I turn 37 in 10 days and thanks to those damn algorithms and cookies, I have things popping up in my feed like, things you should own by the time you're 30 (why does everyone need a nautical striped shirt? I'll take a flanny over that any day), skincare for youthful looking skin, and perpetual fertility ads - If you're reading this google I haven't had children out of choice and I don't bloody well plan on it, bugger off! Just for once I would like an ad that said "Nearly 40? Buy a quad bike and let loose!"
By now I am supposed to have a mortgage, kids, be married, savings, debt, a fancy wardrobe, full time job with holiday pay, pets, an exercise regime, juice daily, yoga on the weekends, written my will and have a fabulous sex life. WTF! I can tell you I have about 3-5 of those things on a good week. I'm looking at getting a puppy so I can round up a little more often.
Anyway, because of all this rubbish, I thought I would write a list of things that I would have liked to know before I got here.
Travel lots, both with others and by yourself. I have never learnt so much about myself as I have whilst travelling. Developing countries are especially valuable. Not only will they teach you appreciation for all the amazing things in your life and that happiness can be found in the simple things, but usually I have more fun and it doesn't cost a bomb. Travelling by yourself allows you to sit with yourself, make decisions based on what you alone truly want to do and usually means you talk to other people more than you would if you were travelling in a duo. The possibilities are endless.
Have personal goals that are fun. Don't just set weight-loss goals. Set goals that excite and inspire you. Reaching goals is important in life and reaching fun ones has multiple benefits. This NYE set a goal that you've always wanted to do, you have a year to make it happen.
Be spontaneous, don't loose the art of play. Ever.
Buy things that last. Buy yourself a nice pair of boots instead of shitty cheap ones. You'll eventually spend the same amount of money anyway. One way you'll just have something left to show for it. Also it puts a stop to this crappy fast fashion thing we have going on right now.
Look after your skin. This is not a sunscreen lesson, in fact I very rarely wear it. Drink lots of water. Moisturise down to your décolletage (chest), the skin between your boobs and your neck sees the most sun and gets looked after the least. Always take your makeup off before bed, no matter how many margaritas you've had. If you are going to wear sunscreen, make sure you get the little bit on your nose right in front of your sunnies. This spot will get sun damage before the rest of your face due to reflections.
Save 10% of your wage every week and never touch it. Many employers will allow you to split your direct deposit, so you can divert funds to a savings account each pay check without even thinking about it. You'll never miss it but you will value it more than you know at the other end!
Host dinner parties and use the special china, often.
Write yourself a personal nourishment menu. When you are down it is sometimes hard to get out of that funk. Write yourself a list of everything that makes you happy from reading a book, to drinking wine or climbing a mountain. Keep it by your bed, so if you find yourself down and out, you already have a list of things that will make you feel better. I highly recommend this. Even if you aren't down, still use it. It's a perfect way to manage stress before it becomes too much.
Learn how to fail gracefully. I didn't open my business till I was 32 because I was parallelized by the fear of failing in front of others. No one cares, they are too concerned with their own failings. It will only become a part of your success story!
Learn how to say no. This one was hard for me. People think it is free for me to run a Photography business. IT'S NOT! I have the same bills as everyone else does and shooting 'a couple of shots' for your head shots because we are friends, is not going to pay my rent or my business insurance. Neither will 'exposure' to your clients that aren't my clientele.
Learn to say yes. If you get a fun random request from someone that seems a little wild, say yes. Adventures feed the soul.
Unplug regularly. Easier said than done these days. Don't undervalue the effects this will have on your life. Talk to your loved ones, dance in the living room and get outdoors. It helps us to connect back into ourselves and our relationships around us.
Learn how you love. This might sound weird but it has saved my relationship with my mother and nurtured my other relationships around me. Check out the 5 love languages and find out how your receive love and how your loved ones receive love. My mother is acts of service and I am quality time. I always thought she had no time for me and vice versa. Then we figured out that if I helped her do the dishes and she sat down and had a cuppa with me, we both got what we needed. It has changed our relationship completely!
Learn how you fight. Another crucial component in a good relationship. Are you the sort of person that yells and screams and needs to get it all out, or do you go quiet and need time to process everything and then come back to it? This can be one of the biggest miss-communications in a relationship. One person will always feel like you are walking out on them when your talking and the other will feel constantly berated. Learn how each other fights and find a way to make it work for you both.
Be responsible for your own happiness. Don't expect someone else to do it for you. Use your personal nourishment menu and make sure your partner does the same (if you have one). You will have a much healthier relationship if you don't put that weight on each other.
Get into the habit of flossing when you're younger. By the time you figure this out when you're older, you will already have gum problems.
If you wear high heels too often you will develop excruciating arthritis in your feet and toes when you're older, and I'm not talking old enough that you want to put your feet up and stop exploring. Take care of your feet and make sure you have a couple of fav pairs of flats.
Wear your 'special clothes'. Dress in a way that makes you feel awesome every day. It's like the special china, make sure it is not stored away in the back of the cupboard until it no longer fits or it has lost it's pizazz.
Don't measure your life up against anyone else's and don't get caught up in all the who ha of what people think you should be doing 'at your age'.
Commit to making it work like they did in the olden days. Don't go into relationships with the thought 'oh well, if it doesn't work we can always get divorced'. Don't give yourself the easy out and you would be surprised in the strength it will create between you. You will find ways to compromise and make it work. I've been with my man for 9 years and we only just got engaged. There is a real strength to being together for that long and not being married. Everyday we stayed together because we chose to. We know each other's weakest points and strongest. We've seen each other sick, depressed, elated and messy drunk. We have failed together and had many wins. We travel well together and have figured out the housework. We are very different people, but it works because we make it work.
If you can't be bothered making yourself something healthy to eat, you probably really need it.
Buy experiences as presents instead of random objects. You'll always be the fun friend.
I'm off to get myself an ATV. Is there something I left off this list? Let me know in the comments below.