Life lessons in your 40s.
Today I am celebrating 49 years of living, loving, laughing, learning. And letting go, because without letting go you can’t truly be free to be yourself. Somewhat ironic I know, right now, talking about being free in these weird Covid19 times of social distancing and curtailed freedom, but…é a vida as they say here in Portugal, which roughly translates as, suck it up and stop complaining, ha.
I may be a bit of a slow developer, but I’ve finally reached an age where I feel I know who I am and who I want to be. Two years ago I decided to listen to my intuition and take the leap of faith needed to start again here in Portugal. And since then I feel I have grown more and learnt more than I have over the past 20 years! I’m so grateful for whatever forces of energy have led me to end up here. And I would just like to reassure anyone who has a thing about getting older or feels it’s too late or scary to do the things you’ve always wanted to in life - it’s not. I feel fitter, freer, younger and happier than I did in my 30s, and with way more energy.
To mark the occasion I thought I’d share 49 life lessons I’ve learnt along the way so far that have helped me to get to where I am now:
1. Eat your greens. And then eat more greens.
2. Natural products inside and out. Better for you, better for the planet.
3. Smile. At other people and to yourself.
4. Laugh lots. Especially at yourself. And if you can make other people laugh too, even better.
5. Let go, move on, forgive. Live in the present, but learn the lessons needed from the past.
6. Show your feelings, but learn to control your emotions.
8. Meditate and do yoga.
9. Get out in nature, as much as you possibly can. Grow things. Hug trees.
10. Love. With your whole self.
11. Learn to love yourself, for you are your strongest ally and your worst enemy.
12. Find your purpose. Let go of thinking it has to be anything grand or what society labels successful. It just has to work for you and make you happy to get up every morning.
13. Stop thinking things are about you, and instead try to understand what else could be going on.
14. Trust yourself and your instincts. Learn to tune in and listen to your intuition (see nos. 7 and 8).
15. Try new things! Practise saying “Why not!” instead of “Why?”
16. But learn to say no to what doesn’t serve you or depletes you.
17. Remember that everyone sees and hears and understands things differently - we each have a unique perspective.
18. You need fewer friends than you might think, but more of all different ages, gender, culture and walks of life.
19. Learn to appreciate and enjoy quiet time alone.
20. Money isn’t everything. You need a lot less stuff than you think.
21. Have cats.
22. Step away from drama and game-plays.
23. Keep your eyes and mind wide-open. Listen more, talk less. Read between the lines.
24. Don’t be afraid or too arrogant to seek out help. Therapy, coaching, they’re all there to help you grow and learn.
25. Embrace failure and imperfection. It’s part of learning.
26. Your life does not have to be conventional.
27. Be grateful. Say thank you.
28. You’re responsible for your own luck and the choices you make. You choose your path, and you control how you’re going to walk along it and what you do along the way, as well as your thoughts.
29. Drink gin.
30. And red wine.
40. Eat organic and cook from scratch. Avoid refined sugar and processed foods.
41. Don’t lose heart if things don’t work out how you were hoping. Try again or accept the new version - it could be even better than what you were hoping for!
42. Learn patience.
43. Learn Portuguese.
44. Help others.
45. Live sustainably, and with a sense of community.
46. Eat less, move more.
47. Find joy in the small things, every day.
48. To be happy, you have to be healthy in body and mind.
49. Make the most of every day, especially birthdays!