Have you ever noticed yourself saying, “I wish I knew then what I know now”? As someone in my late forties, I say that constantly. The past decade has been a time of growth, loss, and new beginnings; and I’ve gained more insight than in all the previous decades combined. Here are ten things I’ve learned in my forties that I would share with anyone still in their twenties or thirties.
1. Do work you love.
Your work takes up one-third of your day. That is much time spent on doing something that is unsatisfying or stressful, regardless of how much it pays. Long-term happiness and peace of mind are more important than money. Determine what it is you love doing and find a way to start getting paid for it. You’ll be much happier when you do.
2. Find your purpose and live it.
Don’t waste your precious time pursuing what others think you should. Identify what’s important, meaningful, and fulfilling to you and begin living it now. Discovering your purpose takes a bit of time, introspection and effort, but it is well worth it. Instead of living a life of random and disconnected choices, you can live a life of meaningful direction and purpose.
3. Save for your retirement.
While you are still young, make saving money a habit. Starting earlier gives your savings time to compound and grow. If you wait until you get older to start saving, you may have to lower your style of living or work harder and longer than you would like.
4. Appreciate your parents.
We all know abstractly that no one lives forever, but for some reason, part of us believes our mom and dad will always be there. Let your parents know how much you appreciate them because the time will come when you no longer have the chance. That time can come without advanced notice, so tell your parents often that you love them.
5. Know that some people will not like you.
Trying to please everyone is pointless because there is always someone that, for whatever reason, won’t like you. Don’t waste time trying to figure out why or change their mind because this says much more about them than it does about you. Your energy is better spent on people who do like and value you.
6. Understand that relationships don’t always last.
This is a difficult reality to accept. Even the best relationships can shift and drift apart. Marriages can fail, love can fade, and friendships can fall apart. You are always growing and evolving, which means that sometimes you can grow apart from your loved ones, and they can grow apart from you. Know that every relationship serves a significant purpose, even if the relationship does not last.
7. Realize that your body changes with time.
This may be difficult to fathom, but your body will not stay the same. When we are younger, we believe our bodies will be immune to the sagging effects of gravity. It does not take long, though, to realize the aging process does not discriminate. The day will come when you look in the mirror and say, “Who the HECK is that?”! In the meanwhile, know that there is much more to you than just your body. This should make the inevitability of aging easier to accept.
8. Accept yourself, flaws and all.
You are a unique individual and are fine just the way you are. Self-judgment causes unnecessary suffering and makes moving forward and creating positive change impossible. When you give yourself unconditional acceptance, you’ll be able to embrace yourself in all situations.
9. Write your bucket list.
It is easy to allow the day-to-day details of life to keep you from fully living. Make a list of anything you’ve ever wanted to experience and start doing them. Cross them off one by one as you complete them. You’ll have written proof that you’ve spent your life doing what makes you happy.
10. Ask yourself daily if you are living the life you want.
You have control over all of your experiences. Regularly ask yourself if you are living the life you want. If the answer is no, you can make changes in the areas that are not working. Life is too short to spend it doing anything other than what you want to do. Your life is intended to be lived to the fullest.
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Author: Grace Bluerock
As a transformational coach, I help heart-centered difference-makers who know they are meant for a bigger, better life to start living their dream at www.GraceBluerock.com.