I have noticed a number of articles on various websites that address the topics “What I would tell my XX year old self” or “What I have learned in my XXs” or “What I wish I had known in my XXs”. Initially, I read some of these articles and found them to be interesting but I kept thinking, at 48, I do not remember my decades so clearly that I could go back and say what I would tell myself at 20, 30, or even in my early 40s.
Well, maybe I could tell my 20 year old self that whatever I thought to be true at that time was a complete lie. I did not have enough life experience to believe anything to be true or to have a real opinion. At 20, I was surviving on what my parents taught me and what I thought I understood about the world around me. All lies.
What I can comfortable write about is “What I know right now.”
Without a doubt, I know that compassion drives me. How I react in most situations is driven by my compassion more than a need to be right or to prove anything. This has not always been the case. Like many, in my younger days, I needed to be right and viewed as smart. If I was in the room it was important for me to been seen and heard. If there was a conversation underway, I was either fully in it or far from it. There was no hanging on the periphery and just listening.
Today, my compassion is coupled with an understanding that how people respond to me and/or react in certain situations does not always require my rebuttal. Sometimes, people say and do things not to hurt me but to protect themselves from past hurts that I cannot even begin to fathom.
I know to look for and find, joy in the small things. Joy is no having a big celebration or having a lot of people around me doing “exciting” things. Joy can be found in a simple hand wave to my neighbor. I am happy that they take the time to wave, especially when I do not even know them. Joy is found in the time spent with the grands and seeing how they change from day-to-day.
I find joy in knowing that in this very large world, there are people who love me for who I am, just as I am. These are the things that make me wake up and fall asleep with a smile on my face.
Each day, I gain more clarity about my romantic relationships. Until recently I thought that if I had dated more in my early years, I would be much better at dating now. Today, I feel the complete opposite.
No past relationship could have prepared me for the relationship that I am in today.
Not because it is complicated but because every person and every relationship is different. If I had been in past relationships, my expectations would be based on those experiences,which would have some good and some bad outcomes. I find that basing relationship decisions on what I know right now about the other person and about myself is the best approach for me.
I make every effort to remove preconceived beliefs about how a relationship should be and work on what is true in the moment. It is a lot like being Gumby, bending and flexing as required without losing the core of who I am.
At 42, I came to the stark realization that I had no ambition left. Leading up to that point, I sought college degrees, jobs, and projects with vengeance. I wanted to achieve it all. Then, I wanted to stop it all and I still feel that way but unfortunately, my creditors are not supportive of the idea.
Today, I want nothing more than to not work and go about doing the things that inspire me such as, travel, helping kids, perhaps working a few contract jobs.
At the office, I do not want to move up the ladder. Sometimes, I do not even want to be on the ladder. In short, I have learned what it means to pace myself. In the near future, I need to figure out what it is that I want to do with my career and begin to focus my efforts in that direction. I know that going in 1000% is not the right approach so I have to learn what is.
I have known this on and off throughout my life but it has finally stuck. Exercise is only fun when you find that thing that you enjoy because then it does not feel like exercise. I love swimming but it requires too many showers and I am always wet. I love being outside so walking really fast is what fits.
When the alarm goes off each morning, I actually want to get out of bed so that I can go and explore the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. I recognize when I am about to burnout and I take a break. I do not worry about getting back to it because after a week or two, I start to crave being outside.
I have also found that I am not a person who wants to be in the gym. Air conditioned buildings, dealing with other people, and using machines are not for me. I decided to climb stairs and found hundreds in the college parking garages. Few if any people use the garages for exercise so I have my peace and quiet early in the morning and I love it.
After many years, I am no longer afraid of vegetables or cottage cheese. A few weeks ago, I looked in my grocery cart and it was filled with 95% fruits and vegetables. It was not a conscious effort, which makes me confident that a lifestyle change has taken place. Again, this has taken years.
I know that in order for me to eat the right foods and stay on track, I have to plan my meals for the day. If I wait until I am hungry and head to the kitchen, I will eat a lot of things before I actually get to making a meal. As a result of taking years to get to this place, it does not feel like work to cook breakfast items or snack bars on the weekend so that I have food to eat for breakfast. It is what I do to make my life easier.
Without even trying or making a resolution, I have almost stopped going to fast food restaurants. I also limit my visits to sit down restaurants as well and I do not feel as though I am missing anything.
However, when I go to any type of restaurant, I order what I enjoy without any regard for calories or nutrition. When I am done eating, I do not have regrets or wish that I had done it differently. The majority of the time, I eat good stuff and when it is not available, I just go with the flow. I know, one day of eating junk is not going to change my health or my weight.
These are the things that I know.
At your current place in life, what do you know?