Five Lessons from Stacy on her 40th Birthday

Today marks Stacy’s 40th birthday, just 7 months after mine. As I’ve told her, life on the other side of 40 is just fine. You’ve got the wisdom of age but still have the vigor of youth. But honestly, these past 20 years with Stacy have been filled with her teaching me the most important things in life.

On the occasion of her birthday, here are lessons from a queen.

  1. When someone doubts you, use that as motivation.

    As a teenager, Stacy developed “prove them wrong” as a central tenet of her life. When her stepfather told her she’d never graduate college, she became the first graduate on either side of her family. Doubters told her she would never make it in the corporate world as an overweight woman, she became an executive before 35. When people told her she could never make the internet as a career, she found a way to do that, too.

  2. If the world tries to make you feel bad for the way you are, it is the world that is wrong.

    One of the most amazing things Stacy has accomplished in recent years is the process of eliminating the influence of diet culture from her life. After decades of being shamed for her weight, Stacy realized it was all nonsense. Her real health markers were good, so what did her size really mean? This is a woman who was sent to the infamous Camp Shane as a teen and put her body up for scrutiny on the internet at age 29. I’ve applied this lesson to my own struggles with ADD as an adult. Now, I refuse to judge myself by neurotypical standards.

  3. Guard your heart, but love fully and openly.

    When I met Stacy, she and I both put on an act of too cool for a relationship. We were both lying. Stacy was the first to crack and tell me she loved me, letting herself be vulnerable. I love that about her. She doesn’t jump in right away, but once she loves, she is committed. That’s the attitude that led us to become fully committed parents, even if we didn’t think we were ready. It’s also how we decided to become foster parents, which we have come to love. Stacy’s willingness to love has never steered us wrong.

  4. Be fearless in your pursuit of knowledge.

    So many of us have worldview that we guard against change. For whatever reason, the mind calcifies in adults and stops taking in new points of view. Stacy, though, is always willing to learn, change and grow in a way that I’ve always admired. It’s what makes the nearly 500 episodes of the The Whole View podcast so amazing to listen. It’s a record of Stacy evolving in her thinking in a way so very few are willing to do, let alone share.

  5. You have something important to share with the world.

    When Stacy told me she wanted to start a blog, my immediate thought was that no one would want to listen to a pair of randos from Virginia talk about the food they ate. Turns out, I was totally wrong. Everyone has a unique point of view and something interesting to say. I’ve learned that there are people out there for everyone, and you have the power to cultivate community. I loved that Stacy helped us find that voices I didn’t know we had.

Over the years, as our love has grown and evolved, Stacy has been my best teacher and I’ve loved all of her lessons. Here’s to my wife, best friend and partner in all things. I love you fully and completely and I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

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