This year’s birthday wouldn’t be complete without my annual list, my fourth list. I find it surprising that each year the writing of my annual list gets easier, with this year’s list, where I’m turning 38, coming together in a little under an hour. There’s some symbolism in that I think.
1. Tell people you love them, often
Tell people you care for them. Tell people they mean the world to you. Even if it’s a quick text, email, message or phone call, tell the people you love that you actually love them because you just never know what might happen. This I learnt after nearly losing D from an accidental fall at home resulting in a head injury. It could have been worse… I am so glad it wasn’t and do my best to tell him I love him all of the time. I didn’t do that before, and I’m glad I get the opportunity to do so.
2. Don’t pin yourself down
Work wise, lifestyle wise, look outside of where you live and investigate opportunities. Don’t sit in the town you live in feeling like you are stuck, that there aren’t any opportunities, or that you need to escape. With remote working on the rise the world really is your oyster, especially in the digital age!
3. Multitasking is dead
Focussing on one thing at a time is so much more productive than multitasking…that is coming from the reformed Queen of Multitasking. Eventually, multitasking leads to one thing, and one thing only – burn out. Been there, wrote the manual…multiple times.
4. Taking a part time job whilst starting your business does not mean you are a failure.
In fact, taking a part-time job, or going part time in your existing job, is what many people starting out actually do! I really wish I had known this before I started my business. Better late than never, I guess. Could have saved me a few ulcers and white hairs.
5. It’s okay to say no, no explanation needed.
I wish I had learned to say no earlier in life but sometimes some of us insist on learning things the hard way! Learning to say no is one of the best things you can ever do. Once you get past the fear of letting the teenie weenie little word pass your lips and through your mouth, it can be very empowering.
6. Keep your options open
Remember to keep your options open BUT remember to listen to what your mind and gut are trying to tell you. Sometimes they send you some pretty strong warning signals. Jumping back to #5 it’s okay to say no!
7. Following on from #6
Think things through before committing (whilst also listening to what your mind and gut are telling you and remembering that you can say NO).
8. Just because it’s a great opportunity, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
Refer back to #5, #6 and #7.
9. Don’t believe everything you are told
GOD DAMN IT I’ve worked with some unethical fucks! I’ve also been fucked over, ripped off, or just plain screwed.
There are a whole lot of ‘people’ with unquestionable ethics on the internet – we all know this. So why do we throw our money at them?
Research whoever you are giving money too, purchasing a product from, working with, to the n’th degree before committing time, energy or money. It will save you from feeling like a sucker.
10. Be E-T-H-I-C-A-L
11. Hit reverse and back away…
Just like saying no, it’s okay to back out of something. People will understand, or not. If they don’t well…they don’t matter.
And no, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure!
12. You need much less than you think – of everything.
You would be surprised how much you can live without. I know I am, following the last year and a half of unemployment, starting a business, and more. And to be honest…I’m probably happier!
13. THINKING too much is bad for your health.
I wish I had discovered mindfulness a whole lot earlier in life. It would have saved me from so many sleepless nights and freak outs, but then again if I had I possibly wouldn’t have appreciated it as much. Funny things happen when you start tuning into your life, your mind and your body.
14. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks
Or rather, they can teach themselves new tricks like opening cupboards and stealing packs of food. On the human side of things, you are never to old to learn something new, take up a hobby, or make a well-needed change. That’s coming from someone who successfully changed careers at the age of 38 (and for a while I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it!).
15. If your dog doesn’t like someone it’s always for a good reason.
Trust your dog’s intuition and senses. Dogs sense fear. They also sense people who have harmed dogs before. And possibly drugged up people…
Of all of the dogs I’ve had or lived with, they have always managed to identify the dodgy fuck in a party (or even before they knock on the door).
16. There’s no use stressing over a messy house
Man, there are so many more important things to spend your time and energy on than stressing over a clean house. Sure, I’d love a spotless house with painted walls and doors, but in our house, good health and happiness come’s first.
17. Mindfulness is a life changer
Mindfulness really has been a life-changer. I just worry about the hype and hoo-hah around it, and all of the people jumping on the bandwagon preaching and charging ridiculous amounts of money to ‘teach’ people a mindful way of living.
Do your research, read books, sniff out some good mindfulness podcasts and other courses that aren’t strung up in a marketing machine. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to learn it. To teach it, however, you need to have done the time. Choose your teacher wisely!
It’s also scary shit. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In saying that, the hard work is worth it.
19. Don’t get hung up on the actual size of your clothes
We all know that the size and fit of your clothes depending on the brand, cut, fabric, maker and shop, so do yourself a favour and STOP LETTING IT MESS WITH YOUR HEAD! Oh, and throw out your scales, you don’t need them. Scales are evil.
20. Invest in good-quality shoes always.
I’ve come to this realisation much too late in life…
21. No matter your age, some people will always try to take advantage of a good natured person
It’s a given, I’m afraid. I’d like to say that I’m no longer a victim to this, but to this day, a part of me remains as naive as the day I was born.
22. Stop procrastinating over perfection.
Nothings perfect. No one is perfect. Whether it’s a new website, blog, business, book, painting, Instagram account, body, or…anything, JUST GET STARTED. The rest will follow.
23. You only have one life. Live it.
Burn your scented candles, wear your good dress, use your expensive perfume, dig out the fancy crockery and cutlery, and wear your expensive jewellery.
I remember being passed a few things I’d given my Nan after she died that had never been used as she was either saving them for a special occasion or that they were too good to use. I think about that every time I look at those items for fear I might ruin them if I use them. And so, I use them.
24. People close to you won’t necessarily understand your what or your why
When those you love don’t understand what you are doing or why, it can hurt and make you question yourself. It can also lead you to question your what and why, and to possibly abandon them. It takes spirit and determination to stay true to you, and in the end they might just come round, or they might not. That’s life.
25. Creativity is great for the soul!
Allow yourself to try new things and explore. You are never too old. My latest love – zentangles. Anyone can do them!
26. Failing at something is one of the best ways to learn.
27. Being vulnerable and authentic in whatever you do takes courage and a whole lot of strength.
It will leave you feeling raw and naked. You will feel incredibly uncomfortable. You will want to run for the hills or hide in a cave. You will want to bury your head in the sand. But don’t. Because by being vulnerable and authentic, well, that’s where the magic happens.
28. Sometimes people want to help you because they just do, so let them.
29. And on another note, there’s nothing wrong with actually asking for help.
Sometimes you need it, no matter how stubborn and independent you may be…
30. Health IS the number one priority.
Don’t argue with me.
31. You don’t have to ‘fit in’.
Allowing yourself to be yourself is the best present you can give yourself.
32. It can wait
You generally don’t need to check your work emails outside of work hours, even if you run your own biz. Messages – they can wait. If it really is urgent they can call you. Seriously, unless it’s life and death, work, emails, messages, notifications…they can all wait.
33. Contentment is bliss, not boring.
34. Wedding planning.
Well, it’s nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be, and being engaged is actually quite nice 🙂 Romantic even. My advice is to enjoy the experience, not get stressed, and savour each other.
35. Your wedding – it’s all about you and your other half. No one else.
Make your wedding about the both of you, not about others. Do what YOU want and keep that in the forefront of your mind at all times. And don’t fret over what others want as people will get quite demanding even if they are only trying to help.
Just because you’re a bride it doesn’t mean you can treat your friends like shit. I hope I continue to be nice and laid-back with 5 months to go!
37. Steer clear of wedding magazines, bridal checklist’s and diaries, the lot.
They will only FREAK YOU OUT and make you consider things you would not generally entertain such as diets, hypoxi treatments, fat cavitation, and more. With 5 months to go I should be 6 months into my workout plan and diet, be getting regular ‘treatments’ on every part of my body, be considering making my diet even stricter, and drinking 3 litres of filtered water a day. F#$k that! No wonder most brides are all Godzilla like – their bloody hangry!
38. For better or worse.
I know I’m not married yet, but through the last few years of depression, anxiety, life-threatening accidents and brain injuries, retrenchment, unemployment, financial stress, death and family issues, I think I’ve discovered a little of what ‘for better or worse’ means.
When you can still tolerate each other and your love actually grows through all of that, well, this has been my biggest learning and the most pleasant surprise. It also finally made me unlock the key to my heart…something I had kept locked and guarded for a very long time. Some things are worth getting all vulnerable for, and love is one of them.
For some added inspiration, check out my previous year’s lists: