My 40s are a lot different than I thought they’d be when I was still in my 20s. On the one hand, I have a much deeper understanding of why my dad liked naps so much when I was a kid.
I’ve learned not to ever fall asleep in an awkward position if I want to be able to walk the next day. I can’t just eat whatever I want anymore if I don’t want to suffer the horrible consequences either.
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However, I’m also a lot more aware and secure in myself than I thought I’d be at this age. I’m calmer. I don’t sweat the small stuff nearly as much. And I’ve learned a thing or three about life that I wish I’d understood a lot earlier on.
Here are some of the more important ones. Do yourself a favour and get this stuff straight now so you don’t have to do what I did and learn the hard way.
1. There’s no such thing as too late or too old.
When I was younger, I was super concerned about whether or not I was keeping up with other people my age when it came to the big milestones in life. I was never what you’d call an overachiever, so I didn’t care whether I was the first of my friends to get married or land my dream job. I just knew I wasn’t cool with being the last.
That meant I jumped headfirst into things that deserved a lot more thought and consideration. I rushed into marriage in my mid-20s and wound up divorced by 29. I pushed myself to take on huge responsibilities I wasn’t ready for way too soon in life and I wound up with bad credit it took me my entire 30s to fix. Now I couldn’t even tell you why I did those things or what the big rush even was.
There’s no set age by which you have to find your ultimate bliss in life, own a home, choose a life partner, or anything else major. For some people — myself included — that ideal time is a little later in life. For others, it’s never, because they get older, gain some perspective, and realise they don’t even want those things. So don’t waste your 20s rushing to become your parents. You’ll look back one day and regret not simply being young when you had the chance to be.
2. Who you were as a child is more important than you think.
One of the dumbest things I’ve ever been led to believe was that children don’t know themselves — that I didn’t know myself. It eventually turned out that I knew myself better as a child than I have at any other point in my life. It’s just that it’s so easy to lose sight of yourself once society starts telling you how wrong you are for liking what you like and being whoever it is that you are.