Tomorrow is my birthday, and I shall be 39. The last year of my 30s! I know, I can’t believe it either…
The thought of being 40 next year is nowhere near as scary as when I was 29, and looking ahead to my 30s. Age doesn’t really matter that much, and the events of the past couple of years have taught me, the hard way, that growing old is a privilege.
I’ve learnt a thing or two in my 39 years on the planet. Mostly the hard way! I by no means know it all (who does?) but in celebration of starting my 40th year I’d like to share some words of wisdom with you.
In no particular order…
1.There is no better feeling in the whole world than a cuddle with your baby, smelling them, feeling their perfect skin against yours, knowing there is no place either of you would rather be.
2. There is no worse feeling in the whole world than your baby dying in your arms, than of arranging and attending their funeral. Nothing the world can throw at you feels quite so bad after that.
3. Bad things happen to good people. There is no protective force field. Shit can happen to anyone, anytime.
4. When bad stuff happens, it’s ok to feel sorry for yourself for a while, to take stock.
5. But you have to find a way to dust yourself off, get up, reassess, and keep on keeping on.
6. Building resilience is crucial to getting through life. All sorts of things can happen to you, you need to be able to move forward.
7. There is no scale for bad times – life is not a competition, it’s all relative. If it feels crap, it’s crap.
8. Finding a purpose in life can help you get through the bad times.
9. Try not to moan too much, especially about things that are trivial or inconsequential (ask yourself will this really matter in a week’s time?)
10. Moaning about something that’s gone wrong or that you don’t like will achieve precisely nothing.
11. Taking action – however small – to resolve something that has gone wrong or that you don’t like will make a difference. That difference may take a while to be apparent, but action breeds action.
12. If something matters to you, speak up. Be brave, have faith in your convictions. Be a radical, not an armchair commentator.
13. We are all different, with different views, perspectives, experiences, hopes, expectations….let’s respect that.
14. Punching and throwing things when you are stressed is way more effective than scoffing cake. Just make sure the punching and throwing things is at the gym…
15. Finding the right exercise for you, the one that makes you want to go and workout, can transform your body (and life!)
16. Love your body, with all its imperfections, lumps and bumps. Remember your body is awesome, with all the many things that it is capable of, and that everyone has body hangups.
17. Accept your body shape. For years I thought a tall slender figure was something to aspire to, but being short and curvy I have had to accept that is never going to happen! All my working out means I am still short and curvy – just a smaller version.
18. Know what clothes suit your body shape. It makes shopping so much less stressful! Know what shops sell clothes that suit your body shape – again it makes shopping much less stressful because you can save time – but you can also save time and money by shopping online through those shops’ websites.
19. Know your correct bra size! And wear bras in that correct size. Get to know what style of bra suits you best – different styles suit boobs of different shapes and sizes. Your boobs and silhouette will thank you for it!
20. Follow your own style, not fashion. Just because something is fashionable, it doesn’t mean you have to wear it, especially if it doesn’t suit you.
21. People are not confident and self-assured all the time, they are just better at swallowing the nerves and self-doubt and just going for it.
22. Finding a way to quash your own self-doubt takes time and lots of trial and error but it can be done.
23. To vanquish self-doubt focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. Not as easy as it sounds…so start practicing, now. Make a list, ask people you trust…just do it. It’s worth it.
24. Do what makes you happy. Another one that is harder than it sounds! Make another list…even if it is things to stop doing, that’s a step in the right direction.
25. Make time for self-care. Every single day. Even 5 minutes to focus on you can do wonders. Self-care is not selfish, it is vital to your ability to care for others.
26. Try not to care what others think – if it makes you happy, do it. No one needs to know (not everything needs to be recorded on social media).
27. Other people probably won’t notice and won’t care, anyway. If other people do notice and respond negatively, they are not worth worrying about.
28. People will always offer support when you ask for it.
29. Trust your instincts – about people, situations, whatever – it’s usually right.
30. There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. We’re all unique, and have a contribution to make on the world.
31. Your skin will need different products to those you used at the age of 20.
32. Wrinkles are a sign of having lived a life!
33. But wear sunscreen. Every single day of the year. Even when you can’t see the sun, the harmful rays can still damage your skin.
34. Grey roots are not the end of the world.
35. Life’s too short to persevere with a book or film you are not enjoying. With so many other books and films out there, move on!
36. The feeling of sunshine on your skin is wonderful.
37. Always have time to smell and admire the flowers (and take photos of them to put on Instagram).
38. Rioja and a deep, rich chocolate cake is a mind-blowing combination.
39. Drinking too much isn’t worth it because the hangover now takes too long to recover from.
40. Life is tough, and full of beauty, too.
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