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This is Your Journey

Lessons For Your Mid-30s

I started writing the below post on my 35th birthday. I didn’t quite finish it but the learnings are still relevant. So as I now turn 36, I wanted to share this with you!

Age is NOT just a number, and 35 for a woman is a scary one. Aside from entering a new age bracket, it’s the age where according to science, everything begins to decline. You start to notice those fine lines and white hair, you realize the reality that if you want kids (naturally), your chances are exponentially diminishing.  You have however, mastered the art of “not giving a F*ck”, because quite frankly, life is too short.

I have been fighting the status quo for as long as I can remember. The couple years leading up to my 35th were difficult, not only are you trying to let go of expectations and milestones you expected yourself to achieve, you’re also fighting off the expectations of your peers. (Hello perfectionists and pleasers, can you relate?!)

Your married friends often lovingly (but rather irritatingly), remind you that “you are no longer a spring chicken”, “you’re being too picky”, and that “you should freeze your eggs!” No big deal… Yet contradictorily they also also love to “live vicariously through you”, tell you “you were too good for any of those men”, to “not settle for less”, and that “you’re still young and have time.”  Please…make up your mind, sound familiar?

Relationships and babies aside, the 30s are just the beginning of our most beautiful selves.  We passed the turbulent 20s that helped establish core values, teach valuable lessons, and shape a large part of our identity.  Yet we are trained that life had a one way trajectory and if we’re not on it, something is wrong.  Let’s “delete” those expectations and pressures we put on ourselves and focus instead just on the journey.

So here are some lessons (in no particular order), that I want to share to help someone move forward in their journey with a positive and confident mindset.

  • Fail Early, Fail Often. We’ve heard this many times before. However, the number of people I have met that wished they did their 20s differently has been astounding. Taking those risks become more challenging as you get older because of the increasing responsibilities that typically develop (family, mortgages… etc). If you’re feeling like “it’s too late”, Stop. Our life expectancy is much longer, so if you’re in your 30s you still have AT LEAST another solid 30 years of doing whatever it is that excites you! Don’t be afraid to take a few risks! (Ask me about my “80 year old test”)
  • When someone attacks you or reacts negatively towards you, it is actually THEIR PAIN. So don’t take things personally. It’s hard not to but most disgruntled reactions are triggers and experiences from their past. How are you supposed to know that? You don’t, so rather than react to it, take a deep breath and find your most empathetic self and remember, it’s not personal. You’ll reduce the chance of having your ego bruised and salvage wasted energy from being mad (that you will also inevitably unleash to an unsuspecting partner/friend.)
  • Your parents are people too. This is a tough one for a lot of people. We have this ideal we place on our parents to know exactly what to do to support and love us.  We “should” all over them. They should have pushed me, they should have not been so strict, they should have made us do this or that, they should be helping me.  Unfortunately, these expectations put a strain on our relationship with our parents.  Parents are people who do the best of their ability even if it is less than ideal. Remembering that they are just people too who have had their own struggles and pain may help “re-humanize” them and perhaps be the start of a new, improved relationship.
  • Create good habits.  Time speeds up as we get older and now with the content always at our fingertips, our default mode has become “busy”. It gets harder and harder to nurture and cultivate all aspects of our career, relationships, fitness and wellbeing.  Without a doubt there are moments where one thing (or a few things) take over, but for the most part, establishing routines is the trick to fitting a lot more in than you think you can to prevent things from becoming big mountains and hurdles. It could be simple things like getting off the bus stop one stop earlier, opting to participate in a group healthy lunch delivery once a week if you can’t prepare your own. Blocking out one extra hour to the start of your weekend plans to give yourself a “slow” start or extra time with someone special. There are many little things that you can start implementing right away that do not take up much time, will help preserve your energy, and establish long term benefits.
  • Don’t take advice from people who are not where you want to be, even if they are your favourite person! This is a hard one. We have those immediate people in our lives who love and support us. They happily stand in as your sounding board, your cheerleader and as your protector. That means they will share their opinions and advice with vigour and have your best intentions at heart. That becomes a problem when those pieces of advice are designed to keep you safe which then holds you back from giving something a try or taking a leap when your gut is asking for you to make those changes. It’s always great to talk things out, but when you’re wanting to make a major change, explore something new, seek advice from a person with experience in that area. Seems obvious but we just don’t do it enough!
  • Know your money story. We know that when it comes to money, we can budget, invest, and seek financial advice. But what is your mindset around money? Without realizing it, our entire upbringing created a story around money and income that lives in our subconscious. Do you believe more income means more work so overlook opportunities that seem “too easy” or “passive”? Do you scoff at others who have a higher income than you and think they’re just showing it off? You wish you could make more income but don’t want to be like them! What if your belief systems and your subconscious are sabotaging your opportunities to earn more or see opportunities? Money in itself is meaningless, it’s what you do with it that gives it meaning.
  • Give your partner a break, (if you’re in a relationship). He/She is not meant to be everything for you. You had a life before you met and that’s what was interesting about you. Stay interesting and be interested. Your activities and relationships outside of the one with your significant other help keep your cup full and fresh so you can continue to learn and grow from each other. 
  • It’s not too late (to learn new things)! I once read a statistic that said after the age of 25, the majority of us will stop learning new things. There are studies of our brains getting “lazy” – we’ve built enough neurological pathways that we get into a bit of a brain rut. Adding in the age old belief that if we ever wanted to become good at something, we had to pick it up in our early years. Perhaps that is true enough if you wanted to be a professional athlete or something along those lines. However even that has been debunked. For the purposes of this I’m referring to hobbies or things you wished you learned when you were younger. Most of us overestimate what we can accomplish in 1 year, but underestimate what we can accomplish in 3 – 5 years. So not only is there a bounty of benefits to picking up something new, but within a few years you could actually become quite good! For you multi-passionate folks out there, this should come as a huge relief! So that painting class you’ve always wanted to take? That language you’ve always wanted to conquer? Time to sign up!
  • Everyone else is also just trying to figure it out. Inthe day and age of social media, it’s especially challenging not to compare our lives to the beautiful curated feed that shows up on instagram, facebook… you name it. There’s a reason why authenticity and vulnerability are winning. The truth is we don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors. How many shocking headlines have we seen of a celebrity who seemingly had it all decide to take their life? Or your friend who seems happy and lives the idyllic life – a great partner, 2 beautiful kids, a beautiful home, and then you hear the shocking news of their separation. We use social cues to figure out where we “should be” but the reality is that everyone’s journey is unique. What may appear as “delayed” in one area may mean a complete leap frog in a few years. You really have no idea, so keep your focus on your own target and don’t compare, we are all just trying to figure things out.

So there you have it, I would love to hear your thoughts! What is your biggest takeaway? What are you going to implement right away? Would you like to hear more about one of these topics?

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