I was 39 years old when I quit my fancy-pants job, KonMari-ed all my earthly possessions, squished my life into a backpack and boarded a plane bound for adventures unknown.
In the three years since then, I’ve sipped cocktails beneath a volcano in Costa Rica, danced in a Thai jungle with a 200 neon-clad twenty-somethings, learned to ride a scooter around the island of Bali, and slid down the (terrifyingly steep) side of a volcano in Nicaragua on a plank of wood.
(Lest you think it’s been all midlife crisis all the time, I’ve also hob-nobbed on a yacht sailing around Manhattan island, been treated like a superstar at über-fancy hotels, and glammed it up with some millionaires at a pool party in Hollywood.)
If you feel stuck or trapped in a lifestyle that you fell into by accident, then never fear – you too can create yourself an un-boring life (whatever that looks like for you). All it takes is these three important realisations.
We all have the power to choose how we live our life
If your life is boring, you have the power to make it un-boring.
The idea that life is just something that comes at us, that we have to duck and weave or parry (or any other sports metaphor that I’m most definitely not qualified to be using) is just a myth.
You’re choosing to live the way you live right now.
If you’re working in a job that crushes your soul every day and you haven’t quit, you’re choosing to stay in that job.
If you want to spend winters in a warmer country but your daughter relies on you to babysit the kids while she works, you’re choosing to give up that sunshine.
You might feel like you’re trapped in those situations, but there are ways out of them that you’re just choosing not to take.
Are those ways out easy? Probably not. They might involve sacrifice and painful emotions and risk and uncertainty. But they exist, and the fact you’re not taking them is a choice.
The truth is, we are completely responsible for the life we’re living right now. And once you realise that, a whole world of exciting possibility opens up to you.
Now, I know from real-life conversations that a good number of people get angry when I say that. If that’s you, and you’re sitting there ready to point out a whole bunch of things outside your control that led to your life turning out the way it has now, then you might be disappointed to know that I’m not disagreeing with you.
The thing is, there’s a difference between fault and responsibility. If someone drops a baby on your doorstep in a basket, it’s not your fault that child is there, but you’re now responsible for what you do with that situation.
There’s no need to blame or shame yourself if the last few years or decades of your life didn’t turn out as well as you hoped. But you do have to take responsibility for what you do with it and where you go from here.
Feeling powerless won’t make you feel better in the long term
So instead, choose to take ownership, take control and take decisions that’ll shape your life into something that you feel lucky to be living.
You don’t have to do what other people expect you to do
This seems obvious at first glance, but this is probably the biggest thing stopping you from living a life that makes you happy.
Nobody likes feeling judged. But there’s so much cultural and societal and familial pressure to live out your days in a certain way, that we inevitably find ourselves giving up something of ourself to keep the outside world happy.
Making the sensible choice, being the good girl, squashing down our own desires so that people we love don’t get upset.
One of my all-time favourite quotes comes from Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement address.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.Steve Jobs
I’ve really taken this advice to heart. So at a time when most of my peers are scaling the heights of the career ladder, building home extensions and investing in rental property, I’m eating $2 tostadas topped with grasshoppers (chapulines) and trying to work out how many pesos there are in a baht.
And it’s mutha-flippin’ marvellous
Dealing with the criticism and judgement of other people can be hard. But here’s the secret…you don’t have to let their opinions affect you.
Imagine someone’s negative opinion as a handful of spiky cactus needles. They’re holding it out for you to take, but it’s up to you if you grab those spiky needles and carry them around with you or not. If it’s going to hurt you, just don’t accept it.
You’re the only person who thinks your thoughts, feels your feelings and yearns your yearnings. You are the one and only person on the entire planet who’s qualified to decide what your life should look like.
If you want to do something weird and wonderful and surprising and unexpected, then be like Nike and just do it.
Mistakes are inevitable, but regret is optional
Yep, I’m putting it right out there. You’re going to make mistakes.
It’s all part of this little ol’ thing called being human. But how you feel about those mistakes is 100% within your control.
You can choose to beat yourself up about the mistake for weeks on end. Or you can choose to take a lesson from it, forgive yourself, and move on knowing you’ll never make that mistake again.
(Many of my entrepreneur friends refuse to even use the word mistake; they just call them lessons.)
Regret has to be one of the most pointless feelings we have. It makes you feel bad about the past, yet does nothing to help you create a better future. So why not just decide to avoid it altogether?
We’ve all read this quote:
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.Mark Twain
It’s plastered all over social media for a very good reason. It’s because (with the possible exception of dubious decisions involving overenthusiastic alcohol consumption and tattoo parlours) we know it to be true.
If you want to create an un-boring life, that probably means doing things you haven’t done before. So decide right now that everything you do will be an adventure and that mistakes will be lessons. Allow yourself to do the scary something and start creating a life that rocks your socks off.
You’re never too old and it’s never too late
Whether you’re in your 40s or were born in the 1940s, the time to craft your un-boring life is now.
I read a wonderful quote this week that’s variously attributed to Tom Hiddleston or Confucius (and weirdly, it sounds believable coming from both).
We all have two lives. The second begins when we realise we only have one.
So if you’re ready to start your second act, then it’s time to fire the playwright and write the script yourself so you get to do the scenes you want to do.
It’s time to get out there and create the kickass life you deserve.
Looking for more motivation to get out there and start living a more inspired life? Learn the five mindset shifts essential to creating a life you love in my free Mindset Mojo Masterclass.