50 is here, baby! And I’ve learned a few things in my 50 years on this beautiful planet. Today, I’m sharing 10 of those hard earned lessons in hopes that they can help you too. Psst: This is a great episode to share with your younger friends. (I’m like the ghost of Christmas future over here).
It’s my 50th birthday. The big 5–0. Half a century. Fifty shades of somethin’. As a woman who’s had her fair share of life experiences, I feel like I’ve got some things to say, so sit your young self back and take a listen. The stuff you’ve been through — the challenges, the set backs, the unanswered prayers — they have all brought you to where you are today. And it’s those experiences that provide us the greatest lessons and wisdom. So as a new silver-haired, card-carrying member of AARP, I’ve learned a few things in my 50 years on this beautiful planet and today, I’m sharing 10 of those hard earned lessons in hopes that they can help you too. Psst: Feel free to share with your younger friends, too. (I’m like the ghost of Christmas future over here.)
1. You are not for everyone.
This is something I tell my creative coaching clients all the time. I actually tell my kids this all the time. It is okay if someone just does not prefer you. Just keep being yourself, showing up and doing you. Say it with me: I. AM. NOT. FOR. EVERYONE. The sooner and more often you remember this, you’ll be given a sense of freedom no longer worrying or even wondering what everyone else thinks.
2. You’re leaving a lot of progress on the table.
I love my trainer, Joan. She’s awesome. I see her three times a week. And when I’m there, we do all the sets and reps and what not that you’d expect from a training session. But one day, I noticed as she counted down three, two, one…I’d actually put the weights down on three. And then I started doing math.
3 seconds x 12 exercises per section times four (or five or six) sections, that equals 144 seconds at the very least. 144 seconds of a missed strength-building opportunity.
Multiply that by three days, we’re talking 432 seconds per week, almost 1900 seconds per month, that’s almost 7500 seconds per year — over two hours!
It may not feel like a lot but when we give up too early, we’re missing out on some serious progress.
3. You have everything it takes within you right now to do the thing you want.
Unless you’re going for a big degree that’s necessary, you probably don’t have to learn more. You don’t have to be more. You don’t have to wait until you’ve lost the weight or you’ve moved houses or whatever it is… you have everything it takes right now. So what are some really small steps you can take to get started? Stop putting things off until everything is aligned, because you know by this stage of your life, it’s probably not going to happen that way. I meet women all the time through my work in the Forty Thrive community or even IRL (not online)…we’re just constantly waiting until we are “enough” or at some magical place before we even get started. I just think it’s time to let go of that whole idea and just know that whatever it is we want, let’s just start small — but start. Let’s do the damn thing.
4. It’s okay to change your mind — and more than once.
I’ve talked about this on the Forty Thrive podcast for so long. Sometimes we have an idea; I want to be a teacher, or I want to work in television… I want to be a nurse or [insert idea here]. And then down the road, you’re not really feeling it anymore. But many of us don’t even consider that it’s okay to divert from the original plan. If you decided when you were 30 that you wanted to live in a certain area and no longer want to live there, cool! It’s okay! People evolve and change and our minds do too. I know I am not the same as I was when I turned 40 — so much life has happened and I’ve had so many experiences. If I expect to want everything in my life at 50 that I wanted at 40, that will just lead to frustration and disappointment. Would you ever expect a 20 year old to want exactly what they wanted at 10 years old? That would be ridiculous. So don’t do that to yourself. It’s okay to change what you want and pivot into a new course. And if someone questions your decision, just let ’em know I said it’s okay and to take it up with me.
5. You can make time for health or you can make time for illness.
Read it again: You can make time for health or you can make time for illness. I know so many people, myself included, who have allllll the excuses we can’t make time for health. No money… no time… other people come first. Listen, if you have money for three bottles of wine per week and time for Netflix or Candy Crush, you have money… and time. And there are more free workouts online than ever before. Your excuses suck. It’s time to put yourself first on the list. Fuel that mind, body and soul so you’re the strongest, happiest human possible.
6. Move your body.
This isn’t about body building contests or the Peloton leaderboard, unless you’re into that kind of thing. (There are huge benefits to strength training as we get older) Getting up and moving your body every day; walking the dogs, dancing in the kitchen. jumping on a trampoline, taking a sunset hike, walking the beach; whatever makes you feel good — do that. Moving our bodies helps physically and mentally. We always talk about living longer, but it’s very rare that we talk about living longer, better. Wouldn’t you rather be that sassy mall walkin’ granny than the one hunched over in the rocking chair? Same, girl. Same.
7. Take care of your skin.
I really wish someone had drilled this into my head and shown me a crystal ball revealing what my skin would look and feel like. My chest is like wrinkled tissue paper and at least once a year, I have something surgically removed from way too much sun exposure. Sunscreen, hats, glasses… they make moisturizers and lotions with sunscreen in them — there are no excuses. There is absolutely no reason that we can’t protect our skin. It’s not too late, even for us, the baby oil and tanning mats generation.
8. Life is too short to sit in “what if?”
Stop taking a passive role in your own life. There is something out there you’ve been wanting to do, it may be deep down (because we’ve been pushing stuff down order to take care of everybody else, haven’t we?) but there’s power in “what if?” It’s an opportunity to ask yourself what you truly want. Don’t just sit in it, use it for action. Use it for inspiration. Use it to move forward. You deserve what’s next. What if you dreamed a little and then put those dreams into action? What if, indeed.
9. Love yourself as is, exactly as who you are right now, where you are right now.
We have been programmed as women to only love ourselves if we are making a certain paycheck or we hit a certain number on the scale, or we’re in the perfect romantic relationship, the mother of 2.2 kids and an Instagramable dog. No, no, no, no, no. You right now are the most lovable, incredible human ever exactly where you are and who you are. We are no longer going to listen to that BS programming that we have to achieve or accomplish something for us to be of value. I can’t say this enough. You are incredible and amazing and beautiful and lovable and valuable. Right now. As yourself. Exactly where you are.
10. It is not too late.
If you are reading this right now, you are breathing. Yay, you! You are living. You are here for a purpose. If you are approaching 40, 50, or even 80, it doesn’t matter. If you have a dream or a goal (or a thought or a wish or something you want to try), it is not too late. It’s not too late to build that business. It’s not too late to run that race. It’s not too late to volunteer with that organization or travel the world. When we look at these things in front of us, they seem so daunting and overwhelming. “Oh, I can’t do that. It’s too late for me.” There are likely people much older than you (possibly even with less talent, skill and opportunity than you have) doing incredible things. When you use the excuse that it is too late, that you’re too old, all you’re doing is letting yourself off the hook and setting yourself up for regret.
Listen, you will never be as young as you are today and you will never be as capable as you are today. It’s a fact. Everything you’ve ever wanted is right there in front of you. Are you ready to go for it?
Pulled from Episode 101 of the Forty Thrive podcast.
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