39 things I’ve learned in 39 years
I turn 39 today. I’m a little rattled by it if I’m being honest. I know it’s just a number. I know when I’m 59 I’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. I had a similar kind of freak out at 28 too. I look back at that and think I was being silly. But I only have one more year of being in my thirties. I love my thirties. So many of my favourite life events have happened in my thirties so I thought it might be fun to write down 39 things I have learned over the years.
I saw a great quote the other day which said “Be who you needed when you were younger” and it has inspired this post. If I was to meet my younger self this is what I would tell her.
- Communication is the key to every relationship. Whether it’s the relationship with your partner, your kids, your parents, your best friend, your boss, your teacher – it all comes down to how you communicate in an open, honest and kind way.
- The more stuff you have the more you have to worry about. Storing, cleaning, insuring, losing! More stuff = more worries.
- Sometimes people mean more to you than you mean to them. This took me a long time to realise but when it did it hit me like a tonne of bricks. You see when I let you into my world it’s forever. But I know that for others that’s not the case. And this is ok. Everyone is different and that is what makes the world an interesting place. The people that do mean the same to you as you do to them, they are the ones that will fill your heart up and rock your world.
- Meditation is hard. But not impossible. Stick with it. The time I’ve spent sitting gives me so much more that I can even say. I’ve realised through meditation and self study that most of the crazy thoughts and worries and things I stress about simply just aren’t true. You can’t do it wrong. There are so many ways to do it and no one way is better than another.
- Eat like your life depends on it. Don’t scrimp on food, buy the best quality you can. Make food your priority item in your budget. When I started eating organic pretty much exclusively about ten years ago my health improved enormously. I rarely have breakouts, headaches or get the flu anymore. And bonus I noticed a lot less cellulite on my legs!
- Good sleep is essential to physical, mental and marital health! Even if everything else is going well, if you are not sleeping then it can get very bad very quickly. Sleep when you can. Everything else can wait.
See a therapist. Mental health is just as important as your physical health. Stress, trauma and anxiety if untreated will only get worse. It is ok to see a professional and get help. I am still getting treatment for post natal anxiety – I didn’t ask for the help I needed early enough as I thought I was strong enough and it would go away. Seeing someone has given me practical tools to help me through the tough times and the strength to talk about it.
- Give compliments. It’s so nice when people give a you compliment, even if you’re not sure how to accept it. Make someone’s day, when you notice something you admire about them, tell them.
- Social media is not real life. I love social media for it’s ability to keep me in contact with all my friends all over the world but it’s not the full picture and I am so thankful it only came along in my thirties. I’m so glad I didn’t have to grow up with it. Don’t get caught up in the highlights reel of other people’s lives.
- Show up on your yoga mat for yourself. Daily. Improvements in your posture allow your internal organs to all be where they are meant to be so they can all do what they are supposed to do. Injuries are prevented and healed by stretching them back into place. Emotions get stored in the body too and you will feel more relaxed and yourself by practicing simple yoga postures every day.
- Ask for help. When someone offers to help you, don’t be too proud to say yes. People really like helping, so let them. When I realised I couldn’t do all of it alone and it wasn’t a sign of weakness a huge weight was lifted. When you show your vulnerability you show your bravery. Tell people when you are having a hard time and let them help you.
- Most of what other people do has NOTHING to do with you. They are not thinking about you and are just getting on with their own lives so go and get on living the best life you can.
- Go to India. Life will never be the same again.
- Don’t wait for the perfect time to do something. The perfect time will probably never come. Start before you are ready.
- Make your bed. This small act of discipline will have a knock on effect and lead to other completed tasks throughout the day.
- Be on time – if you are late, you are stealing another person’s time and showing them that that your time is more important than their’s.
- If your phone rings in a yoga class, own up to it. No one cares if your phone rings, but they do care if you don’t go and switch it off.
Do what you say you are going to do.
- Live on your own for a while. Learn to enjoy your own company. If you can’t live on your own then do other things on your own like go to the movies, go out for dinner, sit on the beach, travel. It’s liberating.
- Volunteer your time to a worthy local organisation.
- Go on a silent retreat. Not having to make small talk to everyone all the time is scary at first but you will realise soon enough how lovely the quiet is.
- Say no to more things than you say yes to. Conserve your energy and don’t spread yourself so thinly that you are no good to anyone. Saying no is so empowering. Only say yes if it’s a Hell YES!
Don’t go clothes shopping when you are drunk..
- You don’t need to punish yourself to be healthy. You can train efficiently and effectively without pushing yourself to your absolute limit. This is just another form of stress that you don’t need. Just because everyone else is dong ‘ultra-everything’ it doesn’t mean you need to too. You can work just as hard and get even better results by being gentle.
- You are stronger than you think.
- Get a morning ritual. Even if the rest of your day feels out of control, by anchoring yourself with a routine each morning you will be able to deal with whatever comes your way a little easier if your morning is calm.
- Read the yoga sutras. This classic yogic text has so many practical insights to life as a human being.
- Don’t wear your sunglasses in photos. In ten years you will regret it.
- Nothing you do is ever a waste. Dating that guy. Spending that money. Taking that job. Studying that degree. Going on that trip. It may not work out quite how you had planned. Just put it down to experience and move on. It will be a good story to tell your friends.
- Always tell the truth. If you do, everything you say will come true.
- Learn how to breathe properly.
- Let people in when they are trying to merge into your lane in traffic.
- Be yourself. Don’t worry what other people will think. Do stuff because it’s important to you and you want to do it. The people who get you will support you and cheer you on.
Set goals. Write them down. Make them happen. Your dreams can come true. Even the crazy ones!
- Don’t ever stay in a relationship, job, town that you don’t want to be in. There is always a way out and the hard work to make it happen is worth it.
- Slow down. Stop rushing and overcommitting yourself and trying to fit too much into one day. There is enough time if you are realistic with what you can do. Don’t leave stuff until the last minute and you won’t need to rush about like a mad woman making life crazy for you and everyone around you.
- Travel lightly. Take half the stuff you think you will need.
Becoming a Mum has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Harder than dealing with the ex. Harder than recovering from a terrible car accident. Harder than running a business. But also the most beautiful, humbling, amazing thing I have done. And the thing I am most proud of myself for.
- Don’t take life so seriously and laugh at yourself! Have fun!