It’s 2 months til I turn 30. It’s not that old but here’s how I see it – it’s more than a quarter of a century so if I do feel a bit old I think that’s acceptable, and supposedly being 30 places me in the age group where I’m allowed to start dispersing some words of wisdom… maybe?
Either way, when trying to work out what my next blog would be about I decided to focus on a) what I’ve learnt in my 29+ years and b) all the many things I’ve yet to master and learn. I might only be a bear of very little brain, and I’m acutely aware of my ignorance on occasion, but I also know that I can look over what I have learnt and how I have developed so far in my life. With that in mind – here are some thoughts, aspirations, experiences, learnings… 30 of them, naturally. What are yours?
- Nobody is perfect – not me, not those I love, not my parents. And that’s ok.
- Sometimes saying nothing is much more powerful than speaking. And in many ways, I’m still mastering this.
- Sometimes love is not enough. But, that said… love (verb) and have compassion.
- That those really good friends… those really, REALLY good friends you have are quite irreplaceable and one of the most valuable treasures you’ll find in life. I mean those kind of friends who you can tell anything to, that you can ask anything from, with whom you feel so comfortable you don’t even acknowledge that level of comfort until you’re around people with whom it takes more effort. The kind of friends you can shout at one minute and laugh with the next and still remain the best of friends, that you can not speak to for months and yet still feel like they’re so close to you they must be a part of your anatomy. And the kind of friends that you can tell your deepest, darkest fears and secrets but know they will love you and support you the same as they always did. These friends are an extension of me and I am lucky enough to have a handful of them – you know who you are, and I don’t know where I’d be without you.
- You really cannot judge a book by its cover. You cannot predict your life and it’s OK if you don’t end up where you thought you would. As long as that place is not prison or something.
- Money is evil. Treasure other things more than money but respect what being responsible with money will do for you in life.
- You’ll think you’re immune to love handles and lumpy bits right up until you’re 25. Then you’ll find your body can take on a shape you never knew it could. And then when you hit 28 you’ll find you can no longer starve yourself for a day or so to get your original, less lumpy self back, and the only answer is to get your butt outdoors or to the gym and work your booty like you’ve never worked it before. And then do the same the next day, and the next… and… etc. Still practicing that one too.
- Look after yourself – wear seatbelts, clean your teeth, wear sunscreen and don’t punish your liver too much (no comments please!). If you’re female – don’t walk places late at night on your own – you are not invincible and the world has some crappy people in it.
- Don’t go to university just because that’s what everyone else is doing and you don’t know what else to do. DO go to university if you’re ultra motivated and have a vague idea what (other than ‘a degree’) you want to get out of it. Degrees are becoming more and more devalued. However, a good teacher is invaluable.
- DO travel the world or as much of it as you can, when you can.
- Having trust in people is a wonderful thing, but have some wisdom around where you place that trust and with whom. Don’t become so suspicious you don’t trust anyone, just try to be wise. I used to think it was better to just throw trust around like it was going to buy me all the happiness in the world, like that by saying to someone ‘but I trusted you to do the right thing’ was enough for good things to fly at me in their shedloads. It wasn’t and this is why I would offer the above advice. Trust has a high value – treat it with respect when you offer it and when it is offered to you.
- You don’t have a finite amount of tears but it’s OK to NOT cry at the drop of a hat. By that I mean – go ahead and cry in every episode of Greys Anatomy if you must (guilty) but some things are just not worth your tears. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and know that life WILL throw some shit at you, but you can survive it and you’ll survive it better if you don’t let it drag you down and/or become a melodrama every time.
- Melodrama is reserved for soap operas, do not allow it to take over your life or the way you react to things. Similarly, don’t stress the little things – note to self!
- In my opinion, the good times outweigh the bad, it’s just that sometimes bad things happen to good people again and again and again. Love them, support them, love yourself and good will win out.
- Respect your elders.
- Fight for the things you want, and the people you love. But know when to stop – I can’t lay claim for this but ‘lord, grant me the serenity to accept that which I cannot change, the courage to change what I can and the wisdom to know the difference’ (or similar)… if I ever master this I would be a truly wise woman I think.
- Do not play the high and mighty with your friends. Offer them advice, pass them any experiences you have that are relevant and give them time. Know that you make mistakes and will continue to make them, and that people have to get to where they’re going in their own time, in their own way. If you are frustrated by a friend who has been hurting herself or is being hurtful towards others – let them know your feelings but understand that you may not be understood at that time.
- Always treat others as you would like to be treated.
- You can’t like everyone, and you will lose friends along the way.
- This one’s a hard one. Don’t listen to negative or damaging words – but if someone you love and trust has something to say that you don’t want to hear, you owe it to yourself, and to them, to listen and pay heed.
- Another difficult one – don’t have regrets. It’s a wasted emotion. If you have regrets – address them if you can. If you cannot, find a way to move on and learn from what you feel you did wrong or that which you wish were different.
- Understand that your partner has a past. Establish with them how much is important to know and how much isn’t – I think it’s a very personal thing so I cannot say per person what the right amount is. Bear in mind that some things you don’t need to know and are better off not being known because they simply do not matter in the present day, and will not matter in the future.
- Do not live in the past. Be nostalgic and be conscious of what the past has taught us, but don’t let it rule you. The present is a gift.
- Music is a gift, nature is amazing, money and technology will not exist when our world implodes.
- Laughter really is the medicine, love is the cure (did someone write that before?)
- You cannot please all of the people all of the time and you’ll likely come off worse if you try to do this. Similarly, pleasing people does not give you the key to a happy or easy life.
- The ability to adapt can prove very useful.
- A problem shared can be a problem halved but sometimes it can serve you well to bear the problem alone for a short time and see if you can resolve it of your own accord, because you might feel a greater sense of achievement, and you might irritate your loved ones less if you don’t burden them all the time. All things in moderation! Similarly, ask for help when it’s needed and offer help when you can.
- Mums are, in my experience, awesome. I hope to be a good one someday myself. Family – whether literally the one you’re born into, or the one you created – might drive you mad sometimes, but they rock and will be yours!
- Give and you’ll feel the joy, give and you will likely receive, giving is often more of a feel-good than receiving.
With regards my coming out to Australia – I have 3 prominent thoughts. First, with any big decision you can only make it armed with the knowledge with which you equip yourself and also with the knowledge and experiences you have had prior to that time. Ultimately things will change, priorities will alter, but if you have thought carefully around those areas then you will know everything you are meant to know at the time.
Secondly, when you have a gut feeling, an urge, an opportunity and the motivation to do something – don’t let it slide. Let life take you down a different path, move the goalposts and live a little. You only get once chance.
And finally, recently when I commented on some negatives of not being back in England, someone said to me ‘well, you can’t have everything’. I agreed at the time, but I’ve since had time to reflect and I utterly disagree. Maybe you can have everything, it just depends what your ‘everything’ is – what do you make to be the things that make you happy/contented? You might have taken early retirement to the Bahamas, you might be cruising the world without a thought for anything else. Or you might be happy just to have what you have – even if some of what makes you happy is a bit far away. Life is what you make of it… sometimes I need to give myself a nudge to remember that.
These are mine. What have you learnt, what are you learning. in life?