advice to my younger self
Writing

Advice to My Younger Self / Happy 40th Birthday to Me

It’s my 40th birthday next week and I’ve collected a helluva lot of advice to my younger self over the years. It seems apt to share what I see as the most lifechanging, much of it from counselling and therapy sessions. I hope you take at least one new and positive thing from this list. I’m keeping this piece fairly concise, but there are lots of links contained to more in-depth articles. Click on the coloured text to learn more.

If you have any stellar words of wisdom to share, tweet me @mummytries

Advice to my younger self, in no particular order

  1. Thoughts are simply formless energy passing through your mind. Let them come and go. How the AF I got to almost forty before grasping this concept, I will never know. But it is probably the BIGGEST game changer.

  2. Learn to say no/yes, not because you have to because you WANT to. Doing things purely because we feel obligated leads to feeling empty.

  3. Eat well. Don’t buy into the BS narrative that fat is evil and avoid diets like-the-plague. Eating sensibly and cooking mostly from scratch with natural ingredients isn’t very interesting or sellable. Which is why fads and sparkly packaging exist. If an ingredient sounds like it was made in a science lab, it almost definitely was.

  4. Move. Even if it’s just for a walk around the block. Fresh air can be like magic. Accept that exercise won’t always be the instant fix everyone says it will. With sky highcortisol levels and children who hate sleep, sometimes that walk around the block (or down the end of the garden) will be better for you than a HIIT workout.

  5. Don’t fall into the trap that money alone will bring you happiness. You need to be happy first, then if (when?!) you get rich, you can properly enjoy it.

6. Cut ties if you have to. Yes it’s hard, but toxic people ruining your life is a damn sight harder.

7. You cannot change another person’s views when it comes to politics. Yes Brexiteers, I’m looking at you! I’ve come to the conclusion that some people would rather be homeless, hungry and left for dead than admit they are wrong (insert ALL the face palm emojis here).

8. Facing our demons will free us from them.

9. Be kind, especially to yourself. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s infamous words: “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

10. Learn to recognise when you’re part of the problem and take responsibility.

11. Give yourself permission to do the things you want to do and never hand that power to someone else. Unless you’re in charge of lives or under strict contract of employment, you owe nothing to no-one.

12. You’ll know when you’re with your people. They are the ones who’ll help you when you’re down and cheer you on when you’re in a good place.

13. Sometimes life is unfair. End of story. Try not to dwell on this unfairness and have faith things will work out exactly as they are supposed to.

14. Integrity is underrated, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put it at the forefront of everything you do.

15. Don’t waste time reading books you can’t get into. If you’re still struggling after 100 pages, it’s a lost cause.

16. Don’t waste your life on crap telly. If you watch a whole episode and aren’t into it, move on to something else. Ditch reality junk altogether, you don’t need it in your life.

17. “Everyone else” doing something does not mean it’s okay.

18. What someone else thinks of you is none of your business.

19. Never stop shouting from the rooftops about the things that make your heart cry/sing. They are one and the same.

20. There will be cycles of utter shit, but even among them, there will be beautiful moments. Don’t get so bogged down in the quagmire you can’t appreciate them.

21. You can’t be all the things to all the people. It’s basic maths.

22. (Usually) the only person holding you back is YOU.

23. Aim for progress, not perfection.

24. The answers will never be found at the bottom of a bottle.

25. Friends will come and go. Sometimes that will bring relief and other times it’ll hurt like a motherfucka.

26. Be proud of being an eco warrior, even when you feel silly for it. Your 2008 bankruptcy will unexpectedly put you on a fast track to being kinder to the environment and it will stick.

27. Don’t get disheartened by the “sleep is everything” rhetoric when how much you get is out of your control. However, good sleep hygiene is absolutely vital. Especially when you’re being deprived of your Zzzzzz’s by kids or insomnia. Don’t sabotage your chances of shut eye by going to bed really late and/or staring at a small screen.

28. Some days are horrendous, everyone has them. The only sensible thing to do is write them off and never think or speak of them again.

29. Trust might sound like lust, but they have absolutely nothing – NADA – in common.

30. Cleaning the kitchen before going to bed is always a good idea. It’s no fun starting the day having to wash up.

31. Make a pot of fresh coffee before you go to bed, then all you have to do is add hot water in the morning.

32. Giving up your career will hurt, but being home with the kids will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done and almost definitely will ever do.

33. Travelling and partying while you are young and carefree will be a lot of fun, don’t over think it or pass up the opportunity for adventure. Those memories will help get you through the darker days to come.

34. Gut health cannot be underestimated. Tune out to the naysayers and trust your instincts on this.

35. The importance of a woman’s hair is incredibly overrated. Don’t fret over whether to cut it or grow it long, just do what you want with it when you want to do it.

36. Don’t give up on your writing dreams, even when the rejections are coming through thick and fast.

37. Not everything happens for a deep and meaningful reason. Some things happen to prove there are coincidences in life. Let them go, like those pesky, spiralling thoughts we referred to in point one.

38. Autism will be a tough pill to swallow in the very earliest days, but once you embrace it, you’ll see it’s not all challenges and heartache.

39. Growing food will bring immense joy.

40. Ditto raising conscious humans.

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