As I sit and think about the next decade to come, I would be remiss to not reflect on the lessons learned over the last ten years. This post is not really any easy one to write. Many lessons are learned the hard way or via struggles and trials in our lives. But I hope that this will resonate with someone and possibly help too.
10. Understand How Fast Time Really Moves
It seems like yesterday that Morgan was 13 and Hope was 6. But now they are all grown up. Time moves so quickly and your children will grow up faster than you ever expected. There is a Trace Atkins song that encompasses this completely called “You’re Gonna Miss This”. I am not sure when you are in the thick of it if you really understand the concept of missing things like picking out clothes for school, packing lunches and having cuddles when your kids are little. But just like that, they don’t need you in the same way and you really do miss it. So cherish those days.
9. There Is No Substitute For A Personal Conversation
It is ironic that I would write that considering a spend a good amount of time online and on social media. But the fact of the matter is this: social media does not make us more connected with others. A little over 10 years ago I joined Facebook for the sole purpose of planning my 10 year high school reunion. It is fun and great to see people that I would not normally see in person, online and stay “connected”. However, the people I feel most connected to are the people that are in my life and that I have conversations with on the regular. I meet my best friend for lunch basically every week, and I would not trade it for anything. So, make sure you are living your life with others and not just behind a screen.
8. Make Yourself A Priority
I am not going to lie, this is a constant struggle for me. There are days I feel pulled in a million different directions. Sometimes I feel like the world is spinning out of control because I have so many different priorities that need my attention. However, I am trying to make myself a priority. When I am so drained that I can’t be the best version of me for others, I am not really helping anyone. So take the bubble bath. Go on the girls trip. Get the pedicure.
7. Being Healthy is A Lifestyle
Several years ago I started working out almost every day and I completely changed my diet. I cut out most sugar and tried to eat a balanced diet. I followed the 21 Day Fix pretty much all the time, with a few cheat days. My philosophy is everything in moderation, and I don’t deprive myself of everything either. It is possible to be extreme on both sides of the coin. Find your balance. Even though I have not followed it as much the last 9 months, (specifically the working out part!), I am determined to do it again. In fact, I have already started working out every day again and can tell a huge difference in my mood and energy level. I wish I had made it a priority in my early 20’s, because the earlier in life you learn to live healthy the easier it is; but I am thankful I am here now. You don’t need a new year or a Monday to start it either. To quote Nike, just do it. 🙂
6. Don’t Make Decisions When You Are Emotional
It seems like silly advice and common sense, but when you are in the middle of a highly emotional time in your life, you sometimes want to change everything. Take my advice, just wait a couple of weeks and see if you still want it. I am not just talking about life decisions such as career changes either. Don’t cut your hair or do anything crazy when you are emotional…you will regret it. I have cut my hair off short on a whim and cried for days afterwards. So before you make a decision that you could possibly regret, sleep on it and pray about it for a few days.
5. Embrace Who You Are and Your Age
To be perfectly honest, I feel more confident and comfortable in my skin at age 38 than I did at 25. The style of clothes that I love, may not be for you. And that is okay! You may hate pink and I love it. Does it really matter? Just be happy with the things you love and don’t worry about everyone else. I also don’t really care about my age. Don’t get me wrong, I am vain and I want to look young and act young. Haha! But as long as I feel good about myself I don’t really care about the number of candles on my cake. And, let’s face it, it is way better than not having any more birthdays.
4. You Don’t Have To Agree With Everyone
It seems like there is so much division about things in this life. Whether it is politics, religion, music, fashion, food or any number of topics, the great thing is that you don’t have to agree with me. I make a conscious effort to make sure that other people know that it is possible to have a discussion and disagree, yet still walk away friends. So bring your thoughts, convictions and open mind over and we can discuss anything. We may agree to disagree, but that is what makes life interesting. It would be boring if we were all the same.
3. Chase Your Dreams and Try New Things
If you have an idea or want to pursue something in life, you should just go for it. Because you will always wonder if you really missed out on something if you don’t take the chance. I wanted to start a lifestyle blog for a couple of years before I finally pulled the trigger on it. And looking back, I wish I had started it earlier. As a side note, not everyone will understand your reasons for wanting to do things. Further, the people you think will be your biggest cheerleaders, probably won’t be. Keep on doing it anyway if you find joy in it. And even if it is something simple, like tasting something new or trying a new hobby; you should go for it. You won’t know fi you don’t try. If you don’t like it, you can always stop it. So try new things and see if you are missing out on something!
2. Some People Won’t Like You
I am a pretty non-confrontational person. Drama and conflict make me cringe. I try to be kind to everyone and treat others with respect. That being said, sometimes it doesn’t matter how kind you are or how nice you are to people, they won’t like you. And truthfully, it says way more about them than it does you. Whenever I know or find out that someone dislikes me or is saying negative or hurtful things about me, I just have to take a step back and evaluate my own actions. If I can honestly say that I haven’t done anything wrong, I just have to let it go and move on with my life. Trust me, it is easier said than done. And even if you don’t want it to, it can hurt your feelings. But what other people think and say about you is not important as long as you are happy with yourself. So try to brush it off and keep moving forward.
1. Life Is Incredibly Short and Unpredictable
The biggest lesson I have learned this decade is that life is short and completely unpredictable. If you would have told me, even 3 years ago, that today my Mama would be in heaven, I wouldn’t have believed it. She was healthy and young. Most days, even after 9 months, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. But the fact is that we are not promised tomorrow. And even though we all make plans, goals and dreams for the new year and tomorrow, it isn’t a guarantee. There is a Brad Paisley song called “Letter to Me“, and in it he is telling his younger self all the things he should know about the future. If I could have written a letter to my younger self, I would have told my Mama how much I appreciated and loved her every single day. I am sure that she knew. And we were very close. But I still wish I had done even more. So hug the ones you love, make sure you tell them every day that you love them, and make amends and forgive those that have done you wrong. You never know what the future holds.