is going to go viral, so why am I trying?!?!? BUT boy did I try! What people think is shaped from where they are from, their values, what they’ve been through, their family, and the way they see themselves. All of those things dictate what they “like” and how they see the world. They are coming from their unique point of view, which has nothing to do with me! Like the quote says, “what people think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them”. So, after learning this, I gave up the hustle! I am somebody. Period. I don’t need likes to prove I’m somebody or for validity. I am valid and somebody as is, regardless of what people like or not. That’s what God says.
I learned that the only person I need to worry about is myself. For a long time, I was concerned about getting other people to change thinking it would make me happier. For example- if I could just get my husband to be this or that way then I’d be happier… That was a big ole waist of time! The only person I can help or control is myself, so why in the world would I spin my wheels trying to get someone else to change so my life would get easier or I would be happier? It’s impossible (not to mention maddening). I can pray about it and express my opinion in a loving way (hopefully), but that’s about it. I can only change me, so I can’t rely on someone else to make me happy.
What I’m currently learning: How to not let my feelings control me. Wow, this has been a big one for me. I’m a HUGE feeler. I feel all the feels, all the time! I’m reading Living Beyond Your Feelings by Joyce Meyer, and that has been life changing for me in this department! Oh, and another thing I’m learning is how not to try and control EVERYTHING!
To be honest, I’ve learned a lot more than just these 4 things, but these are the things that really stand out to me. And to be totally transparent, these learnings didn’t come easy. A lot of times, it was really ugly and messy. I’m trying to let God teach without me kicking and screaming each time. You know the expression “you don’t want to learn that lesson the hard way?” No, no, I don’t. So, I’m trying to learn to be a little more teachable in this next decade!
And one more thing- thank you for allowing me to share my last decade’s learnings with you all. It feels good. I haven’t been able to sit down and write like this since pre-Covid. I miss it, and I want to do more of it. But like I said, I’m trying to learn NOT to control everything. It’s an honor to share with you all. Thank you for being here for most of the last decade with me. You all have been so kind and loving to me. I feel so grateful for each of you. I know we don’t “know, know” each other, but I do run into some of you from time to time and you all do write me some of the sweetest, kindest notes and emails of encouragement. They mean the world to me, so thank you. I’m grateful to have such loving people cheering me on in life.
Paige M Wright says
Happy 40th to you! Thank you for sharing your heart and your journey…as I approach my 6oth (turning 58 next week) I find I continue to learn. One thing I have found as I age is even more beauty of how God streamlines those santifications of myself. I am very quick to see my sin these days as opposed to pointing at the things that triggered my own sin. It is a beautiful thing…this aging process 🙂 I am so thankful knowing that God loves me as I am. Happy next decade to you. Trust me you will enjoy the ride!
Carly Lee says
Thank you, Paige!
Jennifer Clayton says
Happy 40th! They just get better because you’ve learned so much. Cheers to many more and all the mostly fun things yet to learn!
I just returned from Miraval Berkshires yesterday! It was cold and snowy, but I felt cozy the entire time. Being Authentic Circle I’m obvi a Miraval girl, but I’m curious about other retreats/spas you’ve enjoyed. I’m about to celebrate my first wedding anniversary as a divorcée and would love to get away and be distracted!
Carly Lee says
Hey there, The best spa I’ve ever been to was the spa at Meadowood in Napa Valley. Unfortunately, the fires caused extensive damage to the property, and it’s closed. I’m headed to Lake Austin Spa and Resort soon. It’s always at the top of the list in spa rankings. I’ll let you know what I think.
Happy Birthday, Carly! You are valid. You are awesome. You have incredible taste and style, and YOU matter! We have to enjoy every day because that is what God gives us. Today. You always post cheerful ideas, and I try to adapt those clothing ideas to what fits my body (as it is in this moment) right now. Think about this from a reader’s perspective. I have been a wife for nearly twenty years, a mom for 14, and I always look at your blog as a reminder to keep looking good. I say this because I do not necessarily look as amazing as I did when I was first married. (Oh, what I did not fully appreciate back then!!) But I still try to look good for my husband. You help me to do that. You may not realize that aspect of your blog, but it is an important contribution for wives, moms, and single girls. We need style! I look all around me. Many moms have given up style. And that is what works for them. But one goal I have is being well dressed until I am ancient and wrinkly. I am child of the Most-High God. And darn it, I am going to dress like it! You make me appreciate the ME of now. That is an incredible feat. Really. Thank you for your reflections. And keep going. You have nothing to prove. But I love your artistry in clothing. It is your gift. And you freely share. So keep at it. You do not know where it will all lead one day.
Now Scottsdale… Next time, for you and husband, try to go to Elements at the Sanctuary at Camelback for dinner. Go and get a massage before y’all dine. Get the peanut butter chocolate dessert. That place is so beautiful – ask for a seat with a view. Try the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort for the kids. Wow. There are so many lovely places in Scottsdale. In Sedona, hit Dahl and DeLuca Italian. Take the boys fishing at Oak Creek Canyon. You can rent a cabin right there on the creek. My girls love doing that even today. Did you guys spot Snoopy Rock? I love Lauberge for brunch. You hit so many good spots, honestly! And finally- can you get over that Canyon? I have not taken my girls since they were little. It freaks me out how easily accessible the ledges are… I have to return, but I get nervous. My in-laws love the train ride from Williams to the rim where the train is “robbed” by real cowboys. Maybe put that on your list for next time. Happy Easter!
P.S. Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind” is also a great set.
Carly Lee says
Ginni, I just LOVE it when you comment! It always makes my week/month!! Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement!! And wow. I should have reached out to you for Scottsdale/Sedona recs! Your list looks amazing!