Tuesday, 11 September 2018

12 Things I've Learnt About Myself In My 30's




Today it's my birthday and I turn the grand old age of 37.

30-sodding-7 years old.

I find that a completely mind boggling fact to wrap my head around if I'm honest because come on...37 is a PROPER GROWN UP age.

If you'd have asked me as a child to imagine what I'd be like as a 37 year old woman, my answer would probably have included things like smart trouser suits, sensible footwear, and briefcases full of important grown up documents like insurance policies.

I realise now that I seemed to have imagined my 37 year old grown up lady self as very much akin to Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl.

In reality...I wear clothes with unicorns on, I have to take my shoes off approximately 17 minutes in to any "event" because I still cannot bear to have to wear heels for any longer than that, and I don't own any briefcases but I do own a ridiculous amount of Ikea storage cubes which are mostly stuffed full of endless Disney mugs and far more notebooks with whimsical quotes on them than any one person could ever use in a lifetime.

In short...I may be turning 37 today but I do not feel at all like a proper grown up, and I'm beginning to wonder if I ever will.

Having said that, the longer I'm around for the more I've started to learn...not so much big fancy life lessons exactly, but more about myself.

 It's incredible really that you can exist on this planet for over 30 years and still feel as though you're almost a stranger in your own skin. Its really only in the past couple of years that I feel I've really started to get to grips with who I am and what's important to me as a person, and for that reason...I'm excited about turning 37 and even about the approach to 40.

I never really understood the phrase "Life begins at 40" before but suddenly its making a lot of sense to me..because if we only truly get to know and become comfortable with our inner selves around that age, it stands to reason that only then can our lives truly begin...right?!

So let me share with you some of the things I've learned about myself in my 30s...

1) My personality, likes and dislikes are always subject to change. People are forever growing and changing, and our likes and dislikes change with us. Therefore, it's always good to give things a second try every now and then. (Except for offal...I'm never changing my mind on that.)

2) I am a people pleaser, and that has caused a LOT of trouble in my life so far. I have an intense need to be liked...and I need to learn that it's ok if people don't like me. My value is not determined by anybody else's opinion of me. 

3) I am happiest when I say "no" more, NOT when I say yes more. I need to set boundaries and give myself a lot of alone time, and that means turning down invites and opportunities sometimes. That's ok, not every opportunity in life needs to be taken.

4) I crave deep connections and deep conversations. Shallow friendship and pleasant chit-chat drains me far more than I have ever realised before. I need to surround myself with people who want to talk about the difficult topics, the deeper reasons behind things, people who want to philosophise and connect on a real level. Those are my people and that's ok. It's better to have a few meaningful connections than a hundred surface level friendships that leave me cold and drained.

5) I find it very hard to let go of the past, and this can stop me from being able to grow as a person. It's so important for me to talk about past experiences as it helps me to process things, and is vital in allowing me to move forward. 

6) I focus far too much on the negative and so I need to make a conscious effort to remind myself of the positive. One thing I've found useful in this battle is to keep a Positivity Folder full of any positive feedback, compliments or pleasant exchanges I have with people which I make myself look through regularly...especially when I'm feeling particularly negative.

7) I have a jealous streak and I have to make a conscious effort to be pleased for people when things go well for them and not for me. Making that conscious effort to celebrate the success of others is ALWAYS worth doing, because not only does it make me a better person but it lifts my own spirits too. Plus it makes me a better friend, and the only way to have a good friend is to be one yourself.

8) I'm very easily hurt. Especially in friendships. I have a tendency to always think the worst and to feel very easily let down by people. This has a lot to do with my past experiences of friends letting me down, and it's important for me to remember this and not judge people too harshly. People have their own things going on and my past experiences are not their fault.

9) I can't control every aspect of life, but I can control how I handle that. This has been huge for me, as someone who has always felt so much anxiety and fear around life events beyond my control. But the realisation that fretting about a lack of control doesn't actually give me any more control has been massive. I can either continue to worry about not being able to control things, or I can truly let go. And enjoy life for what it is. Unpromised and unsure as every day is. So that's what I'm able to do now. And I'll tell you what...it's SO much more enjoyable than sitting at home worrying about every
"What if".

10) I'm not like other people and I don't fit into a "Normal" life well.
 I don't like routine, for a start. While every other mother I know thrives on and swears by their routine, I've never felt any desire to adopt one. I like the freedom of flying by the seat of my pants. I like not knowing what we'll do each day. I like being able to decide on a whim to take the kids to the park at 7pm. It works for us and that's ok. Our lives - with their lack of routine, lack of formal schooling, and lack of 9-5 job are very different to people around us. And that's ok. We don't need to be the same as everybody else if we don't want to be. 

11) I'm a dreamer. I always have been, and I've never grown out of that day dreaming phase fully. I'm happiest when I give myself time to let my mind wander off into its own little world sometimes. It's not silly, it's necessary for my mental wellbeing.

12) I'm weird. I used to fear being weird, but actually...I'm ok with it now. All the best people are a bit weird anyway!

I'd love to hear about your own journeys of self discovery in the comments below, please do share some of the things you've learnt about yourself in your 30s!


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3 comments

  1. Ha, 37 tomorrow, and having many of these thoughts myself! It's funny, because none of the other thirties birthdays really struck me, but this one has, I think because I became a mother this past year and so have been even more acutely aware of the passage of time because I've seen a little person growing and learning. I think I'm with you that nearing 40 I am actually only now starting to feel as though I know who I am, and I like who I am a little. I need to learn to like myself more, but I am getting there. And I definitely am not a grown up yet! :-) x

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  2. Happy birth day! Great post and real knowledge!

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  3. I spat my morning tea out at the offal comment! I agree tastes change but I’m with you on that one eww!
    I’m 33 (nearing 34) and in my thirties I’ve learned that life is not a race. I always felt like I was coming ‘last’ - I ignored the fact I wasn’t on the same path and focused on where I ‘should’ have been instead of loving were I was. Now I find I don’t ‘compete’ and I’m happier.
    I’ve also learnt that life can suck. And I shouldn’t waste my time wishing/hoping or assuming - life is only for living.
    I’ve stopped worrying about my size and accepted that it’s my own fear that holds me back! I wasn’t the person I thought at size 10 and I wasn’t the person at size 22 (because I wasn’t being me!) size is irrelevant.
    I’ve learned that it’s ok to change. It’s ok to want better and that doesn’t make me greedy/ or selfish. It’s ok if people don’t like me. I’ve realised it’s ok to connect with people you don’t know and make new friends.
    I’ve also learned that I am not a failure because of mistake I made in the past. I’ve learned that I’m not a victim because of what I went through. I am me because of those things and I am successful because I’ve grown from them!
    You are an incredible woman.. keep going and keep learning and evolving xx

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