I turn 40 in about 40 days’ time. And hitting this ‘milestone’ got me thinking about what a roller coaster ride the past decade has been, and how much I’ve changed over the years. Well, they do say that the older you are, the wiser you get, so I guess I do have that much more wisdom. So what wisdom would I have to share with the 30-year-old me then?
You’re excited, aren’t you? Expecting your first child, having a new home of your own. Well, things won’t exactly be the most smooth-sailing for the next 10 years, but I assure you, you will emerge stronger, more resilient and more human. I won’t be giving you any spoilers, but here’re a couple of tips for you to ride the waves better:
You’re beautiful just the way you are. Love yourself so you can give others more love. There’s no end to comparing – between your kids (yes, you’ll have more than one!), with other kids (don’t even bother), with other moms (there are more parenting styles than types of cheese!), with other women (don’t go there!). Just don’t compare! And don’t ever feel obliged to be someone you’re not.
Focus on yourself. You will discover aspects of yourself that you didn’t even know about. It may get scary as you probe deeper to search within. You will get lost, but you’ll soon find your way. And it’s actually fun getting lost sometimes, because you can start discovering and creating what you want. Enjoy that process. And when it gets tough, allow yourself to be vulnerable and supported by others.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Drop the small stuff, save the worrying for the big stuff. But you know what, don’t bother about the big stuff either. Just don’t sweat. Things will sort themselves out. Knowing how you are an impatient perfectionist (lethal combination!), I’m suggesting you learn to let go. There’ll be a year when you’ll hear the words “let it go” in a song so over-sung by the kids, that your patience will really be tested. Let it go 😉
As long as you take care of the big things like integrity, love and authenticity, the rest will sort themselves out, trust me.
Less is More
There will be higher stress levels and strained relationships as the family expands. Parenting is not always a bed of roses. When the going gets tough, don’t go shopping. You may not believe me that a time will come in the future, when you’ll get a bigger kick from giving things away, than buying them. So save yourself the trouble earlier, just stop buying. Which leads me to the next point – relationships are all that matter.
One of the unpleasant things about ageing is that death gets closer and becomes very real. Not knowing if the same people will be in the family photo or friends’ gathering year after year just tells us we must treasure the relationships while we still have them. Rather than aimless shopping and mall-hopping, take the time to nurture the wonderful new friendships you forge over the years. Yes, you will make new friends and you will let go of some old ones. Love these friends, they will support you well along your path.
I know you don’t believe much in preparation. You like spontaneity and you also don’t like to worry about problems that may come in future. But my advice is, please prepare. Set money aside every month for investments. Look for ways to make passive income. Take care of your health, treat your body well. Plan ahead so you waste less time figuring out what you want to do. You will realise that time is your most precious asset, so don’t allow it to slip through your fingers easily.
Go with the Flow
While I do suggest planning ahead, when things don’t go as planned (as they always won’t), breathe, relax and go with the flow. Don’t fight it. You may kick and struggle, but that’ll only hurt yourself. If you go with the flow, the answers will present themselves to you when the time is right. Just be patient. Remember in The Sound of Music – When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.
Trust the Universe
Yes, trust the Universe. Many times, you will challenge the path that the universe is showing you. You may be bursting with questions and doubts but just proceed with faith and everything will turn out better than you had planned. And sometimes if you are really out of resources and feel lost, just surrender yourself to the good hands of the Universe. Amazing things will happen.
I guess nothing I say will be able to prep you for the decade to come. But I will leave you with one question: How would you live if you knew things will be ok, and that you will be blessed and supported to create the life you want?
Now go enjoy the ride and let your light shine.
Your 40-Year-Old Self