I recently turned 42 and fully intend to spend all year saying I have “the Answer”!
Although, in agreement with Deep Thought – the super computer in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that took over 7½ million years to compute and check the answer to ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ – I’m not sure that I ever really understood what the question was in the first place!
I have, however, learned a lot of lessons over my years on this planet and in honour of one of my favourite cult classics and gratitude for everything I’ve learned, I thought I would share 42 of my own truths with you…
1. Happiness is a choice – happiness is not something you pursue, it’s something you can have every day and find in what you already have.
2. Everything is figureoutable – this is something I learned from the amazing Marie Forleo. It doesn’t mean that things will always go your way, but if you stay positive and give things a try, you will succeed more than you fail and will learn something along the way whatever the outcome.
3. PJ days are imperative – well, to my sanity at least! Being able to enjoy a day with my kids without any expectation of ‘doing’ anything or ‘going’ anywhere is one of my greatest joys.
4. Love is infinite – the only limits we put on love are our own. Our hearts expand infinitely so that we can love our families, our friends, our children, our passions, our world and everything else that is important to us in different ways.
5. Mistakes are a good thing – some of my biggest lessons have come from the mistakes I have made, although it may not have felt like it at the time! Telling someone not to do something has nowhere near the impact of them learning not to do it because they have experienced it themselves.
6. It’s OK to change your mind – in fact, it’s not just OK, it’s imperative! Nothing stays the same, and if you are growing and changing then changing your mind becomes commonplace. Anyone who tells you it’s not OK to change is just plain stuck…
7. Your vibe attracts your tribe – how you act has an impact on who you attract into your life. The more authentic you are to yourself, the more you will attract people who resonate with you and inspire you (and you them).
8. People are generally kind – if you believe that people are inherently good and kind you will generally meet people that are good and kind (see point 7 above). If you always expect people to behave at their worst, don’t be surprised when they do.
9. Hibernating is good for the soul – I’m like a bear and use the cold and dreary UK winters to snuggle down and look within to figure out what I really want for the next 12 months. I don’t bemoan this time but use it to my advantage. You don’t have to be in ‘go’ mode all year round!
10. Working hard isn’t a requirement – by all means put all your effort in to what you love and do the best job you can, but don’t confuse busyness with productivity or worthiness and don’t spend your life living to work. And, just because it’s unpaid, doesn’t mean you work any less – especially for all the amazing mums out there xx
11. Sometimes you need to believe it to see it – staying positive and believing in yourself is imperative to your growth and survival (or thrivival as I call it!). You will only see positive results if you believe positive results are possible. Don’t wait for evidence and proof before believing in something you know to be true for you.
12. Tell people how you feel – life is way too short to keep your feelings to yourself. If you love someone – TELL THEM! If you are proud of someone – TELL THEM! You get the idea – just open your mouth and tell it how it is. You owe it to yourself, and to them.
13. Always be yourself – follow your own path and stay true to who you are. The right people will accept you for who you are and those who don’t probably aren’t all that comfortable with being themselves or are jealous that you have the guts to go your own way. Don’t let them pull you down.
14. Laugh often – a good belly laugh can radically improve your quality of life. Find a person, TV show or book that makes you laugh and get your fix as often as you can. Did you know that the average four year old laughs up to 300 times a day, whilst the average 40 year old only laughs 4 times?? My quota is a much higher than 4 a day mainly thanks to to my children and my love of all things slightly silly.
15. Social media in moderation – I LOVE social media for so many reasons (including the laugh factor above), but I don’t let it rule my life. Connecting online is no substitute for connecting in real life and I don’t see having 700 Facebook friends as a personal goal. I meet up with friends as a priority and connect online with real friends who live thousands of miles away.
16. ‘No’ is a complete sentence – I’ve only recently learned this one!! If you don’t want to do something, then saying no is enough. You do not have to explain every decision you make and you do not have to do things out of obligation or fear. Stop being a doormat and say no more often – it is really liberating! The only exceptions are when you’re legally obliged – like going to school, in case my kids read this!
17. Worrying is a waste of time and energy – I used to be the queen of worry and would think of at least 50 reasons why anything that could go wrong would go wrong. Butterflies were turned into enormous ugly moths that ate away at any joy or excitement I may have experienced before an event and much to my relief not once did any of my doomsday predictions eventuate. Worrying doesn’t change anything and simply steals the present moment in favour of something that probably won’t happen anyway!
18. There is no such thing as normal – my best buddy and I used to say “why be normal?” all the time. We understood, even as teenagers, the fact that we weren’t and that far from there being any shame in that, it was actually really liberating. Trying to fit in with the crowd just dulls your own sparkle.
19. Dream big and never give up – take little steps every day to help you achieve your dreams and don’t let anyone else squash them down through jealousy or their own fears.
20. Speaking is better than texting – I’m all for the speed of a quick text, but for really important stuff the phone (or in person) is still my preferred option. How often have you received a text that you misread or sent one that was misconstrued? The simple solution is to pick up the phone and call so you can add feeling and meaning to your conversation and avoid the impersonal touch that texting often has – and the predictive text errors that we encounter! The same goes for email.
21. Don’t save things ‘for best’ – I always remember my grandparents having a dinner set and glassware ‘for best’ and it was only ever brought out when there was a special occasion. So 98% of the time it sat in a cupboard and wasn’t used. The same probably goes for clothing, perfume, jewellery and countless other objects that people own and never use. I believe that every day is my best day, so use my best vase, my best wine glasses and my favourite perfume whenever I want, because they make me feel good and are not to there to impress anyone else.
22. Life isn’t out to get you – oh, how I hate the phrase “well, life isn’t fair, just get over it”. Life is what you make of it – some days will be awesome and some days will be completely shit, but the universe doesn’t have some bizarre vendetta against you. We are all here to learn our own lessons and all have things thrown at us from time to time, but if you remain positive the bad stuff doesn’t stick around for long.
23. Always say thank you – being thankful and grateful for everything is so important. You can only bring more of the good stuff into your life if you actually stop and say thank you for the stuff that you’ve already got. Try creating a daily gratitude habit to get things going and see the difference it makes as you manifest your own reality.
24. Shit happens – there’s no other way to put it. Shit happens to good people all the time, but good stuff happens all the time too. You just need to focus on the good stuff and let the bad stuff go. Ever been amazed by the hardship of someone’s life story when they seem to have it so together? – it’s called life (see point 22).
25. Never apologise for how you feel – your feelings are just as important as anyone else’s so don’t apologise for who you are – EVER! See more things to never apologise for on this great list by Sarah Prout).
26. Celebrate every win – every. single. one. Whatever is progress and a win for you – celebrate it. You don’t have to go over the top and have a plane fly over with a banner saying “I’ve had a shower this morning”, but if that’s your win for the day then pat yourself on the back. We all need to be our own cheerleaders and realise that even the smallest steps are getting us to where we want to be.
27. Comparisonitis kills – don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides!! What you see on social media or even in person is only what other people want you to see, not necessarily how they really feel or what’s really going on. Celebrities don’t ‘have it all’ and there’s no-one to keep up with. Just do your thing in your way, that’s what makes you unique (see point 13).
28. Swearing helps – oh yes it does… if the occasional (OK, it happens more often than that) profanity slips out of my mouth then at least I’m speaking what’s on my mind. There are lots of studies about the benefits of swearing, including 11 Reasons why cursing is good for the soul and this research over on the BBC but I really don’t need an excuse…
29. Acclimatise don’t assimilate – this is a WHOLE post just on it’s own!! I’ve been living in a foreign country for over 16 years and there is a lot of difference between acclimatising and assimilating. I fit in to life here in the UK, e.g. I rarely say G’day, call anyone ‘cobber’ or insist on driving a ute (how stereotypical is that!), but I still maintain a sense of my Australian heritage. It’s where I’m from and I’m proud of that so I don’t try to hide it. Remember who you are – wherever you are in the world and be proud of it!
30. Avoid negativity and drama – this is one of the quickest ways I know to lift your vibration and includes the negativity and moaning that happens on social media! Step away from the situation (or keyboard) and don’t get dragged in. As Steve Maraboli puts it “if you surround yourself with monkeys, don’t be surprised when your life resembles a circus”.
31. Kids are people too – I was lucky enough to be raised in a house where my parents listened to me – not just as their child but as a human being – and I treat my own children in the same way. Letting my children make their own decisions and learn from their own mistakes is SO important as it helps them grow into thinking and capable adults and it also allows them to truly feel responsible for their own achievements too. And if I’m honest, they are also my best teachers and I learn so much from them every day.
32. Sleep rocks – without my 8 hours and 45 minutes sleep a night (yup, it’s that precise), I’m a mess. If I get enough sleep I function brilliantly, but if I stay up late to watch something on the tellybox or work too late and don’t get some screen free time before lights out then it all goes to pot. It can take me days to get back to normal. So, keeping a good sleep routine is best for me – and anyone else who has to deal with me too!
33. All feelings are valid – negating any feeling is dangerous, because the more you bottle them up, the more screwed up you become. The trick is to acknowledge and express your feelings as they occur and then let them go. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to happy all the time – it’s just not realistic.
34. Chaos always comes before growth – not one of my big breakthroughs or growth moments has come on the back of being insanely happy. They have all hit when I have been about as low as I could possibly get and feel completely paralyzed with fear. But as the saying goes “everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear”, and the chaos that comes with it is just a part of the process. After the chaos is when the calm returns.
35. Good things come to those who go out and get them – good things don’t just happen and they don’t just come to ‘those who wait’. The friends I know who have good things happen manifest their own luck and bring their own luck into their life with positive intentions and good ole’ fashioned work. Everyone else might think they’ve sat on their bums waiting for ‘luck’ to strike, but that’s usually because they are only see the result and not the work that went into it (see point 27).
36. You can never have too much [stationery]! – [insert your own obsession here]… Enjoy your obsessions, whether they’re for shoes, bags, stationery, crafts or cars. Life is too short to worry about whether other people think you’re mad or not (see points 17 & 18).
37. Say ‘Yes’ – if you only ever live your life in your comfort zone, how will you know how magnificent you really are?? If it’s something you want to do, say yes and step into the unknown. If you can risk looking like a fool, only then will you know what you can truly accomplish.
38. Be generous with knowledge – to a point! I help people because I like to help people. It’s who I am. I don’t help people because I expect them to return the favour and if my knowledge can save someone else a few hours worth of stress then I’m happy to help. It usually turns into paid work for me in the long run too so helps me build my business and brand. However, I do have boundaries and if someone is just ‘picking my brains’ all the time to save themselves the effort, I will let them know that I’m available as a consultant too for further sessions!
39. Try everything once – okay, so maybe not everything! This is an elaboration on point 37. Just know that it’s important to give anything and everything a try. Whether that’s related to work or your hobbies. If you don’t give something a go how do you know if you like it or not? I am still finding new things that I love to do all the time, which leads me to my next point…
40. Find a job you love – let’s face it, you’re going to be working for most of your life so find something you love doing. It makes it a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning if you truly love what you do. Don’t settle for a job you hate just because it’s a family tradition or because your teacher tells you you’ll never do anything worthwhile. Whether that’s working for someone else or yourself, only you know what lights up your soul. And, it’s OK to change your mind (see point 6) as you grow and learn – I’m doing that all the time too!
41. Make food with love – I loved it when my eldest son recently said “better positive toast and fruit than negative anything else” when we were faced with almost empty cupboards one evening. He figures it’s how the food is made and the intention that goes into each meal, rather than the cost or complexity of the meal that counts – I’ve learnt that no matter how basic the meal, as long as I’m grateful for what I have on my plate then the food – and the experience – does me good.
42. My truths may not be your truths – and to finish my list off, I just want you to know that whether you agree with all of my truths, only some or none at all, that’s fine! We all have our own truths and lessons in this life. Celebrate them but don’t make others abide by them – they have their own truths too…
I’m looking forward to a fantastic year ahead as life really does just keep getting better as I honour my own truths. If a truth you live by or your words of wisdom aren’t on my list, I’d love to hear what they are so leave them in the comments below.
Oh, and pop over to this article in The Independent if you want to see a list of 42 fascinating facts about the number 42 including that Fox Mulder lived in apartment 42 in the X-Files – coincidence?? I think not…