26 Feb 2014

Guest Post (Meraki Dublin) - Turning Thirty

February's Blog Swap is upon us, and I'm swapping posts with Sarah, who writes a blog called Meraki Dublin which you'll find here.  Please don't forget to visit her blog, where you'll see all her wonderful posts, including one from yours truly today.

As I turned 30 this year...

I’m sitting here in awe, reflecting on my life.  When I was a child, I couldn't wait to grow up.  But now that I’m growing up, I wish I wasn't.  My life has been full of contradictions:  I've witnessed people with nothing smile, and those with everything cry.  I've seen myself chase the ones who ignore me, but I've also ignored the ones who adored me.

I've witnessed too many ironies in my life and have gone through painful experiences.  Despite learning from these mistakes, I wish I could tell my young self what I know now. And if some genius happens to create a time machine in my lifetime, these are the things that I’d say...

People will come and go.

I think until recently, I've had difficulty accepting this fact.  Certain people in your life will come and go: friends, significant others, colleagues, classmates.  I used to dwell on the past through old posts from Facebook timelines, old pictures, old letters, old videos, or songs that would instantly remind me of some person, place, time period, or memory.  And after viewing those things, I’d recall all the memories that I had with that particular person, and although good, the pain stung my heart a bit.

And with certain people, it may be a blessing and a relief that they are no longer in my life, but with others, I had wished that our paths would align again.  But if you and that person (whomever it may be) are meant to be in each other’s lives, it’ll happen when it’s the right time.

We heart it.

You will meet several “prince charmings” before you find your king.

I've been in several relationships, each wondering if this guy would be the “one”.  And whether I broke it off or he did, there would always be disappointment at the end.  Breakups are inevitable, and everyone will go through them at least once in their lifetime.  It’s a difficult period, but it’ll help you grow.  You’ll learn more about yourself and what you want in a man (or even don’t want).  Don’t ever chase after a man, either.  It’s reasonable to fight for the one you love, but don’t ever chase.  A man will go where he wants to go, and stay if he wants to stay.  You should be with a man, not because you were able to convince him, but because you didn't need to.  Don’t ever settle for less than what you deserve, or else you’ll get even less than what you settled for.  You are no man’s consolation prize.

Be selfish when it comes to your happiness.

When I say to be selfish when it comes to your happiness, I don’t mean if it hurts other people.  I mean to be selfish when other people rob you of the opportunity to be happy.  If a man is toying with your heart, end it. You don’t deserve to spend your nights crying.  There are other people in the world who love you and want the best for you.  Learn to love yourself and don’t ever let anyone keep you from the pursuit of happiness that you’re entitled to.

Appreciate your parents and let them know that you love them as often as you can.  For every second of my years of life, my parents have been there.  You may not appreciate them when you’re younger, but the older you get, the more you realize how much sacrifice, hard work, and dedication these two people have given to give you the best opportunities in your life.  The reason I am happy today is because of these two people.  I’d be nothing without them.

Be productive; don’t be so lazy; don’t procrastinate.

I wish I could have emphasized this to my younger self.  I spent all my precious time on insignificant things, and I will never get that time back.  Wake up early and do what you need to do.  Seize your day and own it! Wake up a few minutes earlier to get your day started.  Do simple things, like leaving early so that you don’t hit traffic.  What a waste of a precious day to be spent sitting in traffic.  Don't be so lazy about the small things, like charging your phone or driving until your petrol meter is past empty (yes Dad, I know I still do this one!)

Be a decent human being.

No matter what your status is, acknowledge the small things people do for you.  Nothing annoys me more than when people think they’re entitled.  Thank the person that takes the time to hold your door open for you, or when they let you get into their crowded lane on the road.  Life is hard for everyone.  We all have struggles; we all have worries.  Stay humble.

Be grateful for everything.

Big or small, appreciate the things that you’re blessed with, whether it’s good health, an opportunity to have an education, your family, your friends, the roof over your head, or something as simple as an umbrella when it’s raining.  I’m grateful and thankful for the sounds of laughter coming from the people I love in my life. When you remind yourself what you’re blessed with (rather than what you wish you had), you end up living a more fulfilling life.

Don’t listen to snow patrol late at night!

It’s a good album, but you’ll have sleepless nights, and late night thoughts are the worst.

Don’t hold back on your dreams because you’re embarrassed about what people will say.

I wanted so badly to do many things in my life.  I held back, though, because I was worried about what my friends would say.  As a result, I gave up those opportunities and ended up witnessing other people live the life that I dreamed of.  Go after the passions and aspirations that you have in your life now.  You do only live once, so why not live the life you dream of?

The secret to living a happy life is to let go.

Let go of pain; let go of anger; let go of regret; let go of resentment; let go of the past; let go of mistakes; let go of the ex; let go of the disappointment.  Surrender it all.  Why hold onto the negatives?  You don’t have room for it.  You want to clear out the junk to make room for the good things.  And in life, it’s the same principle.  If you hold onto all the pain and negativity, you’re only preventing room for the good things to enter your life.  There is always a purpose or reason why certain people are removed from your life.  Think about that when you decide to hold onto, or chase after, them!  Cut out the negativity.  It’s a waste of space in your heart and life.  How amazing is it to stay silent when someone expects you to lash out in anger?  How wonderful is it to laugh when someone believes that you are going to shed tears from pain?  Let go of the things that hold you back, and you’ll realize how truly beautiful your life really is.  Life is what we make of it. 

Keep going.
30 year old Sarah.

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