What I know for sure at age 48, on the cusp of 49 is the following:
1. I know I will never know it all. I always want to remain in the mode of learning and viewing every relationship, encounter and engagement as a learning opportunity. Everyone and I mean everyone has something to teach you if you can put your ego and pride aside. Sometimes easier said than done, but so worth it.
2. That every minute of every day is an opportunity. It can be an opportunity to propel one towards their dreams if time is utilized fruitfully or it can be an opportunity to expand one’s life through real-time experiences such as traveling or attending conferences. I think about this when deciding whether to watch tv or pick up a book and whether to listen to the radio or a podcast where I will either learn something or become inspired to be better, do better and live better. I don’t always make the healthiest choices, but I’m improving.
3. That not everyone will like or click with you. This was probably a harder lesson than it should have been, but I can confidently say I have a grasp of it. My son who was around 3 years old was swinging in the backyard one day several years ago and he said, “Mom, I want to know everyone in the world?” I asked him why and his response was, “Because I want to be everyone’s friend.” At the time, I thought how cute, yet how unattainable that idea was. On the other hand, I thought who doesn’t wish to be liked by everyone? I can say after exhaustive years of trying that it is not as important as one might think and by trying to be all to everyone you forget who you are authentically speaking. To me to be authentic is to be who you are at the core without apology. I still strive for that in my life and as I said before I’m improving.
Trying to juggle 5 balls is harder than it sounds. By owning my own business, I have found that the hardest part is knowing when to turn it off. I will never be 9 to 5 as an entrepreneur, but I do need to learn to prioritize my life better. I visualize having 5 balls in the air and they are –
Now your list might be different, but we all have values which help to define who we are. Notice the order I wrote those in. This is because I value them in that order, but you wouldn’t know it when I’m working 7 days a week until 8 pm every night. So I’ve re-evaluated things and prayer and meditation are a must, as is exercise and time with family and friends. My business will flourish if it has 100 percent of me when I’m present because of spending time with each of these sections of my life.
5. Life doesn’t go on forever. Life really is fragile and I am lucky in that I haven’t had to face death to figure this out. There will come a time when I will not be here and what will be said about me from the people who matter most? That’s how I wish to live my life and that is by thinking of what I would like to be remembered for and as.
6. Gratitude is probably THE most important practice one can have. When we are feeling anxious or down and I’m not speaking of clinical depression because that’s not curable by this, but if we can incorporate a practice of gratitude each day things WILL get better. Not only will they get better, but you will notice just how better they are NOW.
7. Living in the moment is a must. We tend to live in tomorrow and that, in my opinion is where anxiety is routed. We are either facebooking or twittering or texting or checking email or . . . This seems to happen wherever we find ourselves. The best place to be is in the present and whether you are with others or by yourself, it is a wonderful land to visit. It is called the land of present.
8. Forgiveness. This is a word that means many things to many people, but to me it means letting go of any hostility or resentment one feels towards another. When we are hurt by someone we spend a lot of time with anger and what does anger do to our bodies? We tense up and we also invite illness in. Let go and remember that everyone is doing the best they can. Their best may be different from your best, but it is theirs.
9. Falling is part of the process. We never advance in any way if we haven’t fallen. The lessons learned when life doesn’t go as expected are invaluable. I used to be a perfectionist and wouldn’t try things unless I KNEW I was or would be good at them. Where I picked this up from I’m unsure, but it became a habit to be broken. I see my son struggle with this as well. We are working on it.