Reflections On My First 40 Years…

IMG_8843I’m sitting in a comfy chair and housecoat with a good cup of coffee reflecting on the first 40 years of my life and visualizing the next 40.

Reflections From the First 40:

Life Does Not Happen By Accident

You get out of life whatever you feel you deserve.  I’ve enjoyed observing many people in my first 40 years and living through this lesson myself.  Some people bumble along and accept what life throws them.  Others chart a course, create each step, stay open to opportunities, and play with possibilities as they arise.

Remember Where You Came From But Don’t Let It Hold You Back

I think it’s important to understand and honour where you came from.  But I also think too many people use excuses from their past to hold them back in the present and limit their future.  At times we fall into the role of the victim, and when that happens, the best thing we can do is to acknowledge it, and do the work we need to do to learn, heal and grow from it.

Risk = Return

I worked for a number of years in the financial services industry where people bought and sold investments on the stock market.  This was an exciting and eye-opening experience.  It taught me that those willing to take the greatest risk receive the greatest return.  I don’t just mean financially… I mean in all aspects of life.  It takes courage to be a leader, innovator, change agent, fall in love unconditionally, follow your dreams and speak your truth in the world.  But when you bite the bullet and take the ‘risk‘ to do so, the return is great – the feeling of fulfillment, contentment, peace, quiet confidence, and authentic happiness.

A Few Good Men

At the risk of sounding exclusive, I have to say that I’ve observed this to be true.  No matter where I show up – on a community level, provincially, nationally or internationally, I continually notice the same key people showing up.  When they are not present, I hear many comments like, “They need to do something!” by a crew of followers waiting for others to show leadership, make decisions, initiate action, find solutions and create change.  Reminds me of that quote by Alice Walker, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Parenting: The Most Important Role – EVER!

Parenting is hands-down the most important role in the world, a role that quite honestly up until this point in my life I’ve felt inadequate to play.  I’ve made a conscious decision not to be a parent until I can honestly be the person that I want to teach my children to be.  I want them to learn by my example, not just my words.  Am I perfect?  Hell no.  But I’ve spent enough years working through my own stuff (read: sh_t) that I don’t need to drag it into my relationship with or pass it onto my kids.  Will I ever be a parent?  I’m open to it.

Visualizing the Next 40!


Life is all about creating experiences and memories.  For me, the best experiences and memories occur in the presence of contrast.  I love the contrast of a quiet, peaceful home and the energizing stimulation of an exciting urban environment.  I love the contrast of functioning in full-tilt fifth gear and then resting, grounding and recovering for the next burst.  And I love the contrast between eating super-clear, healthy food and then enjoying a day of indulgent treats.  In the midst of contrast I experience the greatest delight and will continue to create contrast in my life moving forward.


Remembering passion is a key ingredient of cultivating happiness.  As kids we definitely know what we like and don’t like.  That is, we know what makes us happy.  Then at some point we’re told we need to grow up and enter an adulthood full of responsibility.  Ultimately, the quest for success replaces passion.  I vowed in my 40’s to return to the pursuit of my passion.  Remembering when I was happiest as a kid… singing, riding horses, being active, travelling to new places, exploring new adventures, and meeting new, positive people.  ODE to remembering and rebuilding passion!


What were you born to do? What’s your role in the world?  Each one of us has a distinct talent and unique gift that once recognized and developed helps us to make our contribution in the world.  This is the contribution we were put on this Earth to make.  Our individual gifts are as unique and distinct as a fingerprint.  I call this our ‘Q-Tip Quality’, so simple and versatile yet so needed and worthwhile with a very specific purpose.  Contribution leads to the greatest contentment.


Never stop dreaming. Dreaming helps you to get clarity.  Clarity leads to creation.

Still got a couple more to go… I’ll let you know when I get there!


  1. Sonya Mackie on September 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Wonderful Charlene… you look way too young to be 40! Great outlook on life and positive activities work wonders. The best to you on the next 40 and it was great to see you in person after so many years! Hugs.

  2. Susanne Dietrich on October 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Charlene,
    I just sent you a mail asking for help concerning my kayak plans in Vancouver.

    It’s interesting for me to read your writing… I just celebrated my 50!!! And of course, lots of reflections concerning the next 50ies…
    Hope to hear from you,

  3. Raul on October 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Great reading Charlene. Happy first 40 and all the best for the next 40 :).

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