I was initially thinking: should I really write my 28 lessons in 28 years? It’s not a “milestone” birthday. But in my opinion, every birthday is a milestone. So why not collect all the things that I have learnt over the years.
So here are 28 things I have learnt in 28 years:
1. Celebrate the little wins – we are so obsessed on achieving that “big goal” that by the time we get there it never feels the way it should. Almost anticlimactic. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate the little wins along the way. So you love the process not just the destination.
2. Never take advice from someone who’s sitting on the sidelines – you want to try something bold, maybe something new, but the people around you are’t supporting you. Maybe that’s because their comfortable and change is uncomfortable and unknown for them. Don’t listen to them. Look around at the people who are DOING what you want to be doing. If they can you can. It shows you it is possible.
3. Your skin is a mirror to what’s happening inside your body – it doesn’t matter how many expensive products you buy or which topical cream you use, if you’re not sorting out what’s happening inside your body, your skin issues will continue to stick around.
4. Growth comes from getting comfortable being uncomfortable – When you start something new, you’re generally not good at it right off the bat. Or if you go through a difficult breakup, it usually doesn’t feel great at the beginning. Or if you’re travelling by yourself overseas for the first time and it’s a little bit scary. All these things are not comfortable, but you become a better, stronger, leveled up version of yourself because you went through the discomfort. You want change? Get out of your comfort zone.
5. Learning your partners love language and attachment style is a game-changer – It not only helps you understand yourself – why you behave a certain way or how you want to receive love – but it also helps you understand your partners behaviours and the way they show love (especially helpful if they are showing you love in a way that you don’t value as much).
6. Going on the pill at 14 f*ked my hormones – it is a bandaid solution to hormonal issues – literally lost my period for over 2 years and my acne came back worse when I stopped taking the pill.. It is not a solution for acne, it is a band-aid.
7. Travel fuels the soul – I find that I am my happiest, best version of myself when I am exploring new places around the world. I cannot love life more when I’m travelling.
8. Your partner will come into your life at the right moment – For those that haven’t heard the story, my partner and I met on a blind date (set up by my best friends husband). I had moved back from living in Tasmania and traveling Australia as a physio and it was time to be back in my home city. One month later I met Andrew. If I had met him any time sooner, I wouldn’t have been emotionally ready to settle and he was not in the right place to meet someone like me. It was perfect timing.
9. Walking can be as good as therapy – I have never realised this more than when I walked the Camino de Santiago – walking calms your mind to get to a state where you are listening to your deepest thoughts (not just today’s to-do list). It also biologically helps reduce cortisol and stimulate your happy hormones.
10. Listen to your gut – you can call it intuition/a higher power/your inner voice. There is this voice inside you that’s guiding you. It already knows. Say it is the clearest day and this voice is like take an umbrella, then you don’t cause you’re like wtf it won’t rain…. And it does. THAT was your intuition. It’s when you’re doing something and your soul feels alive… that is your intuition feeling into what you’re doing.
11. Extroverted-introverts exist – I remember doing those Myers-Briggs test and scoring either extroverted or introverted. But extroverted-introverted is a scale and it’s situational. And the way I see it is how you recharge: an extrovert gains energy from being around people, an introvert gets drained. So I am a mix: I am an extroverted-introvert, meaning that I can be extreamly extroverted in personality in social settings (if you know me in person, you know what I mean), however it completely drains me and I have to come home and recharge my batteries. Knowing this gives you tools to help you navigate around social settings or any event really so you can show up as the truest version of you.
12. Pleasure is just as important for you, as it is for your partner – Full disclosure, as a recovering people pleaser I am still working on this, but what you want matters. Sex is not solely to please and serve your sexual partner. You are allowed to speak up and voice what you like (and if you don’t know, time to find out yourself). Because you f*cking deserve to be selfish in the bedroom too. Communication is always key in these instances.
13. Boundaries are important. Set them. – Personal boundaries allow you to realise what is okay and what’s not in relationships, friends, workplaces. It dictates how you would like to be treated and what you will accept. Let me give an example: I dated a stringgg of emotionally unavailable men (I didn’t realise this until reflection later) and going into my current relationship, it didn’t matter how incredible this guy was, if he was emotionally unavailable it would be a no from me.
14. Taking time to relax is productive – I used to think that doing more and more is better. Pushing the hamster-wheel until I inevitably collapse. I used to feel guilty when I would sit there and watch a movie or read a book. “I should be doing X,Y,Z” But here’s the truth: when you don’t take time out for yourself, your energy tank will be so empty that you cannot produce the best work, be the best mum or partner. You need time to recharge.
15. Know your worth and don’t let anyone trample on it – when I first started dating, I would let men trample all over me because I just thought I was “lucky” to be with them. I was a doormat. I put up with more shit than I should have because I was afraid to speak up – because “what if they wouldn’t like me afterwards“. This goes for workplaces, friendships, family and any relationship etc. When you know and truly value your worth you don’t let people walk all over you. You wouldn’t let someone treat your best friend like that so why should it be okay for you?
16. Periods and sex is not taboo – some of the best conversations I’ve had is around these topics (legit bring it up and I’m ALL IN). I grew up not speaking about this stuff, to push it aside, but how do you know what’s happening is “normal” if no one is talking about it. I found that when I opened up and was vulnerable with other women in my life, it was almost like an “aha” into the lives of myself and other women. So no more shoving tampons up your sleeve, or being embarrassed when your pad falls out of your handbag. Periods are normal. Sex is natural. It time to start normalising it.
17. Your menstrual cycle has 4 phases – it’s not just your period – game changing. When I got into the nitty-gritty of my cycle, understanding my 4 seasons and how my hormones change, I learnt to work with my cycle not against it (also massively helped with my skin).
18. Gratitude is everything – you cannot be in a state of gratitude and fear at the same time. It’s neurologically impossible. Gratitude shifts your perspective on things. I also believe that when you focus on the good, you will attract more good into your life. And I promise you can always find three things you’re grateful for at the end of every day (even a bad one).
19. Life is a balance of saving for your future and enjoying life now– I cannot tell you how many stories I have heard from people who have worked their asses off, saved their whole lives and once they retire THEN they’ll start living their lives. But then they get sick or they get a progressive disease and they can’t travel or do all the things they planned for. So yes, you have to plan for your future, but your life is happening NOW. You don’t know if there is a tomorrow, so don’t wait to travel or start spending more time with your family. Find ways to add it in now.
20. Girl language is a thing, but your partners can’t read your mind – hear me out. We are known for saying one thing when we mean the opposite, or giving your partner the silent treatment when we really have alot to say: Are you okay babe? “I’m fine”. But really you are hella not fine. Or it’s telling them on your first day period vibes (where your uterus feels like it’s going to explode from its cavity): “you can come over if you want …” but really its: you better get the f*ck over here now and comfort me”. We want them to WANT to do things, but when you say the opposite or we’re blazae about it, they can’t read between the lines. They’re not going to do it. So just speak it.
21. If something is niggling inside you and it won’t go away, that is your soul speaking – I truly believe that sometimes those thoughts are little hints guiding you to something you’re meant to be doing in life.
22. People pleasing is not a badge of honour – as a recovering people pleaser I have always done things for others ahead of my own needs. I would struggle making decisions because I wanted people to be happy (“no you can decide, I’m easy…”). Or I would never want to burden people with my problems. But pleasing everyone else means you are not fulfilling the most important person in your life: yourself.
23. It’s sexy to know your finances – I used to have my head in the sand when it came to finances. “if I don’t look at it, I won’t see what’s coming out”. DO look at it! The best thing I did was get my head around money, start setting up different accounts, learning about investing. Changing your money mindset is a mental game, but so worth it. Good places to start: she’s on the money or barefoot investor.
24. You don’t have to follow the societal life trajectory– you know what I mean, it’s the finish school, go to uni, get a job, get married, buy a home, have children and you’ll live happily ever after. By my 15 year old prospects I would have been married with 2 kids by now… And here I am sitting here at 28, no home, not married, definitely no children and I f*ckin love my life. Why? Because I didn’t follow the normal trajectory, it doesn’t fit me. And there shouldn’t be this pressure from parents, grandparents, friends that this is the way your life has to go. There will always be time. You are not behind.
And on that note (this is a 0.5 of number 24 it’s not 29 things 😉) buying a house does not give you the “I’ve made it” status. In this financial day and age, buying a house is becoming more unrealistic for people (especially if you’re a single income earner on the average Australian wage). BUT it is still ingrained in us as children that the ultimate goal in life is to buy that white picket fenced home. I mean our parents bought their first home for half if not 1/3 of the prices we are seeing today. If this path doesn’t suit you right now (or may never), that is absolutely okay. You can still live a successful life without buying a home.
25. Comparison is the thief of joy – it’s a famous saying but it’s true. And because of the rise of social media we are comparing our lives more than ever. Have you ever felt that a scroll through social media leaves you feeling worse about yourself than before you picked up your phone? Because you’ve just compared other people’s highlight reels or filtered images to your everyday self at home on the couch.
26. And on a similar note: Create before you consume – start creating positive things in your life before you turn on your phone in the morning and consume what everyone else is doing. Whether that’s going for a morning walk, journalling, reading a book, meditating, writing a paragraph of your book. Do things that are going to enhance your life first thing in the morning, before you start comparing yours to everyone elses.
27. Memories and experiences are more valuable than money. In the words of Macklemore: things are just things, they can’t make you who you are. You can’t pack up a U-Haul truck and take it with you when you’re gone. But what you can take is your memories, the amazing things you’ve done. I’d rather have 1000 stories to tell rather than the fancy cars, designer handbags and the best clothes.
28. Everything happens for a reason – you might not know it at the time, and it definitely might feel like sh*t in the moment, but hindsight’s a valuable thing. Its only in reflection that you begin to realise why things went a certain way. And it generally works out better than you initially had planned.
That’s them all (well there’s a lot more but I had to put an end somewhere). Sending love you to you all. And happiest of birthdays to my fellow Capricorns. Introduce yourself below if you haven’t yet (or send me a message)