Ever wanted a crystal ball to help steer how you live your life?
In looking back at my life, there are 5 lessons I might have liked to have known. I say ‘might’ because whose to say if I had known them that my life would have been any better?
1. Don’t compromise your own values for someone else. Don’t be swayed to be someone that doesn’t fit with how you want to be. Be authentic. Be you. Don’t change the essence of you for anyone and don’t let the weight of others expectations worry or change you. I have wasted a lot of my life worrying that I don’t quite measure up. Don’t give a polite shit. Stand strong in your shoes.
2. Follow your heart and not your career. Meeting my husband and having children has been the best part of my life but they occurred relatively late. Up until then, I was extremely career focused. I moved for better jobs. I sacrificed some good relationships in the name of my career. I know now that despite the current hardship I am experiencing with my health that my motivation to work is strong. I would have made a career happen anywhere and at any time! I missed a couple of life long relationship opportunities and, whilst I wouldn’t be without my husband and children, I would have liked to experience this amazing time in my life so much earlier.
3. Be wise with your money. Hold on to good investments. I have often been impulsive about needing to move or change my circumstances. Whilst I did them for good reason, twice these involved properties I owned which I decided to sell, seemingly to make life more convenient. They weren’t very wise decisions. I missed out on major capital growth which would have made life with illness now so much easier. One of my values, I have come to realise, is security and I crave certainty around a place to live. We still have a large mortgage which doesn’t help with achieving that need! I believe we will keep downsizing or moving to cheaper locations until we achieve a mortgage free status. In hindsight, I wouldn’t be so impulsive next time!
4. Don’t be so money orientated. Still working on this one and kind of contrary to the one above! Whilst money is a necessity for many things, I’ve learnt you can live on relatively little and be happy. Stop comparing yourself to others and forge your own way. You don’t need a big nest egg to leave when you die you just need enough to survive whilst you are here. The rest is for time to be you and happy.
5. Slow down and don’t be so hell bent on achievement. Life is to be enjoyed and lived slowly. Being constantly busy does not slow life down it speeds it up (ironically). Going slow is not wasting your life. Being busy with stuff that doesn’t matter is. Too much busy and achieving is distracting. It delays understanding who you really are and what you want out of life. Life is relatively short (particularly the healthy parts). Spend it on the stuff that matters.
Those 5 reflections might be insightful but I’ve also learnt, living life isn’t about the short cut to happiness, or having a magical crystal ball, it is ultimately about the discovery.
Whilst I might have chosen to give my younger self a glimpse into what matters for me it doesn’t take away from the beauty of my experiences.
The experiences, in and of themselves, have been about finding out what it is that matters to me.
If you are mid way through your life, don’t ruminate on how to have lived your life differently. It’s done.
Instead, use what you have learnt as an insight into who you are and use it to live the rest of your life better.
I know I am.
Be grateful for your experiences.
They define you.