As some of you might know, I turned 45 last week. It's been an amazing start and I am so grateful for my life so far even though many things have been very hard I am grateful to where it's gotten me today.
I've been thinking a lot lately about what that means and what I have learned, so I came up with 10 things I would have told my 20-year-old self ... It's a lot of life lessons I've learned over the years but I decided to put it into a blog article. I have more so stay tuned I might do a part 3 :D
This is a continuation of my post of things I would have told myself except for this is one year later and I'm 45 years old. One year is passed and I have more wisdom to share. Here's the post from last year: 10 Tough Life Lessons I Would Have Told 20-Year-Old Me (PART 1)
1) Follow your dreams but have side plans A, B, C on how you're going to support yourself.
When you study, find something you're interested in that will allow you to have a career. Remember you can also learn many things online in terms of hobbies that can keep you fulfilled in life. This is something I think many people miss is that you can learn ANYTHING you want online.
Sometimes we confuse something we're interested in with what we need to for a living. The world is uncertain and it's important to have an idea what you're going to use your degree for. Know what you want to do with it.
But you need to support yourself and it's ok to have something stable AND have a hobby. There are a lot of hardships in life that come with pursuing your passion in the purest form. I've seen this with people very close to me who are musicians, artists, etc. If that's your true passion, then do it. But it's always ok to have a side hussle and have other income streams or even something part time that allows you to do what you want in life without constantly worrying about how you're going to pay bills.
2) Remember that when you see loved ones, you never know when it's the last time.
Don't forget to show people how you feel. Tell people that you appreciate them. Don't leave petty shitty resentment lingering in the air if you want to reconcile with people.
There are so many times when unexpected things happen and you won't have a chance to say goodbye. Too often we make the assumption that people will just always be there. Accidents happen. Sickness happens. Suicide happens.
A family member died unexpectedly a few weeks ago. It shattered me. He was healthy. I hadn’t seen him in years and foolishly just assumed we would meet up in the future. My family keeps talking about meeting up but we never do. I never got the chance.
3) Don’t waste your life being in a bad mood/getting offended/ getting upset about little things.
This doesn’t mean not feeling your feelings or invalidating yourself. It means taking a step back to recognize where you might be giving your power away.
As Maya Angelou says: "I will not let someone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."
Did someone at the busstop push past you? Did someone word an email to you in a crappy way? Did someone write something online as a generalization and you’ve decided to take it personally? Remember that when you get offended you're allowing someone else to dictate your mood, your worth, and how you will feel today. I am not saying that what they're doing is ok. But people who try to make others feel bad feel crappy about themselves don't let it rub off onto you. I use EFT tapping
Eleanor Roosevelt said: no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.
4) We can’t always change situations, learn to let go.
I want to start by saying this is NOT easy especially when future situations have real consequences. But worrying and stressing about things that haven’t happened only creates a horrible present situation filled with fear.
When it comes to uncertainty, ask yourself:
is there anything I can do to change this situation?
What actions do I need to take to feel better?
We need to find at least 5 healthy things (that dont’ include emotional eating/drinking, etc) that we KNOW will work to pick ourselves up when we feel shitty.
I can already hear some people saying, “but I have real problems right now, I have real mental health issues, I have money problems, etc.” yes, I hear you. Sometimes everything just sucks. It’s true!! BUT find small moments of joy in your day.
Is it making yourself a nice breakfast?
Is it taking 10 minutes to listen to some of your favorite songs.
It is getting outside to exercise and getting your endorphins flowing?
5) Learn how to manage your emotional health.
This is such a big one and it's not easy. It's something I have been working on for probably a decade. Emotions come and go but being able to manage them is a superpower. For me, that was EFT Tapping and being able to calm myself down when stressed, anxious, annoyed, angry, unmotivated, afraid, etc. Find whatever works for you and do that.
Being an expat has been an amazing life for me but it hasn’t always been easy. There are many situations that arise that you simpy don’t have control over. Don’t let debilitating fear of uncertainty take over your life. For me this has always been something I’ve struggled with with anxiety and there are times in the past where I worried so much I made myself sick and couldnt’ eat or sleep.
At least now I can know I have a tool to quickly calm myself and manage my emotional health so even though it’s near impossible to eliminate all anxiety from my life I can at least feel like I’m regaining control.
6) Don’t date/marry someone who isn’t willing to grow emotionally or work on healing their past.
Being in a relationship means being able to grow together as people individually and as a couple. This means someone who isn’t self aware, hasnt’ healed past traumas, can’t or won’t communicate, or has not worked on themselves - they will leave you exhausted, frustrated, confused and unhappy. They will project onto you and blame you for things you didn't do.
You can have empathy and compassion for someone’s past and trauma without accepting all the consequences and emotional burden. Hurt people hurt people. Many of us have trauma from different areas in our lives and things that happened to us.
But there is a saying: "If you dont’ heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed all over those who didn’t cut you."
Someone who hasn’t worked to address their trauma and isn't aware of how they're behaving will project it all onto you either unintentionally or as a response. Someone who hasn’t healed from being cheated on can come off extremely jealous, controlling, suspicious, and snooping, even if the new person hasn’t done anything.
Someone who isn’t away of their family dynamics and how they affect his or her beliefs on relationships and dynamics will repeat the exact same patterns from their parents. That means if their parents loved the silent treatment, yelling, stone walling, or were critical, someone unaware is going to do the EXACT same thing to you.
We are not perfect. We all have past pain. But we have to be responsible for healing it so we don't hurt others. We can be patient and understanding without allowing someone else to hurt us because they were hurt.
And here's the other important part. Heal yourself too. Or you will hurt others and also attract people who will hurt you. You have to show up as the partner you want to be.
7) Learn and understand your physical and mental limits.
So while in some cases it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone to reach your goals, there are other times when you need to know when to stop, when to quit, when to walk away. Understanding your physical requirements and limits, especially when it comes to what you eat, how you move your body, and how much sleep you need is going to save you feel exhausted, easily triggered, sluggish and horrible.
This means understanding what your body needs to function by eating well and prioritizing your health, not existing on 3 hours of sleep when you need 7 or 8, etc.
It means prioritizing your mental and emotional health so you don’t burn out or necessarily create anxiety and fear. Understanding your physical limits is critical physically as you get older or you’re going to tear something, hurt yourself, or overdo it so much you don't want to do it ever again.
8) You won’t always have support, follow your dreams anyway.
So, this one sucks because it's a sad truth. We all want to be supported. We want our friends, family, or partner to be 100% behind us. But what if they aren’t? Sometimes people wont’ understand and approve of what we’re trying to do and that’s sad and disappointing.
But we have to do it anyway. We have to believe in ourselves and our dreams enough to do what we feel is right for us.
Should we wait instead until everyone supports our dreams? No. From the first time I moved to Mexico alone in 1998 (trust me, NO ONE thought this was a good idea) to when I moved to China alone in 2006 (even more shock, trust me!)
9) Learn how to love yourself first.
If you can’t celebrate yourself you can’t expect others to do the same. Sometimes, we find it easier to get excited and congratulate others on their accomplishments then to do it for ourselves.
Acknowledging our wins on a regular basis gets us into the habit of seeing how we’re learning and growing in life and moving forward.
Celebrate your progress, your achievements, and get into the habit of keeping track of your intentions and successes.
10) Remember that you teach other people how to treat you.
This is a really hard pill to swallow and I know it was so much easier in my younger years to just blame others and assume everyone else was the problem.
But guess what?
Sticking around people who don’t appreciate you or take advantage of you is your choice.
That’s probably one of the harder lessons I’ve had to learn. Learning your boundaries and how to communicate them and enforce them in a healthy way is life changing. If you look around and notice no one appreciates you, you’re being treated like crap, everyone uses you, your friends are fake, etc., time to evaluate.
Remember the quote: you can’t change the people around you but you can change the PEOPLE around you..
11) Don’t stop learning and growing and be around people who want you to do better.
My dad always said, ‘if you want to be well-rounded in life, find one hobby to keep you fit, play a musical instrument, and learn a language.’ There are a million courses and programs online now to learn every kind of skill. I have to say I appreciate that quote the older I have gotten. Nowadays, given that I don’t always have so much time, I still do photography, salsa class, guitar, and I love hiking.
Surround yourself with people who are happy to see you shine, see you win, see you succeed. The people who can't be happy for you are not your true friends. People who love you want to see you succeed and happy. Find communities of people who support you, find activities that will help you grow, find ways to improve yourself.
Get help when you can't do it alone. Get a supportive and motivating coach who will keep you on track and support your dreams, goals, and personal development. Get therapy if you need to heal things from your past there is no shame in asking for help. You don't have to do it all alone.
If you want to start changing your life, schedule a free strategy session with me here!
ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany
I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).
If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.
Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life.
Header Image: E&A photografie
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