To celebrate turning 40, I challenged myself to blog for each of the 40 days leading into my birthday. This is post number 40. You can read all the posts here.
Whew! I just got a bit emotional as I started typing these words. It feels like such a long time ago that I wrote the first of these posts.
And, I guess it was a long time ago. Nearly seven weeks. Something I’ll admit I didn’t really compute when I first conceived of the idea.
But, here we are.
I wanted to tackle a big subject today. Something like ‘the meaning of life’.
But then I realised, I don’t actually think there is one.
I think we live, and then we die.
Which I know will make many of you wince. But … it is what it is.
That philosophy doesn’t stop me wanting to live a meaningful life, however.
One where I’m able to make the world a better place both while I’m here, and when I’m gone.
Which sounds a bit hubristic. But, really, do you know anyone whose life goal is to make the world a worse place?
No. For the most part, we’re all trying to make things better for each other, consciously or not.
I think it’s easy to get caught in the mindset of needing to do something BIG before we can lay claim to making the world a better place.
But we don’t need to be doing BIG stuff. Even the tiniest stuff starts ripples.
Sometimes the ripples stay as ripples, but travel far.
Sometimes the ripples merge with others and turn into something big and immediate.
Sometimes we know the effect we’ve had. Most often, we don’t.
But we keep creating ripples anyway.
And that’s all I’ve tried to do with this blog series. I was scared it could become self-indulgent very quickly so I laid down a mandate for myself. There needed to be a potential ripple in every post. Some kind of takeaway for the reader. There to be to picked up if it matched their personal situation.
How did I go? I did a little audit.
01 School: An addiction to gold stars might seem harmless, but can quickly become problematic.
02 Triathlon: You might think ‘winning’ is what drives you when it’s actually the underrated thrill of ‘improvement’.
03 Business: Trying to deliver all three of speed, quality and price to clients is both naive and unsustainable.
04 Regret: Having buffers (time, financial, emotional) can really mitigate regret.
05 Coping: Keeping really busy might not be the fabulous coping mechanism you think it is.
06 Choices: There always more options open to you than you think.
07 Babies: As much as we want an answer for everything, sometimes there really are none.
08 Resilience: Sometimes we are too resilient for our own good.
09 Rock bottom: It’s a shame this is where many of us have to go before deciding to seek professional help.
10 Therapy: Validation that your problem is actually a problem is priceless.
11 Magic bullets: They don’t exist.
12 Values: If you don’t know what yours are, it’s easy to feel life’s taking you for a ride.
13 Regression: Is normal and part of forward progress.
14 Self-sabotage: Usually kicks in when our identity feels threatened.
15 Stories: Changing the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves can be as simple as changing the stories we tell ourselves.
16 Help: Is hard to ask for, but we’re doing ourselves no favours by refusing it.
17 Permission: Giving yourself permission to do the things you know you should do is one of the greatest life skills you’ll ever learn.
18 Saying no: Is hard to do at first, but like a muscle, gets easier the more you exercise it.
19 Better: Being able to laugh and experience joy is key to a happy life.
20 Identity: Defining yourself via external things like jobs and relationships is fraught with danger.
21 Busy: Not all busy is bad. In fact, busy only really becomes ‘bad’ when it tips into overwhelm.
22 Overwhelm: Rushing is the key indicator of overwhelm. Taking care of the rushing solves 99% of the problem.
23 Priorities: Not sure where you’re at with yours? Try the traffic light test.
24 Decluttering: In the same we can declutter our homes to create much-needed space, so too can we declutter our lives.
25 Mindfulness: One of the most useful life skills we can learn is the ability to stop in the moment and notice.
26 Intention: When you’re able to live life with intention, you know you’ve gotten on top of overwhelm.
27 Boundaries: The hardest part of setting strong boundaries is giving ourselves permission to do so.
28 Changes: The most frustrating thing about change is, it’s not linear. We need to accept this in order to make changes that last.
29 Self-compassion: Is simply the ability to extend ourselves the same level of kindness we extend to others.
30 Clarity: 13 uncomfortable but clarifying questions we seldom take the time to ask ourselves.
31 Blogging: A reflection on just where an unpaid, time-consuming hobby can take you!
32 Entitlement: There is huge freedom that comes from discovering the world doesn’t owe you a thing.
33 Acceptance: The power of taking life as it is, rather than trying to force it to be how it ‘should’ be.
34 Relationships: Did you know the quality of yours is the biggest indicator of a happy and healthy life?
35 Creativity: Is more than the arts – drawing, writing, painting. It’s about problem-solving more than anything.
36 Shyness: Doesn’t need to get in the way of meaningful relationships. Here’s how I’ve managed mine.
37 Whitespace: Never underestimate the power of using space to take a breath, and carefully choose your response.
38 Action: Negative thoughts only preclude us from taking positive action if we let them.
39 Success: Is, for me, the ability to strive from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.
So! I’m pretty comfortable I met my brief. Phew!
I hope you enjoyed this series as much as I enjoyed writing it.
In fact, I hope you enjoyed it so much, you won’t mind me taking a little break from writing here for a few months.
I’m head down, bum up currently, finishing up the book I’m working on with James. (If you’re a stressed out, underpaid business owner, it’s one for you!).
Once that’s done (end of this month!) I’ll be head down, bum up working on the first draft of my next book, Overthinkers Anonymous.
If ever you want to check in and see where I’m at, I’ll be keeping this page on the site updated.
And …. that’s it for now. I’m off to celebrate this lovely birthday milestone with a day in the office, lunch with my parents, and dinner with Ant, our kids, and my in-laws. Should be a lovely day indeed 🙂