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44 Things I Know At 44 Years

After I shared my ‘life review’, I printed it out and started scribbling in the margins almost immediately. I kept remembering things – big and small – about my life, which you’d probably find boring to read, but felt important to capture. I added some deeply personal things too, experiences which have shaped my life to date, but feel too private to share on the Internet.

Then there were the things I’ve learned about life, the things I know for sure at 44 years, even though I still have so much to learn. Take what resonates with you, and leave the rest. We don’t need to agree on everything, in order to be friends.

  1. There will never be a better time to live life the way you truly desire. Live the life you long for, not the life others expect you to live. Also, “The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have” – Anna Quindlen.
  2. You are the one you’ve been waiting for.
  3. You have more power to change your life than you’re willing to believe, and far less control than you think.
  4. Acceptance, surrender and prayer are my greatest teachers. It doesn’t matter if you believe in The Divine, God, The Universe, or that quiet voice which lives within each of us – whatever rings true for you – we all need guidance. Every morning I ask, “What would you have me do? Where would you have me go? What would you have me say, and to whom?” – Daily Prayer, A Course In Miracles. 
  5. Life is fragile – treat it like the precious gift it truly is.
  6. Nothing is wasted; every life experience teaches us something.
  7. A true gratitude practice means being grateful for everything – the good and the bad.
  8. Hold tight to all the different, precious pieces of who you are.
  9. You are allowed to change (even when other people don’t want you to, or dislike it when you do).
  10. Very few people show up as themselves in the world anymore. We’ve become so entangled in presenting a perfect version of who think we ‘should’ be, in order to be accepted, that we’ve forgotten the messy and complicated beauty of who we actually are. “Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyways” – Glennon Doyle.
  11. And you don’t need to soften all your sharp edges either. Really.
  12. There is so much goodness in you. 
  13. Just because something is true for you, doesn’t make it true for me. The same applies in reverse, too.
  14. Every single day we get to make an important choice: love or fear?
  15. You can never say, “I love you” too many times.
  16. A thoughtfully worded card is always better than a hastily purchased gift.
  17. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends – choose them wisely.
  18. More often than not, you really are the only person who knows what’s right for you. I’ve been told repeatedly that I’d regret not having children, but the older I get the more grateful I am that I trusted what I knew to be true for me; I love, but do not want children.
  19. Never apologise for your life decisions, just to make another person feel comfortable about theirs.
  20. Faking connection with someone not only robs you of the opportunity to deeply connect with another human; it robs the person you’re faking it with as well.
  21. Life is not always black and white; there are many shades of grey. Thank you, Brené Brown for writing ‘Braving The Wilderness’ and helping me navigate those shady places.
  22. Life is twenty-seven million times better when you quit dieting for good and give the finger to an industry that’s become profitable telling women we can’t trust ourselves. You can trust yourself, I promise. It’s not easy to begin with, but the work to learn how is so worth it. It spills over into every area of your life and allows you to take back your power.
  23. Self-care isn’t all bubble baths and manicures, sometimes it’s hard conversations and taking responsibility for your finances and staying present even when you want to numb out. Also, self-care starts with believing you’re worthy of care at all.
  24. Your body and life has seasons too; some are for rest and replenishment, others are to get up and go, go, go!
  25. The things you choose to own and surround yourself with, as well as the ones you wear, carry energy. Select them carefully.
  26. If you can’t keep up with your life, if you’re constantly anxious, busy, stressed, overwhelmed – simplify it. Create space. Set boundaries. Say no (which is a complete sentence, by the way). Honestly, how busy you are is not a measurement of your self-worth.
  27. How rich your life is has very little to do with your bank balance.
  28. There is a stunning world beyond your screens. Spend more time living and being present, and less time scrolling and trying to create a perfect world within a tiny square. Life’s what you make of it, not what you make it out to be on social media.
  29. A good education is important, but it’s not enough. It doesn’t mean you’re smart or informed. Listen, read and watch – be willing to consider opinions that differ from your own.
  30. Asking for help can be hard, but it can also change your life. (It also gets easier with practice).
  31. Something magical happens when women support women. Find women you admire for the way they live their lives and for the way they treat others, for their work and their values. Follow them, buy their products and services, share their work and their words. Do it because you love them for who they are and/or what they stand for and because they demonstrate what’s possible for you, too – not because you expect something in return.
  32. Create your own measure of success and don’t worry if it doesn’t look the way you’ve been told it ‘should’ look.
  33. Success isn’t always holding on – sometimes it’s being brave enough to let go.
  34. It’s not what you do; it’s how consistently you do it.
  35. A society is built upon words. Words matter. Words have power. Use yours well, especially the ones you speak to yourself.
  36. Shine your light and share your gifts, your passion and your stories. Live your life so well you inspire others to live their lives well too. And remember, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has it you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can” – Neil Giaman.
  37. You can protect your heart, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt.
  38. “Not all who wander are lost” – Tolkien. Have adventures, travel, get outside, turn your face towards the sun, go to the ocean, connect your bare feet with Mother Earth as often as you can.
  39. Spend time with positive people and watch your perception of what’s possible expand in ways you could never have imagined.
  40. There’s always good news, if you’re willing to look for it.
  41. After animals, people and our beautiful planet, the thing I love the most is writing. Writing can change your life in the most incredible ways.
  42. Music embeds memories, can make you feel like you’re flying, adds a soundtrack to your life and can turn any kitchen into a fun-filled dance floor. “You don’t stop dancing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop dancing” – Author Unknown.
  43. Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. Some people’s pain has been unheard and unseen for so long, their hearts  struggle to accept kindness when it’s offered.
  44. Make beauty and joy a priority, focus on the little things and the moments that matter and your life will change dramatically. There’s always a sunrise and a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it’, said my mother. ‘Put yourself in the way of beauty” – Cheryl Strayed.

Previously: Turning 44 – Life In Review…

Next: On Dreams and the Choices We Make…

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2 Comments

  • Wonderful thoughts! Thank you for continuing to share your beautiful journey.

  • Dear Ellie,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and for leaving me such a lovely comment. It warms my heart to ‘see’ you here!

    Wishing you a wonderful 2018!

    Esther xx

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