July 2021 marked my 45th year on the planet! So, what are the most important 21 lessons I've learned over the last 45 years?
I’ve never really been one for birthdays. Who wants to be reminded that their another year older – not me for sure! However, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been so excited about reaching this milestone and spent a lot of time contemplating all the lessons I’ve learned over the last 45 years.
I wish I could say I learned these lessons decades ago. But the truth is, I discovered the majority of them when I made a massive mindset shift, at the age of 41. It just goes to show, it’s never too late to grow into the person you want to become – no matter what your starting point.
Turning 45 - 21 Lessons I Have Learned
1. be grateful
Having made gratitude a daily practice, I now see it’s the key to reforming a mindset of lack, to one full of abundance. Before I go to bed each night, I make it a priority to write down at least 5 things I’m grateful for. This has helped to calm my mind before bed and allows my subconscious thoughts to be focused on positive things before I drift off to sleep.
Taking responsibility for my own happiness was a big one. I’d spent so many years depending on other people or things to make me happy – not realising I was giving my power away. Learning to honour what makes me happy and finding ways to incorporate those things into my daily life, created so much joy in my day to day experience.
3. Mistakes are learning experiences
I used to be so afraid of making mistakes. Mainly because I was fearful of other peoples judgement. It’s taken years of mistakes to finally realise they were all building blocks to finding solutions. I now celebrate and learn from every mistake I make. Without them, I would not be able to grow.
4. Write all ideas down
They say, there’s no such thing as a bad idea, so I write EVERYTHING down. I’m always amazed at the amount of times I find myself struggling for direction and then flick through my brain dump book and find a solution. The mind has a way of knowing what you need many days, months or even years before the problem presents itself. Get a brain dump note pad and write it down!
5. I'm allowed to change my mind
I’ve spent countless hours doing something I don’t want to do, because I was scared to say I had changed my mind. Not any more! I am no longer bound to all the decisions I make. If I change my mind about something, I admit it to myself, and then change course. Too many years of my life have been wasted by being afraid to say I changed my mind.
6. It's never too late
It took 45 years to live the life I’m living now. And, I only started this journey at the age of 41! I am testimony that it’s never too late to do, try, change or release anything. I’ve learned, no matter what I want – It’s not too late to take action towards it.
7. Find opportunities to laugh
I’m a big kid at heart, I love to laugh, dance and just be goofy. Somehow, I lost that playfulness a few years ago and took things way too seriously. Now I look for every opportunity to laugh – especially at myself. It has given me a new found freedom and enabled my creativity to flow much easier in all aspects of my life.
8. make sleep a priority
Long gone are the days of coming home at 4am from a hard night of partying and getting up by 7am to get to work. But that’s OK! I now look forward to my sleep and make it a priority to get at least 7 hours each night. My whole evening routine is geared towards making sleep a priority. Not because I’m getting older. But I now understand the importance of sleep on both my brain health and my body maintenance.
9. Other peoples opinions don't matter
The moment I hit publish on my first ever blog post, cemented the fact that I no longer cared about other peoples opinions. I had been held in my own personal prison, afraid of what people may think of me for decades. Realising what they thought, had absolutely no bearing of what I thought about myself, was the most emancipating feeling ever.
10. Move out of your comfort zone
The most uncomfortable period of my life has been between the ages of 41 – 45. But it’s also been the most rewarding. Finally telling the disempowering voices in my head that I was ‘going to do it anyway’, has been the biggest catalyst in my life. I now refuse to play small and safe. Staying in my comfort zone would have literally killed my soul!
11. Focus on my strengths
There are so many things I’m not good at doing. So, instead of beating myself up about what I can’t do and staying in that defeated mindset – I focus on my strengths. Thinking this way has unleashed a set of talents I didn’t even know I had. Things I can build on to make my life and the lives of people around me better.
12. Self-reflection is part of growth
I can bang on for hours talking about all the growth I’ve made over the last few years. This is only possible because I’m always in a process of self-reflection. With all the growth I’ve made, there is always space for improvement, adjusting and evaluating. I make it a priority to do this on a monthly, 6-monthly and annual basis. There is no way of telling if you’ve really grown within your life, without real reflection of that growth and understanding what works and what needs to be changed.
13. It's OK to be selfish
Speaking as a wife and mother, I understand the notion of being selfish may raise a few eye brows. But, after 23 years of marriage and raising a 21 and 15 year old – I was late to this party! I now realise that being selfish means putting yourself at the top of your priorities. This does not mean neglecting any of your responsibilities. Instead, it’s ensuring you carve out time during the day or week for the things that are important to you.
14. Stay curious
I could easily be classed as a bit of a know it all. But that was because my mind was so closed to any other possibilities in life. My new thirst for knowledge, excitement and joy has lead my mind to be open for all the possibilities available. I want to consume new experiences, explore relationships and create meaningful connections. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but I’m ready to use all my 9 lives to enhance every moment I have on this planet.
15. Focus on your future not the past
Re-living past experiences, conversation or judgements was my default mindset. Even though I knew there was nothing I could do to change any of it. Breaking that cycle was huge for me. Learning to see it for what it is, acknowledge the lesson and letting it go, created space for new stories in my life. Now, I only live in two tenses – the present and the future. Too much attention spent on anything in the past is a drain on my energy.
16. Be financially literate
This was a hard lesson to learn. Being nearly £20k in debt and not knowing how to get out of that hole, was one of the scariest moments of my life. But the lesson has been learned. Having been on a debt free journey over the last few years, my understanding of money has grown beyond recognition. Never again will I find myself making financial decisions to mask my emotional state. Never will I borrow more money than I can afford. But most importantly, I will never live in fear of not having ‘enough’ money.
17. Make reading a priority
Adding to my lesson 14 about staying curious – reading has a big part to play. Coming from a place of lack and not knowing where to start, books have been my best companion. It’s quite amazing how everything I want to know, is available to me in the palm of my hands. There is nothing you can’t figure out, that someone has already experienced and written the solution. All you have to do is make reading a priority and save yourself time trying to figure stuff out on your own.
18. Pay attention to your Environment
Environment is everything! It took me a long time to realise how my environment was having an impact on my mindset. I mean everything – from my home, work and relationships. As everything around me has an affect on the way I think and feel, I pay close attention to what I’m surrounding myself with. If it’s not serving me — I get rid of it or I leave. Simple.
19. Use your body
If you don’t use it – you lose it! A timely lesson I finally learned, after being nearly 30lbs over weight! Since shedding the pounds my focus has been to move my body in as many ways as I can, on a regular basis. I always thought being over weight was simply about the weight loss, but now I know it’s the way movement makes me feel physically AND mentally.
20. Nothing stays the same
By embracing the changes and challenges life throws at me, I no longer hold on to what is or may have been. As nothing can ever stay the same, instead of fearing the loss of something, I look forward with excitement to what may become. Yes, I do reminisce about past experiences, but I do so in a celebratory manner – not in a way that wishes for their return. Change no longer scares me – that’s so liberating!
21. Keep things simple
Halleluiah! The number one lesson I’ve learned over my 45 years. Simplicity is the key to everything. On far too many occasions I’ve complicated my life for no other reason other than sheer frustration. Which of course led to more confusion. My daily mantra is ‘keep it simple’. Simple at home, at work and at play.
So there you have it – 21 Lessons I have leaned since turning 45.
Are there any lessons you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below and let’s all learn lessons together.