My 26th year has been a biggie – I got married, Neil and I packed up our life and moved home and then moved back overseas, and we are still dealing with the uncertainty of visa applications, having a short-term job and temporary living situation. While it has had it’s challenges, this past year has been one of the best yet. I’d like to think I’m constantly learning and evolving as a person with every new experience – so I thought I would share a few things I have learned, or incorporated into my day-to-day life this past year.
worrying is the most consuming, and least productive emotion. It will get you nowhere. We worry because of the unknown – we are worried we won’t be good enough, or we worry about work, or family members and friends, about what could happen, but probably won’t. This is not constructive, and worrying about something or someone will never change an outcome. Whenever I feel worry or apprehension creeping in, I remind myself not to take life too seriously. Meditate to find grounding.
|read like a maniac.||
biographies specifically. The first lawyer I worked under had a minimum of three books on the go at any one time, on top of her insane workload. I thought she was crazy, until I tried it. Now I aim to always have two books I’m flicking between: one easy-read fiction novel and one biography or educational non-fiction. Depending on my mood, I can either read to relax or read to learn.
|do what YOU want to do.||
be honest with yourself. When an opportunity presents itself, ask “is this what I want?” Our biggest regrets come from trying to please other people. As a people-pleaser/peace-keeper, I am still working on this one.
|talk to new people.||
traveling with my husband, because there are two of us, it is easy to keep to ourselves and not feel the need to strike up conversation with strangers. Lately we have been making a conscious effort to put ourselves out there. All opportunities stem from people you meet. The more people we talk to, the more we learn, the more we are exposed to new ideas and experiences.
|say no and don’t feel guilty about it.||
I love this quote by Martha Beck, “When it comes to saying yes or no to something or someone, choose the answer that feels like freedom.”
|everyone is winging it.||
it is all an act. As Ricky Gervais says, “No-one knows what they’re doing either.” We are all just doing our best as we go along. A well-respected lawyer who is top in his field once told me that pretending is key – pretend you are confident, pretend you know what someone is talking about, if you don’t care, pretend that you do. Smile and nod.
enjoy the moment. Cheesy I know, but being both physically and mentally present in a moment is so rare these days. With all of the distractions – instant communication and constant demands for our attention, we are constantly being pulled in five directions. With pending visa applications and a soon expiring work permit, we have no idea where we will be living in the next few months. It is easy to get caught up in the uncertainty of our future, and forget to appreciate the now. Feel the sun. Smell the ocean. Hear the silence.
|sometimes, a job is just a job.||
my job is just a job, and I am so much more than that. A job can’t make you happy. Jobs are temporary, and most often you don’t get to choose who you work with. You don’t need an amazing career to be successful. Success is perspectival.
|“everything is poisonous, nothing is poisonous, it is all a matter of dose.” – Claude Bernard||
everything in moderation. I try not to become obsessive about anything – whether it be a Netflix series, going to the gym, a project at work or a criticism someone made. Doing or thinking about anything too much is dangerous. Life is to be lived and to be enjoyed. Strive for balance.
|be willing to listen to everyone’s advice, but don’t necessarily take it.||
everyone has an opinion and they will make it known to you… “Do more of this”, “don’t eat that”, “try this, it’s good for you”, “you work too hard”, “you’ve got your priorities wrong”, etc. I listen to all advice – people mean well and are trying to help. But sometimes what is right for someone is not right for me. You can respect other’s opinions without sharing them. Listen with interest, but follow your gut.
|eat clean and simple.||
what you put into your body matters. I used to eat whatever the hell I liked – baking, fries, sausages, nachos, Starbucks white chocolate mochas… I ate healthy meals too, but greasy, sugary and fatty foods were consumed whenever I felt like it. I would always feel sluggish and bloated afterwards. Now I eat a low-sodium, vegetable rich diet and adopt a 80/20 approach. It has become a habit and I don’t even think twice about saying no to donuts at work, or ordering a vodka soda instead of a beer. I still order a burger and fries when I’m out, but then the other four nights of the work week I’ll cook a simple, healthy meal at home. And I feel so much better for it. Our body is our temple – we should show it the respect it deserves.
|build and value your relationships.||
whether it be personal or professional, all relationships require effort. We are all human, we are the centre of our own lives and we instinctively want to talk about ourselves. When someone is talking, we are thinking about how their experience relates to us: “I’ve been there”, or “I know how that feels”. By listening without relating the conversation back to ourselves, we learn more, listen more effectively, and our relationships become more genuine – less about ‘me’ and more about ‘us’. People don’t care as much about what you know as they do about how much you care about them.