Two weeks ago, I turned 40. Wow. I don’t know how I got here so fast but here I am. I certainly don’t feel 40 and because it seems so unbelievably untrue, it’s not something that I have been stressed or worried about. Age is just a number after all and let’s face it, it’s not something we can control. We all have to turn 40 sometime.
This year, I celebrated my birthday like I’ve never celebrated before. I am still always up for a good time (so I have done plenty of that with friends) but I have also spent some much needed quality time with my husband and our girls and friends and family. I have been so super spoilt and loved which has been very special.
During this time, I have also been doing a lot of reflecting on life and the years that have passed.
When I was in my 20’s, like most people, I was discovering my place in the world and how to navigate relationships and my career. I was learning how to be an adult and to adjust to the freedoms of this new age, with less rules to follow and more choices to make on my own. When I look back at my 20’s, I realise that I didn’t value myself as much as I should have. I made poor choices at times and didn’t do anything to step out of my comfort zone and grow as an individual, like travel. I placed far too much importance on being in a relationship instead of taking chances, having fun and doing things just for me.
When I turned 30, I was on maternity leave and learning how to be a mum. After returning to work part-time, I decided to take the plunge and start my own business as a Marketing Consultant. This was a big learning curve for me on so many levels but I have met and worked with some pretty amazing people and I have been able to earn an income and be there for my kids at the same time.
I was 33 years old when I face-planted my way into the world of special needs when Chloe was born. From there on though, I evolved as a parent and as a person in so many ways I can’t even begin to explain. My thirties were filled with growth, experience, pain, happiness and achievement. They were great years and everything I have learned has led me to become a more wiser, intuitive and considerate person. It has been an amazing journey. I have learned some very important lessons throughout my life and here are just some of the things I realise now.
It’s OK to be choosy
As you get older, you start to realise how short life is so I think it’s more than OK to be choosy- with your time, your job, your money, your friends, your food, your conversation – pretty much everything that matters to you. And the other thing is, you don’t have to explain yourself or the choices that you make. Saying no to something that you don’t really want to do is your own personal right and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Letting go of relationships with family and friends that drain you is OK too. I have made a conscious decision to spend more time on people and things that bring me joy and peace. Life is too short and too precious to waste on things that don’t make you feel good. It’s time to shut out all the negative and start looking after yourself.
There are no rules in life
It’s always a good thing to be kind, caring and respectful to others and to ourselves but other than that, we all have a right to live our lives the way we want. Life is for taking chances and doing the things we have always wanted to do. I have to be honest here and say that sometimes, I do roll my eyes to myself at some people and the things they do but at the end of the day, that’s their life to live and just because what they are doing is not something I personally would do doesn’t make them wrong. Our differing opinions, thought processes and the way in which we do things is what makes the world so interesting.
I have reached a point in my life now where I don’t want to live by any rules and I don’t want to be like anyone else. I just want to do the things that make me feel happy and accomplished. I just want to be ME!
Who cares what anyone else thinks
When I was growing up, if anyone was ever good at something or put themselves out there, it was quite common for people to say that they were “up themselves”. Why is that? It is something that I heard so often that it put me off from doing things that I wanted to for fear of being perceived as a person who loved herself. You don’t really hear people talk like that anymore – loving yourself is more than acceptable these days – just take a scroll through Instagram and you will see millions of people who think they are pretty good.
Social media has enabled more and more people to judge how we live our lives. But if you are happy with who you are and what you are doing, who cares what other people think! We all have the right to live our best and fullest life so we shouldn’t let a small minority or the opinions of strangers stop us from doing what we want. We should never hold ourselves back from what we want to do because we are worried what people will think of us. I spent my twenties and thirties plagued with worry over what other people think of me but not anymore!! I am happy with who I am and I am even happy for people to think that I love myself because you know what? I do love myself! We all need to love ourselves!
Life is hard – but you can handle it
It would be great if life could be just all smooth sailing but unfortunately, life is not that kind. By the time we reach our 40’s most of us would have experienced pain and loss of some description. Grief can be all consuming but you have to be a fighter and you have to know that things will get better. The pain we experience eventually makes us stronger. Pain and loss ultimately leads us to a new situation or even a new life for some, which does take time to get used to. But once you pick yourself up and face your new normal, you will find it in yourself to keep going. And there is no shame in asking for help from others to help get you back on track. We all need people around us during the hard times and it is these people who will help you to see that despite all this pain, life is still wonderful.
We all look back on our past and wish that we could change things that we did or didn’t do. Instead of focusing on the past which we can’t do anything about, it’s time to start living our best life right here, right now.
Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? What lessons have you learned about life now that you are older?