Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Five Important Lessons I Have Learned in My 40 Years

Here I sit wanting to make an impactful "What I know about life at 40" kind of post but I'm hesitant. Why? I look at what I wrote ten years ago and shudder at what I thought was wisdom. I was so naive and life, parenting and marriage have kept me humble and have been great teachers over the past ten years. To spin this positively, I could say that at 40 I know that the next ten years should be filled with growth and more wisdom which is a gift as I then approach 50.

What are some of the major lessons I've learned in 40 years of life?

1. It's worth it to try to understand the behaviour of kids (and adults). They aren't trying to be bad (in most cases). They are saying a lot through their actions. Are they hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Scared? Do they have allergies? Overloaded senses? Anxiety?  Empathy goes such a long way in connecting with your kids and I've taught my kids to respond with "That does sound hard". Be a detective, it's worth it. This also goes into understanding the behaviour of adults. As a foster parent I have seen some very messy home situations and have come to realize that usually there are multiple reasons why people end up in the situations that they do; whether it's terrible home lives, abuse, mental health...no one is immune and people are doing the best that they can given their situation.

2. Stress can only motivate for so long. I'm out! I can still be productive but there's no way I'm going to spend my time/energy/money on things that are life-sucking. See ya. Don't want to be bitter any more using my "gifts" for things I'm too mentally tired to do. It also doesn't hurt to ask for help in a stressful situation. What is the worst that could happen? They could say "no". Finally, autoimmune diseases are no joke and stress was a factor in in my Graves' disease journey.

3. Perfectionism doesn't mean doing everything perfectly and it's not a bad thing. A perfectionist can change the world when they're healthy but can turn very critical when they are stressed. I can be critical.  Doing the Enneagram was life-changing and I highly recommend it. I need to remember to work on my self-compassion so in turn I an be more compassionate to others. This has been a huge eye-opener for our marriage as well. Work on your marriage, friends – it won't grow on it's own!

4.Feel all the feelings. We are all entitled to our own feelings about each experience. I may not understand your reaction but I am not you. Judging someone else's responses reduces our empathy. Also, the only way to truly work through an experience is to actually go through it. Yes, that sentence is redundant but you can't jump and skip a stage and hope to get through unscathed. I didn't go to counselling after my mom died because I just wanted to move on and forward. I didn't realize the importance of taking the the time to grieve and grow.

5. Do what you love. I need exercise and books. I feel best when I've got a great book on the nightstand and a Tuesday night hockey game on the calendar. Make what is most important to your mental health a priority. Life is short and don't wait for the perfect time for a trip or career change, if it's close enough and you have the finances, go for it. Be open to trying new things, too. I didn't know I could be a photographer or foster mom, I just decided that we would try it and see; one day at a time, folks. Failure is not a bad thing and has been a great life teacher for me.

I'm curious to see where I am at 50 and what lessons I will have learned. Dear God, please let me live until 50...and then 60 and 70.

I am loving how I feel right now. I am confident in how I look and what I'm doing – no, my body hasn't changed but I'm just happier with it. I've done almost everything I've ever wanted to do and I am thankful that I've been able to pursue every dream...except run a 10km race again. My body always gets stuck at 5 km's. I still have time.

I would love to hear what life lessons you would add – funny or serious, I'd love to know.


What are some life lessons I had to learn through experience? I can save you some time, heartache and stress...

No comments:

Post a Comment