“The first 40 years of childhood are the hardest.”
I read that line recently somewhere and giggled. Life can indeed feel damn hard at times and although I still don’t know all the answers, or have ‘answers’ that I’m 100% sure of, I most certainly have learned a helluvalot in my first 39 spins around the sun. So as I celebrate my 39th birthday I thought I’d share some musings with you. Take them for what they are….advice….lessons….ramblings, whatever. It’s simply what I have learned and what’s worked for me thus far.
1 – “You always have a choice”. I often find myself saying this line to children when they feel that life just isn’t fair. The same goes for us big kids too – we always have a choice, although it may not be apparent to us what the choices are. A client recently told me about this book that humorously delves into the multitude of excuses we use to NOT exercise and I loved the title because it’s simple and effective – it’s called ‘Then, just stay fat’. Right?!? I mean, we know all the excuses, we know all the steps we should take, but for whatever multitude of truly creative reasons we just.don’t.get.it.done. So, we’ve made a choice because inaction is a decision. And if we do the same thing, we get the same results. Try making a different choice next time and see what happens.
2 – Speaking of choices, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. We humans are ridiculously skilled at blaming others. Your boss, your coworker, your teacher, the police officer, the neighbours, the dog walker, the coffee barista, the car, the traffic, the pollution, the noise, the schedule, the nanny, etc. You might say things like ‘THEY did this to me, and HE doesn’t get it, and SHE is a b*tch’. It’s easy to get angry and blame others. The kicker is when you do that you give your power away to them. You energetically say ‘Here, deal with this crap because I don’t want to…blech‘ and then later you feel sad, depressed, powerless and awful because you can’t do anything about what happened. It’s all THEIR fault…right?
BUT here’s the thing, when you take responsibility you can change the outcome – what power! Think about it, when the proverbial shit hits the fan, if you don’t own your percentage of what went wrong nothing gets done. The horrible fight/argument/bad situation just sits and festers and like any garbage it can really stink up your life. So, if you instead say ‘I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I’ll fix it’ you get to do just that – fix it. By taking responsibility you’re able to move on with a fresh slate. So, when you screw up (and you will), own.your.shit! Don’t blame it on your friend, your dog, the Universe, etc. YOU had a role in whatever happened because YOU were there. Period. Own it and take the power back so you can make it better for everyone involved.
3 – Half of life is showing up. It’s easy to stay home on your couch, flip through mindless reality shows and numb yourself out for a few hours. Easy. Comfortable. And sometimes, completely necessary. BUT when you’re on the fence and trying to decide whether you should take your friend up on that invite, go to that party, that job interview, that yoga class, that concert, that bike ride, that coffee, that whatever – DO IT. Here’s the thing, if it sucks, you can leave. But 9 times out of 10, I never regret going and I usually end up feeling great afterwards. Inspired. Energized. And sometimes, completely fulfilled.
4 – Take care of each other. As I said earlier, life can feel really damn hard sometimes and these moments are precisely when we need someone to hold our hand and help us through the rough patches. So do that. Reach out. Help out. Take care of you AND each other. Show a little kindness to friends and to strangers and I guarantee it will come back to you when you need it most.
5 – Listen. We were given 2 ears and one mouth and yet we often don’t use them in that divine ratio. I’ve found that the more I listen, I mean realllly listen, the more I learn about that person and that situation. When conversing with someone else, I try not to rush ahead in my mind and anticipate what answer I’ll give them to their problem (which can be really hard to do). Instead, I try to hold a sacred silent space for them and focus on being fully present. Being their sounding board, their shoulder, their empathetic ear, whatever they need in that moment. Often times I find they work out their problems on their own by simply talking it through without being interrupted. How brilliant is that? You didn’t have to come up with a solution and they feel fantastic! Remember, in the heart of all of us we just want to be heard and to know what we said mattered. So listen, to what they’re saying and NOT saying and just BE there for them. That alone is worth it’s weight in gold.
6 – Don’t make someone a priority who makes you an option. We all know this feeling, it sucks. But again, you have a choice. You can continue to suffer in silence or you can be brave and have a conversation with them about the state of your relationship. Express what it is you’re feeling and how you two might work together to make things better. If afterwards they continue to not make you a priority, well, you can make another choice…and I hope you choose to make yourself a priority.
7 – Believe in yourself and your ‘crazy’ dreams. Numerous times I’ve felt the sheer anxiety and nervousness before taking that leap of faith into the unknown. I’ve tried to ignore the signs, the gut feelings, the yearning to go and do whatever that ‘thing’ is. I’ve had to muster up the courage, ignore the naysayers, and answer the call with a courageous YES even if it came out of my throat as more of a squeak than a roar. We’ve alllll had those moments which is why it’s so important to show others you believe in them and their dreams too. When friends are feeling scared, extremely vulnerable, exposed, and skeptical because they’re not sure it will all work out – encourage them. Cheerlead them. Sometimes all it takes is one person to say ‘you got this‘ to strengthen that backbone and take the first step.
8 – “Expectation is the root of all heartache”. Willy Shakespeare nailed it with that quote. Expecting people to do this or that, especially when they have NO IDEA you expected this or that of them (“well, I expected he’d at least get me a card” or “I just thought she’d say she loved me by now” or “he should have known I wanted ____”) just ends up in heartache for you because you’re disappointed that they didn’t read your mind. Here’s the thing, you cannot control other people and other people cannot read your mind. If it’s something really important to you, ASK for what you need. Explain why it’s so important to you. If they don’t follow through, well, that’s a whole other story and maybe you need to look back at #1.
9 – Stop comparing yourself to others. You will never know someone’s FULL story so although they might appear to ‘have it all’. I’m telling you, they don’t. No one is perfect and no life is perfect. We all have our own heart-wrenching stories and you don’t know what they’re dealing with behind closed doors. And odds are, they’re jealous of something YOU have that you probably take for granted (your curly hair, your sashay when you walk, your tiny ankles, etc.) So stop making assumptions and being jealous of what they have. In the words of Dave Matthews ‘what I want is what I’ve not got…but what I need, is all around me’. Focus on being grateful for what you have and I bet you start feeling pretty damn good about your fine self.
10 – LET GO AND SURRENDER This has been my BIGGEST lesson thus far. Get in ‘The Flow’ of the Universe as often as you can. Stop controlling, resisting, scheming, planning every last detail and instead be open to receive, feel, enjoy and just lean into the love. Mother Nature has a way of making things happen, putting the right people on your path at precisely the right time – so stop trying to control it all. Your efforts are futile…but you do look really cute when you’re trying to manipulate it all. 😉
If you’d like to learn more about any of the above musings, I’m happy to help and explain more. You can reach out to me here and we’ll set up a time to chat. And on that note, I’m making the choice to sign off and head to my final birthday party with my beloved family. Cheers to the first 40! 🙂