Last month I turned 41. I know. SO OLD. 😆 Hey, I’m not going to cry and whine about it. In fact, I love where I am right now. What I am going to do is share a few life lessons that might save you some grief later, like a good old sister or cool aunt would.
And yes, I know you will probably have to figure it out yourself, just like I did. But at least you can’t say I didn’t warn ya. 😜
Lesson #1: Stop Worrying About What Other People Think
It’s a natural survival skill to need to be accepted by the tribe. Unfortunately our modern tribe has gone nuts and it’s probably not in your best interest to be doing what everyone else thinks is normal. 😬
I spent a long time putting every decision through the “What will people think?” filter. This basically led to paralyzing inaction because there is always someone who won’t approve one way or the other. Why do we give other people so much power over us? In all honesty, people are mostly thinking about themselves and not very much about you. If they are talking about you, you must be very interesting. I would take it as a compliment. 😉
The bottom line is this: Fear of what people think is a prison. Only when we realize that isn’t our responsibility to gain everyone’s approval can we break free and start being a contribution to others.
Disclaimer: This lesson is not permission to be rude because we don’t care what people think. You still have to be polite until you are 80. Then you have earned the right to lose your filter. 👵🏻
Lesson #2: Take Care of Yourself
This lesson was enforced on me pretty early, because I was pretty sick in my twenties. It wasn’t anything doctors could help with, so I had to do my own research and get down to the basics of good nutrition and self care just to get my life back. Now looking back I can see how well that served me. Even though I started with health challenges, I’m probably stronger and healthier than most people my age, just due to making it a priority.
Who knows what tomorrow may bring, but chances are you need your body to last a good long time. Therefore, you need to treat it like gold. If you’re not sure how, stick around, I can help. 😉
Lesson #3: Don’t Be Impatient With Your Dreams
When I was younger it seemed like everything I wanted to do would take too long. It seems ridiculous now, but I remember thinking “Oh, but that would take years to learn” or whatever, and so I didn’t even start. For example, I wanted to take both art and guitar lessons. I had no kids then, so why not? But it felt too overwhelming at the time so I never jumped in. Well, low and behold, the time passed anyways, I don’t know how to play guitar and I’m stuck learning to paint by watching intolerably boring YouTube videos. 😆
My point is, if there is something you want to do, just begin! Don’t worry about how long it will take. Make the most out of every day and you’ll be surprised how your efforts add up over time.
Lesson #4: Stop Hiding Who You Are
This is the biggest one, my young friends, the one I wish I could have sat down and told myself at 18. In The Power of Vulnerability audio*, Brené Brown talks about how around middle school we start to see kids letting go of parts of who they are. As children, we do this because we have been hurt and shamed so many times that we decide it is too difficult to be vulnerable. So we put up walls to protect ourselves. We hide things about us that we don’t think the tribe understands.
She goes on to say that around our late 30’s or early 40’s, we get something of a wakeup call from the universe reminding us of the gifts we were given. We realize we can never have the lives we truly want unless we unearth those buried talents. Eventually we realize that we have to become who we really are.
What parts of yourself have you hidden away? The sooner you start digging them out, the happier you will be. It’s not an easy process, but the joy of bringing your gifts to the world is well worth it. Plus, the quicker you get at it, the more people you’ll be able to help.
*Put this and anything by Brené Brown on your must listen list! (Amazon affiliate link) Thank you and you’re welcome! 😘
So that is my short list of lessons. I will spare you the long list, because you are smart and will figure it out. Did any of these lessons resonate with you? Or am I going to have to say “I told you so” in 15 years? 😂 Tell me what you think in the comments.
Your Success Coach and Honorary Cool Aunt,
Related: Creativity Takes Courage