You’re probably thinking “she’s only 34 years old – what does she know about life”!? And you’re right. I still have a lot more life to live (hopefully!) and I have no doubt that life is going to continue to kick my ass with many more life lessons (I’m ready for ya!). But having gone through a lot in the last 2 years (read my story here), I’ve recently realised that my perspective on life has completely changed and I’d like to share with you 5 of the biggest things I’ve learned about life:
1 – You only get one
I’m joking! But seriously I could probably end this post right here because this is the life lesson of all life lessons! It is one of those things that is said all the time, but do we really pay attention? Do we really appreciate how precious life is and how lucky we are to be here experiencing it? I’ve realised that after I left college and started working that I basically coasted along in my life. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that life is about the journey and not the destination and I’ve realised that I just wasn’t living my life. Because I was so stressed at work, I lived for the weekend, lived for days off, lived for holidays and when they came I would usually just spend them dreading going back to work. I was wishing my life away. Now, I try to be more present in my life and if I am unhappy with a situation I will do what I can to change it.
2 – It’s hard!
I am incredibly lucky that I was born into a loving family in the modern, developed world. Sure, there were ups and downs in my life, but I reached the age of 30 without ever facing any life-shattering trauma. And I guess I naively believed that bad things happened to other people, not to me or my family. I’ve since realised that no one ever said or promised life was going to be easy, because it’s not. But it’s not meant to be. In this rollercoaster called life, you can’t experience or appreciate the great highs without experiencing the terrible lows. And life would be pretty boring if it was plain sailing all the way!
3 – Be kind
It has been proven that doing an act of kindness for someone else can make YOU happier. The world can’t seem to agree on where we came from or why we are here. But at its most basic, our sole purpose in life is to ensure the human race survives and continues. This is why our bodies are designed in such a way to gain pleasure from the act of creating a new life! Similarly, our bodies are designed to release happy hormones when we exercise, thus encouraging us to do it. Why? Because our bodies need exercise to be healthy and therefore survive! I like to think of kindness in a similar manner. We are designed in such a way that we get a happy buzz from being kind to others because the survival of mankind depends on us being kind to one another!
4 – Be yourself (even if it means being different!)
My husband and I had a fairly non-traditional wedding and many people commented afterwards about how ‘brave’ we were! BRAVE! Really?! All we did was plan a day that was ‘us’, because why would we do anything other than that? When I thought about it, I thought about another aspect of our lives that people often (strangely!) comment on as being ‘brave’. The fact that my husband and I don’t drink alcohol, and haven’t done for a long time. I’ve now realised that years of going against ‘the norm’ (and constantly having to explain and justify it!) has actually made us stronger people, more comfortable and confident with who we are and how we live.
5 – All you need is love
The Beatles sure weren’t wrong! I have always believed this, but now more than ever. I’m not just referring to having a significant other in your life. Your love could come from a parent, a child, family, friends, it doesn’t matter! If you love and are loved in return, well then you are very lucky my friend! This, I believe, is the true meaning of life. My loved ones are the people who have supported and encouraged me my whole life, but especially in the last few years. I know I wouldn’t be here without them.
So there you have it, 5 of the biggest things I’ve learned about life….so far! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.