Entering my 35th year...
35 simple but important bites of wisdom for my 35th Birthday…
On my 34th birthday last year, I’d just come out of hospital and was still feeling like a drugged up space cadet after dealing with a pretty serious kidney infection. It was also right at the end of the lockdowns, so I was at home, with my partner and no one else, with a big catheter in my arm for regular IV doses of antibiotics. We ate some cake, got Thai takeaway for dinner and sat around an open fire in my then backyard. So if nothing else, the way I celebrated turning 35 this week already feels like a huge improvement on turning 34! 😂
I feel like I’m transitioning into the second half of my 30’s with some big, hard won lessons under my belt, some things that I’m really proud of, and also some deep yearnings for the year(s) ahead.
So, for myself, and anyone else who needs to hear it – here are 35 simple but important things I’m carrying into my 35th year and beyond:
- Overshare. Overshare. Overshare. This one is the top of my list, and its a really personal one. I’ve spent a lot of my adult life yearning for more emotional intimacy with people – to experience being more seen, felt and known by people – and having to painstakingly learn how to share more of my inner world. This is still SUCH a work in progress. Oversharing, to me, means being willing to share all of what’s going on inside me with people I trust. Being ‘feelable’, and practicing that as a way of creating closeness and intimacy with my inner circle. Remember, if people can’t see and feel you, they can’t know you, love you and support you.
- Nothing is for certain. You’ve heard it before, ‘change is the only constant’, right? Well, it’s true. At this point in my life, I’ve changed my mind about some BIG things. Things I thought were pretty ‘locked in’. Wanting to horse ride professionally being one, and the other is opening myself to the possibility of being a mother one day. I know, that if these two things that felt SO clear to me can change, anything can change. So, I’ll do my best to staying open to surprising myself with what shifts in and around me in the future. I also see people lean out from truly committing to things because of the transient nature of life, so for me, this truth needs to be balanced with a willingness to give my all to whatever I’m choosing right now, even if it might change one day.
- If in doubt, err on the side of softness. I’ve spent a lot of my life armoured. Protected. And I’ve worked HARD to create the safety in my system required to be able to melt, soften and FEEL. This is so worth protecting. So, when I’m faced with opportunities to choose, I’ll do my best to continue to remind myself again and again, to stay open and SOFT.
- It really, really is okay to have needs. I keep re-learning this to new depths. Lately, I’m working on letting myself have needs that actually take up space in someone else’s world. That might require them to go out of their way for me. Not from a place of entitlement, but to practice letting people love me THAT much if it’s right for them. And being okay with receiving it. Phew.
- Not everyone is like me. This sounds obvious. Like, duh. But, to another level, I’ve seen that the map of underlying beliefs and expectations that people are operating from in life, are not the same as mine. Don’t expect people to respond to stress, challenges or pressure in the way I would. Don’t expect people to have the same flexibility and perceptions I do. They don’t necessarily. And making these assumptions has the potential to cause everyone involved a lot of pain.
- There truly is no destination. Another one that sounds like a cliched bumper sticker. But so often when I wind up stuck in a pattern of SUFFERING in my life, it’s because I think I should be somewhere other than RIGHT HERE. And, right here is ultimately the perfect next step on my journey. There’s no place or time I’ll reach when I won’t have issues, where I won’t feel frustrated or challenged by life, and sometimes I need to remind myself of that. This one is particularly true for ambitious people who have big goals. YES – achievement is great, go for it! AND – if you don’t learn to fall in love with the journey of creating those achievements, they will forever be an empty prison.
- Whatever mirror I’m looking into right now is PERFECT. Whatever business challenge, relationship challenge, health challenge etc – is ALL here to drive me deeper into alignment with my truth if I’m willing to look at what I’m being shown about myself.
- I am WAY more creationally powerful than I’ve allowed myself to believe. Whatever I choose to cultivate and emanate will ultimately show up in my life. The more I ‘get right’ with the responsibility of this, and then do what is required to look after my frequency and fullness, the EASIER and richer my life becomes. As I deepen further into the ‘feminine mysteries’, this continues to blow my mind.
- Feeling Good is feeling GOD. This is a Wayne Dyer quote, and was originally shared with me by a very wise woman I’ve met through a wonderful virtual community. This, for me, is about my responsibility for my own lived experience. As I grow and mature, I continue to find more and more ways that I outsource feeling GOOD in life to the people and conditions around me. But actually, this is ALL FOR ME, and all in my power. Plus, rubbing up against the cosmic mystery feels pretty ecstatic, so why wouldn’t I? – What can you do right now to feel GOOD?
- If I’m trapped in a situation that isn’t right for me, it’s because some part of me accepts those conditions. If something in my life is ‘out’ right now, it’s because on some level that’s what I believe I deserve, or am worth. It’s quite simple. The things we know we deserve and we are *rightly* entitled to, we will simply seek and acquire with little thought. It’s the things we DON’T believe we can and should own/have/experience in this life, that we will block ourselves from, sabotage, struggle to obtain or find repeatedly out of our reach. Taking action towards those things is useful, but what’s even better, is making contact with the part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve it.
- Listening deeply to my soul’s truth will not always sound the way my mind thinks it should. Life take some unexpected directions sometimes. The more I listen to my deeper being, the more it surprises me. Finding so much utter delight in slowing down, having a partnership with much more ‘traditional gender roles’ and being way less focused on or motivated by my external goals is one good example of how this has changed in my life recently. Listening to my deeper being, what actually feels GOOD and where I’m being guided by my knowing has revealed this yearning for deep devotional partnership, being cared and provided for and creating a family…that really fucked with my ego because it’s NOT what my mind thought I wanted. Haha
- My ‘No’ is as delightful and welcome as my ‘Yes’. Recovering people pleasers to the front! 🙋♀️ Phew, I am still learning this one and finding ways that it’s HARD to say No. And, the more I can access my softly triumphant and clean NO, the stronger I feel in knowing ‘I have my own back’. This is hardest for me personally (and I know the same for many others) with people close to me. But, I’ve gotten myself in trouble being TOO flexible, giving a yes to things without giving them deeper thought, and ultimately finding myself out of integrity with ME. So, I’m practicing welcoming awareness and sharing of my NO, and that being just as wonderfully opening as giving something a big YES.
- Keep Learning. I really love learning. I don’t need too many reminders of this, but I thrive when I am in environments where I’m expanding, having my beliefs challenged and acquiring new skills.
- Be willing to let go. I don’t get to keep everything, or everyone. I’m not going to be ‘for everyone’, and even people I believe today will be around forever in my life might not be. The more grace I can let go with, the easier that makes it for everyone. I don’t have a good recipe for knowing when the right time is to ‘let go’, but I’m sure I’ll have more opportunities to learn.
- It’s okay to let things take their time, I don’t have to get to the bottom of something or know all the answers today. Things in life have a natural evolution. Everything has it’s own story arc, and while you can influence or accelerate things sometimes, some things are simply out of your control. So my job is to get better and better and sitting in the ‘not knowing’ and meeting whatever rises in myself in that space of uncertainty.
- It’s great to be inspired by others, but my god don’t compare myself. I’m happy to say that by 35 I’m now doing a LOT less comparison than I once was. But, I still catch myself seeing other people succeeding and comparing myself to their journey. I know this is unhelpful rubbish, but its still in there. I know the more deeply I really love myself, the less this will happen and the more my automatic reaction when I see someone else winning will be joy for them.
- My body is really beautiful, enjoy it. I look back at photos of myself in bathers 10 years ago, when I HATED my body, and I was SO fit and toned from riding horses and training so hard. My body doesn’t look the same today as it did then, which is actually really normal given my change in sporting commitments and hormonal changes, but I still feel some sadness that I didn’t truly let myself appreciate my physique back then and was so very hard on myself and punishing. I’m softer and curvier today, and truly feel deep love and appreciation for my body today. I also know that in another 10 or 20 years, I’ll look at my ‘today’ body and see signs of youthfulness that will have faded, that I might be missing out on appreciating today. So, I want to discover, are there ways to love and appreciate my body today, even more?
- My parents did their best. Ohh this has been a big one for me. Getting right with the PERFECTION of my fallible, human parents has been a journey. Seeing how – at a soul level – I wanted the very lessons that ONLY THEY could deliver. But my human self has had such a journey with moving through and letting go of anger, resentment, disappointment, grief and pain that they couldn’t be who I needed them to be at times. Of course they couldn’t, they’re human. And the more I can see and accept them for exactly who they are, the more I can love them there, and the softer and easier our adult relationships become. I hope to continue to grow closer and closer with my parents in the years to come.
- I am the only one gaslighting myself out of my own knowing. Stop it. It’s a worthwhile question to ask if I’m ever feeling stuck, “what is it that I know right now, that I wish I didn’t know?” I believe the better I get at answering that question quickly and honestly, the better my life will be.
- My truth doesn’t have to fit with someone else’s. This is another hard won lesson for me as someone who’s spent a lot of time being really easy going and flexible. I’m allowed to have an experience, beliefs, perspectives, desires and ideas that not only contrast but oppose other people’s. I’m pretty ‘Libran’ in that I can often see ALL sides of a situation and find it really easy to hang out in the grey nuances of things. So on the occasions where my experience does really challenge someone else’s position, I can find it really challenging. This is an area I really want to continue to be more confident and comfortable.
- Having time to do nothing is really important to me. I’m really not interested in having all of my time scheduled. I LOVE having the spaciousness to follow spontaneity, or, to just do nothing. I won’t negotiate on this one with myself anymore, and I’ll continue to catch any sneaky inner narratives that say I should feel guilty about this, or that I’m not ‘doing enough’. By who’s standards!?
- ’Taking Responsibility’ can be way gentler than I thought. I’ve spent a lot of time being ‘strong’ and capable – ‘taking responsibility’ for myself and my life came with a hardness that I now know looking back was an avoidance of feeling and BEING FELT in my tenderness. I’m learning a new flavour of taking responsibility for myself, that includes softness, slowing down, attunement to the subtleties of my deeper being and needs and courageously sharing this with others, even when my voice shakes.
- No one is perfect. Another one that I feel like keeps coming back around to poke me in the back of the head. The requirement for me to be perfect was another sneaky way I was avoiding the mess of being human. Interestingly, and counter to my ego’s ideas, the more I go towards being completely imperfect, the better my life gets and the more deep satisfaction I experience.
- There are breadcrumb ‘clues’ all around me as to which direction to move in, if I’m willing to look and listen. It’s said that life doesn’t come with an instruction manual or a road map, though I truly believe I am, and we all are, offered clues and messages about how to come home to more of my wholeness, which ultimately I believe is the purpose of living. It’s there in my yearnings, in my pain – in the unique terrain of my life, and I want to continue to let this be an underlying guiding compass to my life as I play the game of being human on this earth.
- Family is way more valuable than I thought, Elders are precious. I’ve always felt a little alien from my family of origin, and through the journey of awakening to my own desire for family, I’ve come to appreciate the lineage I come from so much more. It’s remarkable that as a species we’re here today, and the life I’m afforded has been forged by generations of hard work and sacrifice. I’ve always had a cognitive sense of this, though I find myself developing a much more embodied relationship with the beauty of what it is that I inherit through my ancestry, and a desire to connect with and learn from my parents and my remaining grandma more and more.
- The way out is in; feel it ALL the way through. The results are in – I’ve tried all the other ways over and over again – if there is something there to be felt, the ONLY way to move through that thing in a healthy way, is to FEEL IT FULLY. I spent so much of my life closing my heart to myself, to others, to the disappointments and aches of life. I really know now, that the way to freedom, is to feel it all. Everything this wild, beautiful, devastating life serves up. Although I ‘get’ this, I’m still working on applying it real time, it’s a work in progress.
- People actually more often than not really want to give me what I want, if I’m just willing to ask. For a time, feeling my desires was excruciating, because all I could feel when I touched the places of my yearning, was the lack of those things I most wanted. Feeling the pain of that lack was SO great, that for a long time I lived inside a story that nobody wanted to give me the things I desired. This drove years of emotional independence and hyper-responsibility. But I’m now – finally – learning, that more often than not, people want to give me the things I want. AND, when they can’t, people are kind about saying ‘no’.
- Social media is largely a waste of time. This just gets clearer to me over time. I don’t feel nourished or expanded when I spend an hour with my phone taped to my face and Facebook on repeat. I don’t feel like I learn anything (with the exception of some beautiful communities I participate in!) or come out a better woman. I appreciate the opportunity to connect with friends who live abroad, and stay up to date with people who I care about. I gain business from being on social media. But in the coming years, I really want to transform my relationship with it into being more of a tool, and less of a pastime.
- The discomfort of being healthy is worth it. It’s expensive to be healthy; gym memberships, supplements, testing for and then responding to gut health related stuff, dealing with musculoskeletal stuff, buying high quality food. Then the discomfort of actually going to the gym consistently, choosing to cook instead of getting takeout when I’m tired, choosing to not eat biscuits when my partner is because he has a totally different metabolism to mine. It’s worth it. All of it. Not only do I get to feel better on a day to day basis, but the more I love my life, the longer I want it to be.
- No amount of sex, love, amazing experiences or external validation will fill the void of loving and filling myself. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn to love myself better throughout my life. But fulfilment really is an inside job. I’m in the best relationship of my life, having the best sex of my life, living a lifestyle thats as close to my ‘dreams’ as I can imagine, and I STILL SUFFER if I neglect myself and my heart. I still get my ass kicked by my disgruntled inner world if I don’t take loving care of myself, and if I don’t listen when those things come up, then they start to wreak havoc in my relationship and life.
- I get to choose when to let myself off the hook. Over the last few years as I’ve journeyed more closely with the feminine, I’ve fallen a little in love with the legend of Inanna, the Goddess who descends to the Underworld and is stripped of her beauty and worldly possessions, to be left hanging grotesquely on a meathook, barely alive and totally naked. In the legend, she cannot be saved and it is only when SHE IS READY, that she can graciously lift herself OFF THE HOOK and return to the topside world, restored to her former beauty, and made whole in her healing. This is such a metaphor for the feminine journey of awakening – the Heroine’s journey. Unlike the Hero’s journey, the path of feminine awakening is a DESCENT. In the places I get stuck, the patterns I continue to repeat, the choices I continue to make in favour of my SMALLNESS, these are hook ONLY I can let myself off, and only when I’m ready.
- I have tremendous value to share with the world. I’ve had such a process with feeling the value of what I offer and share with the world through my work. Unlike many great teachers I respect and admire, I haven’t pioneered a modality or brought cutting edge thinking into the coaching world. I’ve learned from brilliant teachers and trainers over an almost 15 year time frame, and bring adapted expressions of their proven methodology and techniques through the lens of my own life experiences. For a long time, my ego grappled with whether that was ‘enough’, and sometimes that voice still pops up. As I mature and naturally find new ways to love all of myself more completely, I’m also finding more and more room to appreciate and deeply FEEL the preciousness of what I share with the women I work with, and the power and value of my work. I want to continue to deepen with my knowing and ownership of this in the coming years.
- I don’t get to negotiate with my desires. This one is BIG, for me, and for women in general I believe. I have learned that I simply love what I love, I yearn for what I yearn for, and I DON’T GET TO CHOOSE. When I desire something I secretly wish I didn’t, or when I pretend to desire something that I actually don’t really care about, I’m contorting myself. Which never works. Sometimes desires pop up that aren’t really burningly important, and it’s easy to let them slide by; I see this in the way I sometimes desire to eat shitty food that isn’t good for me. It’s not a TRUE desire, and I can contain myself in a supportive way to make a different choice. But when a deep, true ‘deepest chambers of my heart’ yearning rises in me, I have enough evidence in my own life now to know, that it won’t be stood in the way of.
- I’ll always be a mess. There is still a voice that says I shouldn’t be this. That I should have it all handled. Old habits die hard, I guess. Even though that voice is way quieter than it used to be, there are places and moments where the fear of being rejected or abandoned for my bumbling humanness still grips my heart. So, these days I’m meeting that voice by reassuring it that I will ALWAYS be a glorious mess. I’m still learning to fully see, believe and trust the beauty of this truth.
- The woman I need to forgive is in the mirror. The more I touch the depths of my own tenderness, something I’ve significantly deepened my capacity for over the past few years, the more I experience the nuanced spectrum of my human heart and get to feel grief, regret, shame, anger etc. Time and time again, the person I need to forgive is ME. It’s me that’s allowed something in my life that wasn’t actually right for me. It’s me who didn’t listen deeply to and speak for my own heart. It’s me that didn’t speak up when I should have. It’s ALWAYS me. And forgiving myself for the places where I haven’t been able to show up for myself yet, and loving myself EVEN there, has been such a revolution for me. As I continue to give myself permission to step into owning my mess, my full-spectrum-humanness, my imperfections, I know my ability to forgive myself will be really important.
I’d love to know, which one stood out to you, or what would you add to the list for yourself?