For the past few years I’ve made a list of one life lesson for every year that I’ve been on this earth. However, not only was finding 33 new life lessons daunting, but it also seemed like a missed opportunity to reflect on the last decade of my life and all of the lessons that I have taken away.
The last ten years encompassed pretty much my entire adult life. It’s the first time I was no longer in school, and included major life events such as: buying a house, getting a dog, getting married, getting unmarried, selling said house, moving cities, working various jobs, starting a business, travelling, dating as an adult, building new relationships, getting a kitten, and most importantly peeling back the layers of who I really am, and who I want to be.
Along the way however, there were countless lessons learned and I’m going to try to summarize the best ones here. Many of these lessons I’ve written about in the past, but this is a list of the decade’s BEST.
In no particular order of importance, lesss goooo 2020.
A DECADE OF LIFE LESSONS
Sleep on it.
As a completely irrational human being who wears her emotions on her sleeve, taking a step back and thinking before I act, speak, or respond is probably the most important lesson I have learned in life thus far. When possible, sleep on things before you make a decision that could impact the trajectory of your entire life.
All relationships matter.
Life is about relationships, and in each relationship their is something to learn and something to teach. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Whatever the reason, it’s important and will contribute to the fabric of who you are.
Communication is everything.
If you take nothing else away from this post…communicate with those in your life. Check-in regularly. Put your phone away. Make time to connect with those you love. Compromise and do things you don’t want to do. Talk about how you are feeling. Be vulnerable.
Comparison steals joy.
Don’t fucking compare yourself to others, just don’t do it.
Perfection isn’t real.
Perfectionism is a disguise for soul crushing insecurity. Let it go.
Focus on effort over outcome.
I spent a lot of time in my younger years focussed on results. Getting good grades, winning awards, being the best, chasing achievements, blah blah blah. But as you get older, and your community gets larger, you quickly realize that you’re not in fact the best. But not being the best is actually pretty awesome, it’s where growth happens, and focussing on effort and the things you CAN control is way more valuable than focussing on outcomes which is often outside of your control.
It’s OK not to know.
I think it’s easy to get caught up in the belief that we all have one true calling in life, something that we are meant to do. Some people know exactly what they want to do with their life, and others…most of us, are still searching. I have learned that it’s totally ok not to know and to change your mind.
Don’t grocery shop hungry.
Time and time again I make this mistake, but grocery shopping while hungry is a disaster waiting to happen.
With ages comes a greater sense of self. There is a lot of pressure to keep up with the Joneses and we develop a fear of missing out (FOMO). It causes unhappiness and limits our success.
Learn to accept that you are not required to know everything, have everything, do everything, or be everywhere. Let go of FOMO and embrace the Joy of Missing Out (JOMO) because this, THIS, is where true freedom lies.
Live below your means.
How much money do you really need to be happy? A lot less than you think! Stop buying shit you don’t need, stop putting shit on your credit card, stop racking up debt and realize that life is about a lot more than stuff and things.
Don’t go to bed with the spins.
A life lesson I have had to learn the hard way—if you’re drunk and have the spins, DO NOT GO TO SLEEP. If you go to sleep feeling like you are on a boat, the next day will inevitably be savage. Drink some water, smash some pizza, take some Ibuprofen and wait that shit out.
Find the sweet spot.
There is a place right on the edge of your ability where you learn the best and the fastest, it’s called the sweet spot. This spot is slightly beyond our comfort zone where frustration and difficulty exist and errors occur. Here you will find success 50-80% of the time. When you move beyond the sweet spot, into the survival zone, errors are frequent and the ability to progress is stalled. Strive to constantly find the sweet spot!
As psychologist Gilbert Brim put it, “One of the important sources of human happiness is working on tasks at a suitable level of difficulty, neither too hard nor too easy.”
There is never a RIGHT time.
Nothing will ever be perfect. Things will never go as planned. Life happens and everything could end tomorrow. Stop waiting for the right time because that time may never come.
Trust your gut.
Follow your gut and your intuition with everything you do, it will lead you in the right direction every time. Unless you are making an investment…then trust that data and run the numbers.
Believe that everyone is doing their best.
While you may strongly believe that someone could DO BETTER, try to approach situations with the belief that everyone is doing their best with the tools in their toolbox. If they suck, maybe they haven’t hit Home Depot and their toolbox is a little lack luster? Hurt people hurt people, try to have empathy and remember everyone has a story.
Be careful what you write in an email.
Every time you write an email, imagine that it’s public and everyone imaginable will see it. The same goes for text messages. The written word has a way of biting us in the ass, if you write it down, be prepared to own it.
Learn to develop good habits. The best way to achieve success in life is by repeating the same small actions day in and day out.This form of routine will inexorably move you toward your greater goals in life.
Consistency is EVERYTHING.
Following the creation of good habits is consistency. I can’t tell you how often I talk to clients about consistency, but it truly is everything. Consistency is far more important than perfection—move past the all or nothing mindset and focus on long term consistency.
It’s OK to not be OK.
No matter how much we want to be strong, there will be times when the challenges in our lives are too much. Be compassionate with yourself. It is okay to be sad, to cry, to mourne, and to ask for help when you need it. Even if your problems seem insignificant, they are still your problems…own them, take a moment, and then keep fighting.
Don’t fuck up twice.
I learned this lesson from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits (10/10 would recommend). Even if you fuck up A LOT, as long as you don’t fuck up twice, you will still be crushing it 50% of the time. That’s not a bad percentage! Make every second choice a good one and you will be golden.
Remember all those times you fought to stay up late as a child, or skipped nap time? Wow, if only I could turn back time and take advantage now! Sleep is extremely important, if you live by the saying “i’ll sleep when I die”…well, you’ll probably die early, get yo sleep bro.
Coffee counts towards your hydration.
If you didn’t know this, now you know. You’re welcome.
Always pee before getting in a car.
Did you know that one of the main reasons people die in car accidents is from their bladder exploding? Okay, I’m making this up, I think it’s a wives tale and I’m too lazy to do the research. Either way, imagine dying from an exploding bladder because you were too lazy to pee before getting in the car.
Write it down.
I am old, even when I tell myself I won’t forget, I WILL 100% forget. That password I created that I was certain I wouldn’t forget, well I forgot. That super safe spot for my iPhone adaptor thingy, well…it was so safe that I can’t remember where I put it! That credit card in the ol’ gum pack….well you should have written it down because now your CC is cancelled.
More is not better.
I’m a more is better kinda gal, but time and time again this has proven to be untrue. There is this thing called the law of diminishing returns which apparently is real. I’m going to keep pushing it though because I don’t think I can turn it off to be honest.
Abs are dumb.
It’s impossible to have abs year round. For some of us it’s impossible to ever have them. Can we all just agree on this? Lets cut it out with the crop tops mmmkkkk.
Gratitude is ONE key to happiness.
The common theme behind every religion is gratitude. It’s powerful and it works. Always be grateful for what you have; no matter how bad things seem, there’s always someone who has it worse. Even during the darkest times…you have everything to be grateful for, truly take time to recognize what you DO have.
Happiness is a choice and everything else is a matter of perspective.
GIVE LESS FUCKS.
This comes with age, and with each year I’m on this earth I give a few less fucks about unfuckworthy things. Even all these years later, this blog post is still one of my faves and still holds true today.
There you have it…the biggest take a ways and greatest life lessons I have learned in the last decade.
Here’s to a new decade, new lessons, new opportunities and a lot of fun! <3