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25 Lessons About Life I Wish I’d Known Before 40
25 Lessons About Life I Wish I’d Known Before 40
There is great power in the statement “older and wiser”. As we get older we learn lessons about life we wish we’d known when we were younger. When I look at my own life there are so many things I wish I’d known at 21, 25, 30. But I suppose we live and learn. I think 40 is a turning point in our lives. You’ve reached a point when you have a good amount of life experience and wisdom to be able to look at life and situations differently and to have leant those lessons about life.
I’ve met plenty of younger people in my time that have huge amounts of wisdom and maturity. But you can only gain life experience over time. They have probably had good teachers and role models around them to take on board the advice they are given. I’ve also met a fair amount of younger people that believe anyone over 30 is ancient and knows nothing about modern life.
So, I’ve compiled a list of things we generally tend to learn as we get older. The lessons about life we probably could have done with knowing by the time we hit 21. But we’d probably have ignored them anyway.
Do what is best for your health
Burnout, stress, fatigue, addiction, none of those are going to help you live a long and happy life. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and rather than carrying on the hustle or being the centre of the social circle, think about your health. As you get older it’s only natural that your health declines. It’s just a natural process. But do you really want to spend your later years in pain or constantly at the doctors? You don’t have to give up all your vices. Giving up alcohol may fill you with terror and let’s face it we all love a nice cake or a bit of junk food now and then. But binge drinking and getting takeaways most nights isn’t going to set your body up for later life.
Likewise limiting your stress will change your life. The hustle can wait. And always remember that your employer will advertise your job before your funeral. And that is one of the unfortunate lessons about life we must learn.
If anything is damaging your physical or mental health, then address it and either lose it or limit it.
Everyone edits their life
Listen, nobody, and I mean nobody, has a picture-perfect life. And if people are letting you think that they have, then they are lying. From social media posts to real life, you are only seeing the good bits. Filters are applied to everything. Don’t berate those that edit their photos or don’t post their woo is me stories online. Just learn to accept that everyone has their own stuff going on and it’s their business what they choose to share or edit. It’s probably one of those lessons about life we should teach our kids. Don’t believe everything you see online.
You can leave a WhatsApp group
Honestly, don’t think you have to be a slave to the notifications. Some people get so intense in those group chats and take great offence to those that aren’t paying attention 24/7. Who has time for that shit! Especially the school ones. Just ask for the edited highlights from someone who does have the time or the inclination. But trust me, leave the group, you won’t be missing anything.
Appreciate your sleep
Sleep is so underrated when you’re young. I was the master at surviving off very little when I was younger. But those hours of lost sleep were probably all a waste as I doubt I can remember most of them. Now a good night’s sleep is something I look forward to (usually from just after I get up in the morning) and a sneaky nanna nap here and there is heaven. Learn to nap. Your older self will thank you for it.
Choose your inner circle wisely
From partners to friends, choose those that get the closest very wisely. Time vampires, negative Nelly’s, gossips and show boaters will all drag you down. Remember, you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. You don’t have to stay friends with people that no longer align with you and your values. Just because you were friends when you were 12, it doesn’t automatically mean you still have to be friends at 30. Be very careful to who you tell your most precious secrets. They will often come back to haunt you.
I wonder if my dog can be one of my five.
True friends are rare
Like the above, choose your friends wisely, but treasure the truly great ones. They will be few and far between. Make an effort to nurture the relationship you have with them. You may well have 500 Facebook friends, but there will only be one or two that matter.
Some people don’t like you
Nobody is liked by everyone. Even the great and the good have their haters. If someone doesn’t like you and perhaps feels the need to tell you that, it’s their problem, not yours. Haters are going to hate. And you will never meet a hater doing better. If you feel the need to be liked by everyone, then chances are you aren’t being your true self. What are you masking?
You can’t agree with everyone
We don’t live in a perfect world, and everyone has an opinion or two you may not agree with. Some people would argue black is white with you. Leave it be. Honestly, it’s not worth the energy. If you have the courage of your convictions to stand by your beliefs then you have no need to seek mass public approval.
Don’t sit on the fence
You’ll get splinters in your arse. It’s one thing to avoid confrontation or not get involved in other people’s business, and that is fine. But a person who appears to never speak up, not have an opinion on important matters or won’t stand up for anything, probably isn’t the type of friend you’d want defending your honour.
If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.
Nobody is coming to save you
This is kind of a sad fact really. It would be nice if there were lots of knights in shining armour out there. But sadly, in times of trouble, refer back to what I said earlier about choosing your inner circle wisely. I think I’ve prayed for a miracle many times. They never come. In the end, you’ve just got to dig deep and get yourself through the bad times. If you wait for a hero, you’ll probably waste an awful lot of your time.
It’s never too late
Well, actually it can sometimes be. You see the thing is none of us knows when our time will be up. Planning to start looking into doing that dream thing you’ve always wanted to do but putting it off until the time is right. There might not be a right time. Next week/month/year might be too late. Don’t put off the things you want to do. While you are still alive and well, it’s not too late.
Pay attention to your childhood passions
This is kind of weird, but when I look back now, the things that really interested me as a child, more as a teenager when education decisions were to be made, are the very things now I wish I had pursued. A lack of opportunity and guidance meant that I went down a path that I know now wasn’t the right one for me. And now I’m playing catchup to pursue those passions. As much as it annoys me, I suppose I have learnt other lessons about life by going a long way around.
The world doesn’t owe you anything
None of us has a right to pretty much anything. Apart from a right to life. What happens in that life is of your own choosing. Nobody owes you a relationship, a job, respect, or their time. You aren’t entitled to anything, no matter what you might think. The world revolves around the sun, not you sweet cheeks.
Don’t limit yourself
Ok so maybe limit the drugs and drink. But don’t think that because of the lottery of birth someone born and raised in Preston couldn’t be a massive Hollywood star or Prime Minister. Set your goals high, aim higher. Aim as high as you can possibly imagine. The minute you put limitations on yourself to achieve the things in life you want to, that’s when you are aiming to fail. With many things, there is always an element of luck no matter how hard you work. But take the chances when they present.
Stay out of other people’s business
If it doesn’t affect you and isn’t causing you any harm, then stay out of it! This also goes with choosing your circle wisely. A gossip will always be a gossip and they won’t care whose business they are messing in. Yes, there are times when you need to stand up for what is right and perhaps do something. But your average school gate gossip isn’t that time. Keep your own backyard in order first.
The neighbours probably don’t care
I know someone that seems to live and breathe by what they think their neighbours think. I am willing to bet that 99% of the neighbours don’t give a shit and aren’t even noticing all the random irrelevant things. If you live your life by what other people think (or don’t think) of you, then your life isn’t going to be filled with much joy. And if the neighbours are bothered then they need to learn my previous point about staying out of other people’s business.
You will make mistakes
Failure is good. Getting things wrong is good. You just need to learn from it. If you are never making any mistakes, then you aren’t taking any chances. Get out of your comfort zone and make all of the mistakes you need to. Eventually, you’ll get it right.
You can’t change anyone
And neither should you try. If a person isn’t who or what they say they are, move on. When a person shows you their true self, believe them. Don’t hang around to try and change them. Accept people as a whole, including their faults.
Offence can only be taken
If you are offended, it’s on you. I can’t give you offence. You can only take it. The level of offence is down to you. Most people aren’t setting out to offend you on purpose. Your reaction is not someone else’s responsibility.
Your kids can be idiots too
All parents think their babies are the cutest and the smartest. Being a school gate Mum is like an Olympic sport. If other people’s kids can be idiots, then so can yours. They won’t learn if you defend them when they are being little shits. Perhaps that is one of the first lessons about life they need to hear.
It’s your choice how you use the internet
I’m kind of jealous that kids now get to grow up with vast amounts of information and opportunities thanks to the internet. But each of us has the choice as to how we use the internet. If you want to play Candy Crush and Farmville then go ahead, waste your time. You can use it for good to improve yourself and your life or you can spend your time getting enraged by idiots in Facebook groups. Choose wisely.
Do good when you can
If there is nothing in it for you and something comes up to do something good, then do it. Do good deeds when you can. Help others when you can. Offer to help when you can. There is no need to post it on social media. Some day you may be the person in need.
It’s your body
It’s funny how so many people (mostly men) think they can tell women what to do with their bodies. This is one of the most important lessons about life to learn. Nobody, absolutely nobody can tell you what to do with your body. From how it looks, what it wears, how it moves, what parts you like and don’t like and what you do with those parts. Wear the makeup, change your gender, wear whatever clothes you like, get great big tattoos and as much cosmetic surgery as you want. It’s your body, your business. And if you fuck it up, then it’s your problem to deal with.
It’s your life
Same as your body. Nobody can tell you how to run your life. Granted you kind of need to stay within the law or it’s all going to go a bit wrong. But from such an early age so many people try to tell us what we should be doing. Get a job. Buy a house. Get married. Have kids. If only we lived our lives to please others. Beware of those that want to live their lives through you because they never lived their own lives. If there is just one lesson about life you should learn, it is that it is your life. And only yours.
Life is not meant to be an endless grind of 9-5, paying bills and then spending your last remaining days slumped in a chair watching daytime tv. Life can be tough and absolutely awful at times. So many people struggle through life. But there is no need to carry added stress that just doesn’t matter. Your life is for you to live. Learn these lessons about life and get out there and enjoy every last minute of it. Do what you love. Or at least be with those that you love.
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