29 In Lifestyle/ Motivation

38 Life Lesson from 38 Years


Turning 38 can be a little daunting.

Which is why it’s important to step back and get a little perspective through some good old-fashioned reflection.

Each and every year around my birthday I write a post acknowledging my new age, what I am grateful for, and what I have learnt. It’s a great way to put things into perspective and to look at life with kindness and not with criticism. I find the more I open myself up to my life experiences, as well as honest and open reflection, the easier writing this list becomes.

1. Just keep swimming … and learning!

The lesson’s just keep coming as you grow older, even when you wish they wouldn’t, however the secret is to never stop learning as that’s where the personal growth happens – even from the shitty stuff. Yes, there’s something to be said for hindsight!

On If you are making the same mistakes again and again, it’s time to sit up and take note. What can you learn from these experiences? And what changes can you make to break the cycle?

2. Self-care should be your number 1 priority

By now self-care should be your number one priority! Don’t argue with me. You know it’s true! But if it isn’t, don’t be too hard on yourself as it’s never too late to make some well-needed changes. To inspire you on your self-care journey, here are 64 ideas to help inspire you to take care of yourself.

3. Tell people you love them, often

Tell the people you care for what they mean to you, the difference they have made in your life, and that you LOVE them. You could do this by sending a text, an IM, an email, or doing something old school like mailing them a card or letter. Why not even make a phone call. 

This sounds dramatic, but if you take anything away from reading this post let it be this because I learnt it the hard way after my husband nearly died from a bad fall at home. We’re really lucky he’s still alive and that he recovered from the brain injury he suffered. It was so scary and a huge wake-up call that reminded us to appreciate life and each other each and every moment.

4. Open yourself up to opportunities

Work wise, life wise, relationship wise – open yourself up to the opportunities around you – even those you can’t see.

All of the opportunities, including new jobs and business I’ve been blessed to received over the last few years, have been a result of hard work, networking and being open. And I’m not talking about wanky networking. That shit makes me cringe! Nope, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if I hadn’t gotten all authentic and started opening myself up to talk (in person or online) to people about where I was in life and what I wanted to do, what I was interested in, what I did, or that I was looking for new opportunities.

5. Be vulnerable, be authentic, be courageous

Yep, be your beautiful vulnerable, authentic self. It takes a lot of strength and courage, and you will feel incredibly uncomfortable while doing so. The process will leave you feeling raw and naked. You will want to run for the hills or hide in a cave. You may even want to bury your head in the sand. But don’t, because by being vulnerable and authentic, well, that’s where the magic happens. It’s where you will find your true self and shine.

6. It’s okay to ask for help

Hell yeah! It really is. Sometimes you need help, and sometimes you need to ask for it no matter how stubborn and independent you are… trust me. I’m bloody stubborn and I’m bloody independent, but theses days when I need help I mostly ask for it.

Okay… it’s still a bit challenging BUT I am making progress!

7. Learn to say no

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 ‘no’ pass your lips, it becomes empowering. People will understand and if they don’t they aren’t worth your time.

Want some tips on learning to say no? Read this.

8. It can wait

Before you respond to those work emails and messages outside of work hours, think about it. Do you really need to, or can it wait? Pretty much everything can wait unless it’s life or death. It really can. If it’s urgent they will call you.

9. THINKING is bad for your health

I wish I had discovered mindfulness a 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.

10. On weddings

Wedding planning is nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be, and being engaged is actually quite nice 🙂 Romantic even. My advice to anyone planning a wedding is to enjoy the process. To focus on the experience, and to not get sweat the small things. Remember to savour each other and to have FUN!

Make your wedding about the both of you, not about others. Do what YOU want and keep that in the forefront of your mind. 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 be a right bitch and treat your friends like shit. Do yourself and everyone you love a favour. Don’t become a bridezilla. In the end, it’s your choice.

Wedding magazines, bridal checklists, blogs – 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!

11. For better or for worse

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 the meaning behind ‘for better or for worse’.

When you can still tolerate each other and your love actually grows through all 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.

12. Multitasking is overrated

Focussing on one thing at a time is so much more productive than multitasking…and that’s 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.

13. Practice positivity and kindness daily

In the fine words of Elbert Hubbard:

Positive anything is better than negative nothing. – Elbert Hubbard

Share love, positivity and kindness, even when you’re not feeling positive. The world needs more of it and it will actually make you feel better.

14. Creativity is good for the soul

Allow yourself to explore. To try new things. It doesn’t matter if you suck at it. The point is you tried. And if you are telling yourself ‘you are too old’ give yourself a right slapping as you are never too old!

My latest love is adult colouring books. Call them what you will but I love them!

And note, creativity IS contagious. Hold an afternoon craft party with your girlfriends, hit the beach with some pencils or paints with you family. Create a group Pinterest board to brainstorm ideas and inspire each other. Best of all, play, create and have fun!

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”


15. Investigate mindfulness

Mindfulness is a life-changer HOWEVER I’m concerned about the hype, hoo-hah and bandwagon jumpers who are preaching and charging ridiculous amounts of money to ‘teach’ people a mindful way of living.

If you’re going to join a Mindfulness program, be it in person or online, do your research, read the reviews, and check their qualifications. 1) You don’t have to pay a lot of money to learn it, and 2) To teach mindfulness, however, you need to have done the time and study, so choose your teacher wisely and invest in someone worthy!

If you life in Perth, Western Australia, I highly recommend Mind and Movement, run by Kathryn Choules, a qualified teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction through the University of Massachusetts and member of the Meditation Association of Australia.

16. Life can be scary

Living your dream. Chasing your passion. Walking your own path. Changing your life. It’s scary and it can be hard work but it’s all worth it in the long run due to the sense of fulfilment your will experience. 

17. Not everyone will understand or support you

When those you love don’t understand what you are doing or why, it can hurt and make you question yourself. I learnt this the hard way after co-authoring a book a few years ago. In achieving a life-long dream I thought I would get a lot of support, but from those closest to me I received the opposite. It was a rude shock and an eye-opener, causing me to question your what I was doing and why.

It takes determination and spirit to stay true to you and to continue on your chosen path. In the end, those you love may just come round. On the other hand, they may not. It happens. Don’t get bogged down in it as it will destroy you. Do your best to move past it as quickly as you can, and take comfort in the thought that others who went before you also encountered the same thing. You aren’t alone in this, either.

18. You need much less than you think

You will feel so much lighter if you learn to clear the clutter and embrace a more minimalist approach to living. You’ll be surprised how much you can live without. I know I am, after the last year and a half of unemployment, starting a business, and more. And to be honest…I’m happier!

19. There’s no use stressing over spilt milk or a messy house

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. In my opinion most housework can wait, unless you’re in the mood and enjoy it that is.

20. Don’t get hung up over your dress size

You know that the size and fit of your clothes depend on the brand, store, cut, fabric and maker, so why do you still beat yourself up over the size and tightness of your clothes? Do yourself a favour – STOP LETTING IT MESS WITH YOUR HEAD! You are beautiful just as you are.

Oh, and throw out your scales, you don’t need them. Scales are evil.

21. Stop stressing over perfection

Nothing and no one is perfect. Got it?

Whether it’s you’re skin, you’re body, a new website, a piece of art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so stop stressing over it.

22. Wear your fancy perfume

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.

Burn your scented candles, wear your good dress, use your expensive perfume, dig out the fancy crockery and cutlery, and wear your expensive jewellery.

23. Invest in good-quality shoes

I’ve come to this realisation much too late in life… an investment in good quality shoes is a must! As is NOT wearing high heels all the time.

24. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks

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!).

25. Keep your options open

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 #15 it’s okay to say no!

26. Ethics and integrity

Ethics and integrity are really important in everything you do. Don’t succumb to workplace or peer pressure and compromise your standards. You will regret it if you do – or just feel outright shitty!

27. Just because something is good for someone else doesn’t mean it will be good for you

Take detox programs as an example. Millions of people have experienced success from detox programs, but I learnt the hard way that they make me sick.

Running, cross-fit, hot yoga, meditation, protein shakes, vitamin supplements, low-carb, paleo, vegan, working from home, working in an office, working outdoors. They’re all good for someone. They just might not be the right fit for you. And that’s totally cool.

28. Laughter is the best medicine

Laughter really is the best medicine going around, especially those moments you share big belly laughs with friends. Learn to treasure them.

29. Practice gratitude daily

There is something wonderful about practicing gratitude daily. Practice being grateful for one thing everyday, and build up to actually expressing your gratitude – whether it be verbally or physically (an all-encompassing hug!). Once it becomes a habit, it can really change the way you live your life and make an astounding impact on those around you.

30. Make time for fun

The truth is you may need to MAKE TIME for fun when your older as sad as that sounds. Life can get crazy. Work, relationships, kids, bills, stress.

Make sure you schedule in time to let your hair down and have some fun. Why not hit the road for a good old road trip with your own playlist and fave snacks? Or see a movie, indulging in popcorn, coke and an ice-cream. And how about a date-night with your beloved (including an overnight stay at a hotel of B&B)? You could even paint the town red with your girlfriends or husband on a night out dancing!

31. Learn to love the little things

Life is about the little things. A warm hug. Cuddles with a baby. A hot chocolate or a glass of wine. Sunshine and white fluffy clouds. A summer’s breeze. Freshly washed hair. A smile.

An exercise I like to do now and then is to list 99 things I love – it’s all about finding joy in the small things. Here’s how to do it and why it’s so good!

32. Stress is a part of life

Stress is a part of life – for everyone. It comes down to how you manage it. By living authentically and knowing your values and by learning to say no and follow your heart, you will be a lot happier and less stressed.

Investigate stress management techniques that work for you. Ditch what doesn’t work and harness what works for you so that it becomes ingrained in your every day life and so you can easily call on it in times of intense stress.

33. It’s NEVER too late

You only live once! It’s never too late to learn something new, to make a change, to follow your heart, or to just do something crazy.

It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life.

34. Life only gets better

Life gets better as you get older. Stop thinking that life is over now you’ve turned 38 as the best is yet to come! My life has gotten a hell of a lot better over the years. I’ve also put in the hard to make it so.

35. Don’t allow life to turn you bitter

I was once advised by a former boss that we all grow old and bitter and was really taken back by it.

I believe we all have a choice. We can let life drag us down, give in and grow bitter, or we can choose the alternate path – one where we grow content and happier. I know my choice.

36. It’s okay to ask for help

If you are struggling and finding this crazy thing called life hard it’s okay. What a lot of people don’t talk about much it that we all do. What’s important is to not beat yourself up and to go easy on yourself. You’re allowed to have a meltdown now and then, just don’t live there!

If you find yourself dwelling in the depths of sadness and depression, please reach out and talk to someone or ask for help. In a world more connected than ever it’s easy to reach out and ask for help or to connect with someone who understands what you are going through.

37. Go easy on yourself

Learn to go easy on yourself and show yourself some compassion.

38. Just live

The truth is, we’re all just making it up as we’re going along. It’s time to stop being hard on yourself.

Life Lesson from 38 Years


For some added inspiration, check out my previous year’s lists:

37 Reasons Why I’m Celebrating Turning 37

Why Turning 30 Rocks


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  • Mackenzie Glanville
    August 15, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Great list! I have had to lean quite a few of these myself over the past couple of years! I must share this list with my friends who are our age, we totally get it.

  • Penelope James
    August 15, 2015 at 10:38 am

    What a great way to herald your 38 years. 38 is an age of accomplishment. You seem to be arriving at a good place in your life mind-wise, career-wise, and with a wedding in sight. It’s also an age when you start measuring time. Grey hairs? Your post made me think back to 38 with some nostalgia. It doesn’t seem that long ago whenI was a high-powered executive, pulling in a great salary and supporting my two kids in style. Life was rich, an adventure. It was also high-pressure, staying on top, competing with tigers, being a mother to two teenagers, and hiding an addiction. Then everything changed and one year disappeared into another as time galloped by.

    Your learnings, such as the one about Mindfulness, really made me think. I hesitate to single out any one in particular, but two struck me most: Living your dream. Chasing your passion is fucking hard work. And, Stop procrastinating over perfection.
    Another I like is Invest in good quality shoes. Always. I stopped doing this and have lived to regret it.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • Janine Ripper
      August 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Hey Penelope, Yes your comment did go through! yay 🙂 I think I have arrived at a good spot in life, all of the shitty things considering. I also think I’ve learned to not sweat the small – or large – stuff so much which does bring with it a sense of clarity. I think I can understand you about the time thing, as it is definitely speeding up and I can see that the years are going to go by very fast…Thanks for your comment and I’m glad it resonated with you, particularly those few.

  • Parul
    August 15, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Wonderful list! So much to reflect upon..

  • Debbie
    August 21, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I think I’ll be printing this list as a reminder for myself, Janine.
    You always share so much inspiration!
    That is why I am nominating you for the Sunshine Blogger Award.
    I hope you will accept it.

    • Janine Ripper
      August 24, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Au after a weekend of no computer I logged in to read your comment. Thanks so much Debbie! I accept. I think even I should print this out hehe

  • Marie
    August 22, 2015 at 4:05 am

    I love your lists! Especially 8, 12 &13.

  • cathy
    August 30, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Although it is scary how many of these I relate to, it is #19 and #25-27 that really resonate with me. Thanks for the reminders and HAPPY BIRTHDAY girl…you aren’t getting older, you are getting BETTER!!! 🙂

  • helen gandy
    August 30, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    This is great, I agree with saying no and it’s ok to back out of things. So often it’s too easy to say yes to everything but saying no is ok too! Thanks for sharing with the #bestandworst it would be awesome if you could add our badge at the bottom of your post if possible! Hope you’ll pop by again!

    • Janine Ripper
      August 31, 2015 at 8:23 am

      Wow I don’t know what happened there as I did and I checked.. It looks like it dropped off for some strange reasons…

  • G Angela
    September 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Loved reading all the 38 list, thank you for sharing with such authenticity, I am glad to be in this place and appreciate you for inspiring me…. I almost agreed with everything you have shared in your post.

    • Janine Ripper
      September 7, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  • Leanne
    September 4, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    great post – so many thoughts that are really on the ball for a woman of your age (man I sound old!) I think I just took longer to work them out – particularly the multitasking one! ~ Leanne

    • Janine Ripper
      September 7, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks Leanne! Haha sometimes we work out the lessons and then forget…I do that all the time thus the posts!

  • nabanita
    September 28, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Such a wonderful and honest list…A great way to celebrate life, your life on this earth…Something that is always good to do…

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  • Kia Davis
    November 2, 2016 at 1:56 am

    What a great list. I was starting to feel bad about turning 38 but this has made me feel excited. At the age of 38 I decide to change careers from accountant to therapist. I have struggled with thinking this was a set back because the money isn’t the same but im much happier. Being a single parent of a autistic child Ive learning that life is what you make it and that yes! it is hard but you live to fight and love another day.
    Thank you for making me feel good today. My birthday is 11/4.

    • Janine Ripper
      November 13, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      I’m so glad! And happy belated birthday! I hope it was awesome and that you are embracing and owning your age!

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