I turned 25 the other day. Heading into the big birthday, I hadn’t put any thought into the significance it might have. It was just another year. Until it wasn’t.
I was “off” all day. Kinda grumpy, quiet, self reflective but not coming up with any answers. I just couldn’t figure it out. It was a lovely birthday, meals and laughs with friends, family. I got a pedicure. I did some shopping. I had no reason to be in a mood. I’m 25 years old, and gotta say, pretty well have “it” together. I have a wonderful marriage and partnership, we just bought a house and love the challenge of renovating, I have a new car and a good job. I’ve achieved many of the goals I set out to achieve.
Tonight, as I was placing fibre tape on drywall joints downstairs, I started to reflect on what those goals were. They included things like, “Make X amount of money by X age, but not one focused on my mental, emotional or physical wellness. They were focused on achieving a certain level of outwardly visible success. Something is wrong with that. It doesn’t mean I don’t revel in having reached these goals, and am proud of myself for doing so, but they might have been a bit misguided.
One mantra I live by is that if it doesn’t scare you (even just a bit), then you aren’t making progress. For example, just over 2 years ago I was miserable in my job. Underutilized, bored, but very well paid. The golden handcuffs. I quit the job I had been at for 3 years with pension, unbelievable health and dental benefits and a short commute. Nothing else was lined up. I was unemployed. In that moment, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. I was free!! Free to find myself and find the next chapter of my life. But oh god, making that leap scared the crap out of me. How crazy do you have to be to leave what many would call a perfect job? Just crazy enough. I was hired in Marketing and Advertising within a week, and had three more weeks off to enjoy a gorgeous summer of fun and laughter. The most scared I’ve ever been, and the best decision I ever made.
I also asked myself if we were crazy to buy this house. SUCH a big renovation job to tackle, and a large mortgage (as any mortgage is in the Lower Mainland). And seeing it all come to fruition, while bringing friends and family together for the cause, fills me with such warmth and happiness. Another thing that scared me, worth it!
However, looking back at all that I have achieved, I wonder if I missed looking inwards at myself, and how I want to FEEL. Not just HAVE or OWN or MAKE.
I’ve been noticing certain things about myself over the past month or so. Certain things I do or don’t do that I’d like to change, and interests or passions that have been neglected.
1) Be Present – This is a biggie….
One skill of mine is multi-tasking. I think many women do this well, and I’m exceptional at it. To a fault. I’ll be talking on the phone, checking my Facebook, drafting an email, paying a bill and making dinner all at the same time. Is this more productive? It may be, but it sure as hell isn’t satisfying. My generation is so accustomed to social media and the web that it’s ingrained in our culture, a part of our every day lives. I think this fuels my multi-tasking problem. Instead, I want to focus more on one thing at a time. I want to really immerse myself in every email and give 100% of my attention to every phone call. I want to be present in the moment to truly experience life. Otherwise moments pass me by in a flurry of activity. Knowing myself and my habits, I’ll be working on improving in this area for the rest of my days. I’m up for the challenge.
2) Walk – I love walking. I feel most serene and at peace when observing nature and taking in the fresh, crisp air. The problem – I rarely go for a walk. If I’m truly honest with myself, I don’t do it at all. But I LOVE IT and I LOVE the way it makes me feel good physically, and releases something emotionally. Why don’t I take myself out for a walk every night? It doesn’t make any sense. I’m going to change that.
3) Vitamins – Take them. Consistently.
4) Read – I take such pleasure in reading and do so furiously the moment I find a great book. I should always have a book going. So, guess what? I started a book club. Our first meeting is October 26th. And my husband bought me a kobo reader for my birthday. I’ve already downloaded and begun enjoying “The Game of Thrones”, to tide me over until we choose a title for October.
5) Bake – Learn something new and expand my skills in baking. I have decided to take Pastry Training Courses. I love the feeling of turning ingredients into delicious works of art, and being professionally trained in this area will come in handy when I open my business.
6) Blog – Both writing and reading. More sharing. More reflection.
7) Socialize – It’s good for the soul. Make more plans with friends more often. Laughter is cleansing.
8 ) Stretch – Every day. Multiple times a day. Cause it feels so damn good. Whether yoga, or just standing up at my desk and moving those muscles.
In turning 25, I realized that I was feeling blue because I regretted not making items like this a priority. I focused on the quantitative goals and looking good on paper, but missed the memo about taking care of myself physically, emotionally and mentally.
These are the kinds of goals that we need to make more often – the ones that are good for the soul.
Cheers to the next quarter of a century.