This past week I celebrated a milestone birthday – the BIG FIVE-OH! Perhaps it’s because I’m a notoriously late bloomer but this transition out of my forties and into a new decade wasn’t particularly difficult for me. My past decade was filled with changes…some good, some bad…but the result of all those changes has been a more sure sense of self and an ongoing contentedness. This post discusses five thoughts/lessons that have helped create this state of well-being and satisfaction.
1. Keep on top of your health.
Both physical and mental. While so many people focus on the physical, particularly for appearance and weight control, my #1 argument for keeping your health a priority is that it largely controls your quality of life as you age. Certainly things come up that are beyond our control but if you focus on keeping healthy and active you are almost assured to have more options available to you as you journey through life. It can mean the difference between a slow, steady decay or a life of continued growth, fulfillment and happiness.
2. Keep learning.
In the early part of my life, I feared taking chances and trying new experiences. What if I was bad at something? Or looked silly? Thankfully I’ve largely gotten over that. My forties brought a ton of new experiences: I took up running, learned to scuba, took surf and foreign language lessons, joined a book club, bathed an elephant, flew to the Middle East by myself, dabbled in rock climbing; heck, I even went hang-gliding! With each of these new experiences, my confidence grew and life became dramatically more interesting. The old adage “only bored people are boring” is true. Don’t be the person that brags “I haven’t changed a bit since school”. Get out there and try something new, if not every day, then every month or quarter. It’s good for the mind and keeps you mentally young. What new thing have you always wanted to try that you can commit to attempting this summer?
3. Train yourself to let go of the little things.
We all likely know someone who chronically complains. Oftentimes this occurs within the perceived anonymity of FaceBook or with people who dislike dead space in a conversation – it’s always easy to fill a gap by venting. And venting is fine in moderation. But, if you find yourself chronically irritated by common, everyday events (getting cut off in traffic, someone jumping in line, people that are slow to return texts or phone calls, a rude waitress), please train yourself to let go of this habit. YOU are the only person being affected by these thoughts. The instigator likely has no idea so don’t carry the frustration around with you all day long. Make the choice to let it go and to focus on your happiness instead of prolonging your own suffering.
4. Don’t be afraid to burn an occasional bridge or make big changes.
While this might sound a bit contradictory to the recommendation above, it’s really not. When things go deeper than petty annoyances, it can be in your best interest to make a big change. The toxic family member, the dead-end job, the outgrown relationships. Again, these people/situations may cause you pain but YOU are letting yourself suffer by continuing to tolerate them. Be kind but be firm. If something or someone brings you down with every contact, the contact should end.
5. March to the beat of your own drummer.
This has been one of the hardest for me to embrace. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini and we like to be all things to all people. But in reality, my most outgoing, extroverted friends likely find me a bit serious and conventional while my most sedate friends likely think of me as the one who enjoys her champagne a little too much. And that’s OK. I don’t have to be them, just the best version of me. When you shape yourself according to the traits that others wish you to have, you’ll end up stressed and disappointed in the long run. Not that you can’t try a few personalities on for size – as a Gemini that’s kinda what we’re known for – but ultimately, you need to find and live each day as your authentic self for sustained happiness.
In closing, I’m looking forward to the next decade and the new experiences, friends, lessons and adventures it will bring. As for you,
Go out there and claim your happy!
Sparkle like the gem that you are.
This post is part of blog hop!